Season a success despite probably falling short of 100
25 April 2014
It looks like I am going to fall just shy of a first century as I am on the 97-winner mark at the time of writing.
I’ve been in the 90s now for well over a month so it’s been slow going. It was always going to be tough to win at the Grand National meeting, and Venetia’s horses, while running well, have been on the go a long time now and have come to the end of their tether.
I can't fault my agent Sam Stronge who has done a tremendous job all season, but especially the last month or so in an effort to reach the century.
I shouldn’t be downbeat though as I beat my personal best of 89 from last season and have been fortunate enough to win my fair share of Channel 4 races.
If I keep progressing each year I will break the century next season and I am only 25 so hopefully my best years are ahead of me.
The season obviously closes with the bet 365 Finale at Sandown and I’ve got some pretty decent rides, so maybe I can bow out with a winner.
Baradari was the one that got away at the Cheltenham Festival – I should have won the Fred Winter on him or at least gone very close.
He has since fallen at Aintree, when he was squeezed for room and showed a little bit of inexperience. Hopefully he can fulfil some of his potential in the juvenile handicap hurdle.
I won on Gullinbursti at Market Rasen earlier in the season and he was last seen finishing third at Aintree over three miles and one furlong.
I don’t think he stayed then so the shorter trip of the Oaksey Chase should really suit him.
We’re all up against it with Sire De Grugy in the field for the Celebration Chase, but Pepite Rose has run very well in top company and she is entitled to take her chance. Hopefully we can take a good share of the prize-money.
Houblon Des Obeaux has enjoyed a fantastic year, picking up prize-money most times he’s run. He’s got a hard task carrying such a large weight but he’s top-weight for a reason and could be in the mix in the bet 365 Gold Cup.
Massena is my final ride of the season. He’s been very busy and not been out of the top four in 12 races this campaign. There’s no reason to think he won’t make the frame again.
I look forward to catching up with everyone in the autumn, when I’ll return with my weekly column, but until then, enjoy the summer!