Give Katenko another chance on what could be a fruitful day
7 December 2013
There’s been a lot of coverage around the Timmy Murphy – Dominic Elsworth incident at Newbury last week. I missed it because I had weighed out for the next race, but to be honest I’m surprised there aren’t more episodes like that when you consider the nature of our work.
I have been riding for six or so seasons now and have only seen half a dozen flashpoints in the weighing room. I think this is a fairly low number given the competition and high pressure surrounding our jobs.
We’re on our own when we’re in a race, we don’t have teammates or friends to help us. We’re fair without giving someone else an advantage.
You also have to remember riding is not an exact science – we’re riding animals so anything can happen out there on the track.
Tempers do occasionally spill over but once you’re back in the weighing room I have to say that there is generally a fantastic camaraderie between all the jockeys.
Last Saturday was a real write-off for me. I had big hopes going into Hennessy day but I fell at the first on Opera Og and nothing really went right for me thereafter.
The biggest disappointment was Katenko falling five out in the Hennessy as he was giving me a fantastic spin.
He showed all his old sparkle and no ill-effects from his severe bout of colic in March.
He was really enjoying himself, and while there was still a way to go, I couldn’t have been happier until we came to grief.
He’s normally a very good jumper, but we met the fence all wrong and I had no chance. It was just one of those things and you have to remember he’s only six so is still learning.
He’s the type of horse who won’t let that fall bother him so he’s running again in the Listed Betfred Chase at Aintree and this looks a really good opportunity for him. My only worry is that the ground might not be soft enough for him, so any rain would be a help.
Katenko might be my best chance, although Shangani isn’t far behind. He runs in the Grand Sefton, which I won a couple of years ago.
He’s a horse I really like. He ran well at the Festival to come fourth behind Rajdhani Express. He would have needed that comeback run at Haydock a fortnight ago and should be spot on for this. He jumps well and is certainly capable of winning this.
I do have two slight concerns though. Ideally he would prefer the ground a little softer and also he lacks a little experience, which counts for a lot over these National fences.
I am also going over the famous fences in the Becher Chase. I ride Bennys Mist, who seems to like it around here. He pulled up in the Topham in April, but that was too sharp for him and this three and quarter miles will be ideal. It’s obviously a very competitive race, but if he can put in a clean round – which is obviously a big if around over the National fences – then he would have a very good chance.
Aminah has not run over jumps before, but showed some ability on the Flat. She schools well and seems a really nice filly, but this will tell us what sort of prospect we have on our hands.