Apr 6, 2023

Unfortunately, I won’t be back in time for the Grand National. I was hoping to recover from the leg break sustained at Pau in February in order to ride Roi Mage for Patrick Griffin, but it would be too soon, especially for my first ride back to be in the National.


Obviously it’s disappointing, but you’ve got to listen to your body and I’ve got a big season ahead in France to concentrate on too.


I’d be quietly keen on Roi Mage running well, though. He’s a strong stayer, who goes on any ground. He’s a good jumper too. I rode him in a cross-country race in France, against some of the best horses over here, and he ran very well to all but win.


His last run in Ireland looks good form too, as he was giving weight to Longhouse Poet, who’s more well-fancied than he is for the race. While he’s probably not the best handicapped horse in the race, he’s got a nice racing weight, so I think he’s got a lot of upside.


There are plenty I’d love to ride in the race. Corach Rambler looks well-in after his win at Cheltenham, but I wouldn’t be able to do the weight on him!


I did a lot of work on Gaillard Du Mesnil when he was a young horse in France. He’s still young, but at the same time he’s had plenty of experience, so he’d be a good ride.


Delta Work would be a great spin too. He’s got top-level form and is a very athletic, clever jumper, so I think he’ll go well again.


Grand Steep plans


I certainly want to be back in tip-top condition for the Grand Steep, which is the third weekend in May.


I’ve got a couple of possible rides in the race, which are likely to be Grand Diose or Gex. They both run this weekend, so I’ll be watching them closely.


Il Est Francais and others to look forward to


I’m looking forward to getting back on horses like Il Est Francais and Saint Donats too.


I think Il Est Francais just had an off day on his last run, and I still believe he’s top-class. He was working really well at home, but I think in hindsight Noel George probably regretted running him in that race.


At the same time though, he was running against the top hurdlers over here, and maybe he’s not quite going to be up to that level over timber, but his future is as a chaser anyway.


His main target is still the French Champion Hurdle. The plan now is to freshen him up and probably go straight for that race, without another prep-run.


I haven’t ridden any three-year-olds yet because I got injured before those races started, but I’ve seen plenty of nice prospects working so I’m looking forward to getting on one or two of them.


Cravache D’Or


It’s going to be hard to peg Felix [de Giles] back, especially if he keeps going at the rate he has been.


I won’t be changing anything though, I’ll keep riding as I always have been. There’s still a long way to go and we’ll see what happens. Felix is 17 ahead of me as things stand, so realistically it’s probably out of reach, but I’ll give it everything.


Breeding success with recent Dan Skelton winner



It was great to see Cherie D’Am, who was bred by me and the family, win her bumper on debut for Dan and Harry Skelton last week.


She’s a mare out of a family that my grandmother did very well with. I rode a few winners from the family, and they go back a long way.


She’s a well-bred mare and it was good to see her make a winning start, but I think her future is going to be as a staying chaser.



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