Back in the saddle and so much to look forward to!
11 Mar 2016
I’ve been back nearly a week now from my broken collarbone and it’s great to be back riding – though I’m still having physio every second day.
Oisin met the likes of Martin Pipe, John Reid and Sir Anthony McCoy in Lambourn during his recovery.
I’ve been back nearly a week now from my broken collarbone and it’s great to be back riding – though I’m still having physio every second day. It wasn’t quite the perfect return aboard Race Day at Lingfield on Saturday, with him wandering quite abruptly in the straight, but I’m confident that he can get his head in front next time with that run under his belt.
You can get very down when you’re out injured and I have to say that I was feeling very sorry for myself in the first week watching the racing and seeing the horses that I could have been riding. But then I went over to Ireland for a few days and felt better. I spent some time with my uncle, Jim Culloty, playing trainer and voicing an opinion that probably was not wanted or needed!
I just kept thinking that my injury could certainly have come at a worse time and that there was all the two-year-olds to look forward to when I did get back.
As part of my recovery process I spent some time at Oaksey House in Lambourn last week, when I bumped into AP McCoy. I didn’t feel too soft when he told me that he felt pain too when he broke his collarbone!
I’ve been busy this week riding out at a few yards and you can feel that things are starting to crank up for the start of the Flat. I was at Ralph Beckett’s on Tuesday and rode Lincoln entry Master of Irony. He’s very lightly raced, seems bigger and stronger this year and although he’s not certain to get into the main race, he’d have a big shout if running instead in the consolation event.
Simple Verse is also looking great and she’s nicely ticking over without having done any fast work yet.
I sat on Elm Park at Andrew’s (Balding) the following day and we were supposed to be working until the weather put paid to that. He’s moving great, though, and I think they’re in a much happier place than they were this time last year without all the weight of expectation. There’s no rush with him this year and he’ll run whenever he tells us that he’s ready. There’s plenty of listed and Group 3s early in the season.
One horse I’m really looking forward to returning to the track on is Ballynanty. He’s been unlucky a couple of times now and would have won his last race if getting the gaps – but is going really well ahead of All-Weather Finals Day in two weeks. Mymatechris won the marathon race last year and I’m sure Ballynanty is a better horse. He felt 100% better for being fitted with a tongue strap last time and I’m sure that his trainer has something at Royal Ascot in mind further down the line…
I’m pretty sure I can’t do a blog this week without mentioning the Cheltenham Festival! I’m pretty excited as I’m going there on Tuesday before I have to scoot off after the Champion Hurdle to ride at Wolverhampton.
If I could ride anything at the meeting it would have to be Douvan in the Arkle. He’s an absolute class act and this seems like the perfect race for him – even though he’d probably win the Champion Chase if he lined up in that! Granted a clear round, he should go round and take this with his head in his chest.
In the bumper I would suspect that Castello Sforza is working very well to be targeted at this race. He was previously owned by Sheikh Fahad but has been bought by JP McManus and I believe that Patrick Mullins rides – which has to be a reflection of his chances.
In the Gold Cup, I think that Djakadam would be favourite if he hadn’t taken a tumble last time. He will be fit and 100% and could prove too classy this time around. I hate to flag up another Irish horse but Don Poli could be the one to push him hardest and I think that Bryan Cooper will ride if the ground remains soft.
It Came To Pass, trained by Jim Culloty, will have a big chance in the Foxhunter if the ground remains soft. He’s Lord Windermere’s half-brother and is open to improvement more than any other horse in the race.
Horse To Follow: HAIRDRYER
Former Richard Hannon-trained colt who is owned by Sir Alex Ferguson. He’s joined Andrew over the winter and the plan is to run him in the first week of April. They’re very happy with him at home.