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Bring on 2016!

25 Jan 2016

First of all, Happy New Year everyone and hope that you are as raring to go for 2016 as I am! I had a great time over Christmas and that was despite me and my Dad cooking Christmas dinner....

Oisin in action in the Godolphin silks this winter. Will there be more winners for the boys in blue in the coming months? Picture copyright of Racingfotos.com 

First of all, Happy New Year everyone and hope that you are as raring to go for 2016 as I am!

I had a great time over Christmas and that was despite me and my Dad cooking Christmas dinner! It was barely edible but we got through it and I’m glad to say that I’m now back down to my ideal racing weight of 8 stone 7/8 after getting slightly heavier over the festive period.

It had been four years since I was back home for Christmas and my sisters were delighted to have me there. It might be the same until I’m back there again and it was very kind of Andrew and Qatar to allow me to have the time off. Andrew is very good like that and has a really flexible approach.

Fortunately I am already five winners into 2016 and I am hoping that I can keep the momentum going now. Last year I had 91 winners in the calendar year – but that was after missing the first three months and I’m hoping to do a bit better than that this season. It’s easy to pick up extra rides when you’re winning and you’re in the headlines.

However, I did just narrowly miss getting on the score sheet in Dubai when I headed over there last week. Godolphin’s Good Contact went down by a short head and I knew that we had been beaten as we crossed the line. You know as you head into the straight at Meydan whether you have a chance and the last furlong at that track tends to be the slowest.

I also managed to have some time off over there and it was good to get some sun and visit the water park. Though I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who has any minor heart problems! There was one part where a trap door opened and you dropped onto a slide with a huge drop – it scared the life out of me!

It’s possible that I will head back over but it will be more a flying visit as the focus now is Britain and riding as much as I can over here.

Tomorrow I’m at Lingfield and looking forward to getting back on Ballynanty. He has to be settled and come from off the pace but therefore has looked a little unlucky in the past. He’s had a couple breathing problem issues in the past and is wearing a tongue strap for the first time. It’s a hot race for decent prize money but he’s improving and hopefully we can get him back on track.

I’m also on Sea of Flames in the mile maiden for David Elsworth. He has been gelded since his debut, when he was pretty green, and if he’s come on from that I would like to think that he has a winning chance.

Looking further ahead and I’m happy to report that old favourite Tullius is absolutely flying at home and could be aimed at the Winter Derby. I’ve been second in a Lincoln on him and ridden him in the Eclipse and it would be great if the owners considered me when looking for a jockey for the Lingfield showpiece. Andrew also has quite a large bunch of two-year-olds at home and it’s nice to see them up and cantering.

It’s the calm before the storm in January….bring it on!

HORSE TO FOLLOW: SUMMER CHORUS

I missed the ride on her last time due to Qatar Racing commitments but was on her for her maiden success at Lingfield, which was Andrew’s first winner for Sheikh Juma.  She’s a nice type who’s still learning and will progress through the grades.