“South Seas looks very well and is in great condition”
17 Feb 2017
Oisin lands the Group 2 Balanchine in Meydan. Picture:Racingfotos.com
It’s been a very hectic few weeks to say the least and I’m at Newcastle today following a winning trip to Dubai yesterday.
Having rode at Wolverhampton on Wednesday I jumped on a 10pm flight to Dubai, but it was worth it with Opal Tiara winning the Group 2 Balanchine at Meydan for Mick Channon.
Sheikh Fahad has been very kind in allowing me to go and travel and ride in decent races if the opportunity comes up. He doesn’t have to as I’m his retained rider and it’s very kind of him.
I’m just keen to do well like any jockey and I’m getting on some decent horses on the All-Weather. Andrew [Balding] has had a few runners and was delighted to get a winner for him on Wednesday to Wolverhampton.
I know Opal Tiara well and won a Group 3 on her and thought the step up in trip would help her yesterday. I had a plan in my head and the trainer left me to it. Lesley [the travelling head lass] had her in super order. I’ve ridden Very Special in the past and she is very talented. She was a little disappointing but take nothing away from Opal Tiara as she’s won with a little in hand and was flicking her ears in front.
She might have to travel to find an event for her back over here eventually but I don’t get involved in the race planning stuff, it’s hard enough riding the winners!
As you may know I’ve recently been out in Hong Kong and it was great that my mum could come out and join me. She’s never been to Asia before and Irish people don’t tend to travel too far from home so she’d have likely never come out here if I hadn’t asked her.
I also managed to ride a winner whilst she was there and it’s nice to give visitors something to smile about when they come over. My agent came over to see me earlier in the year and I rode a winner whilst he was there too.
Even when they weren’t there I was never lonely in Hong Kong.The locals really looked after me and I made lots of great friends and I’m keen to go back again. It also did my riding the world of good and made me grow up as not only a rider but also as a person. It’s a very cut-throat environment out there and they’ve got the best jockeys in the world so you have to try to fit in and do your best.
I also met this young lad below whilst I was out there. I always try and stop to chat and ask them their names. I was that young lad not too long ago and we need to try and encourage kids to fall in love with horses and be interested in racing. We aren’t going to be around forever and they’re the next future of the sport.
Back to the UK
Whilst I’ve been back in the UK I’ve been riding out a lot and trying to get around to all the yards to sit on as many horses as possible ahead of the season.
One such horse is South Seas who looks very well and is in great condition. I’m really happy with the way he’s moving and he has a great temperament – there’s every chance he’ll do well this year.
I put up Horseplay as a horse to follow earlier this year and she’s a lovely filly. She won really well at Nottingham and the form is working out now. Archie Watson bought the second in that race and she’s won a maiden at Lingfield and I think Horseplay is quite smart. She hasn’t grown too much but she’s already big enough and she’s filled out.
I notice that Poet’s Vanity has been put up as a dark horse too. She has got bigger and stronger and I think she’s a top-of-the-ground filly and she’s quite exciting.
I also went to see Hot Streak at Tweenhills Stud the other day and ever since I was at Aidan O’Brien’s yard I’ve been really interested in the breeding side of the game. He was by Ifraaj out of a homebred mare and gave me one of my biggest days in the saddle as an apprentice so I’m always showing an interest in him.
Since moving to stud he has let down very well and he’s a fine physical specimen. With the number of quality mares he’s been getting he should have a great season and I’d be surprised if he didn’t get plenty of winners on the board.
Horse to follow
War of Succession is in light work at the moment and I’m very pleased with how he’s come on from two to three. He’s still a maiden remember and he’s one I’m quite looking forward to getting back on in the coming weeks.
We have some maidens that can hopefully break their tags soon and go on to better things and we have some really good ones which have yet to be seen but I’ll keep them under my hat for now and will update soon!
One thing I will say is Ralph Beckett has a great record in the Fred Darling Stakes and I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a strong hand again this year.