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Stepping into Christmas

18 Dec 2015

December started off really well and I have been riding quite a bit for Godolphin now that James Doyle and William Buick have now gone away to sunnier climes..

Will Oisin be looking around on Man of Harlech this weekend? Image copyright of Racingfotos.com 

December started off really well and I have been riding quite a bit for Godolphin now that James Doyle and William Buick have now gone away to sunnier climes. The more jockeys that go away, the more opportunities there are and I’m not afraid to graft and keep chipping away.

The plan for Christmas is that I will be riding over the weekend and then fly to Ireland on Tuesday. It depends on the entries on Boxing Day and what Andrew has planned but I’m not sure when I will be heading back to Britain. I certainly hope to be able to see some of the Jumps racing in between!

This will be my first Christmas at home for a few years and it will be great to spend some time with my family and, in particular, my two sisters. It’s nice to be able to have a bit of time to go back and reflect on the year.

It’s a shame not to have got to my target of 100 winners for the year – but I did only return to Britain in April and hopefully this will be more achievable in 2016 and I can get a head start on the all-weather.

Karpino provided the real highlight but also quite a low. Winning my first Classic on him in the German 2000 Guineas was fantastic, however then injury struck and he didn’t race again all season. He’s a really smart horse and I just hope that Andreas Wohler can get him back for next year.

Obviously winning the Ebor for a small trainer aboard Litigant was another highlight, as was notching a Group 3 in Dubai earlier in the year. Hopefully there will be even more highlights to come in 2016 courtesy of my increased retainer with Qatar Racing.

The likes of Strath Burn, Simple Verse and La Rioja have you already looking forward to the spring. The last-named was the standout two-year-old but I’m currently unaware of her starting point. She’s bred to get seven furlongs but she’s shown bags of speed to date. She’s a tall, lightly framed filly and it’s really exciting to see how she develops over the winter.

Before Christmas, though, we have a few days of competitive all-weather action and the highlight has to be Man of Harlech in the Coral Quebec Stakes at Lingield on Saturday. This is probably one of the hottest listed races for this time of year and although he has a little to find on official ratings, he has to be competitive on the back of his recent course-and-distance victory.

I also ride my old friend Noble Silk on Saturday and Godolphin’s Good Trip, who has done everything right so far, has a really likeable attitude and should take the beating in the two-year-old novice race.

Other horses to look out for in the coming weeks are Showdaisy, who I flagged up before her encouraging debut and should be very competitive with that behind her, and Ballynanty. He was unlucky at Wolverhampton last time, when he got squeezed out when making his challenge, and may be one for Finals day in April.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone and I look forward to reporting back in 2016!

HORSE TO FOLLOW: PEARL SPECTRE

Made his return from two years off at Kempton on Thursday evening. His work beforehand had been very good and he should reap the benefits of a run back in the coming weeks. To be honest I had a bit of a sleepless night after he’d run as I had been expecting him to perform slightly better (finished mid-field). He remains one of the horse that I am most looking forward to riding this winter, though.