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Concussions, Collarbones and Centuries

Updated: Feb 7

Thinking I was going to end my season quietly I seem to be as busy as ever. My trip to the Aintree bumper wasn't a successful one as Tufton Avenue for Maurice Linehan only managed 5th; even more annoying is the race was basically at 9pm… far too late! On the Sunday I went up to Tabley to ride two. Fred Hutsby had a maiden called Exmoor Getaway who is owned by Richard Organ, who owns horses with my boss Nigel Twiston-Davies which is handy, so I got the ride. Having refused at Mollington on his first appearance I Was hoping to at least jump off this time. Luckily he did and he went on to finish a good second. He'll probably end up at Nigel's in the not-so-distant future. My other spin was for Jo Priest on an older horse called Mixboy. He basically pulled my arms out and blew up after two and a half miles. Jo hasn’t had him long at all so hopefully next season we can make something of him.

On to Southwell for the last race at yet another evening meeting. I rode a horse called Rare Clouds for Simon Earl. Last season I rode him about the same time of year at Uttoxeter and just got denied by a nose for second so I was quietly confident. We sat wide and cruised through to win nicely by a few lengths! I jokingly said to Stan Sheppard who was riding the favourite for Tom Lacey in the race, that if I won we should head to Doncaster where everyone was at the sales and celebrate. Safe to say we sure did!

My beloved Bredwardine was back on the next weekend and I had three nice chances. I managed to get up on the line with Cashmol which was a fair effort considering we were five lengths behind over the last!

My old superstar Green Winter was up next; he finished a close third behind Calett Mad, who used to be trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and was my very first ride at the Festival where we got beaten by no other than Tiger Roll! Charlie Willes trains my last ride of the day, Gamalou D’Alene; also an ex NTD horse which is also where Charlie works. We won the maiden quite well and with 13 runners it was the biggest field of the day! Charlie was over the moon as it's been a while since those colours have passed the post in front. His mother owns the horse and is hoping he can improve a bit and run in Lady Dudley!

Sunday comes along and I’m off to Garthorpe to ride course specialist Badbad Leroy Brown. He was 2/7 fav and sauntered into the lead three from home. But my luck for the week obviously ran out as he never lifted a leg at the last fence taking a crashing fall! Luckily we were both ok but it was less than ideal!

I went to Warwick to ride a horse called Good News for Lydia Richards in the amateur hurdle. He had won his last two races but never outside of his own area, near Fontwell where he is trained. Coming over four out the pace really quickened and I tracked Martin Mcintyre through. He turned in taking up the lead and for a second I didn’t think I was getting there but we winged the last and ended up going away to win by a couple of lengths! Result, especially as I’ve never ridden for Lydia before.

I only had one ride at Kingston Blount on a first-time out maiden mare called On The Beat for Craig Pilgrim. She ran a cracking race to finish third. She's seven years old and it's taken Craig a couple of years to get her on the track as she’s not the easiest at home but fair play he worked his magic and got her there! My Stratford hunter chase evening drew no joy and I rode Badbad Leroy Brown again at Garthorpe but the fall took more out of him than we thought.

My old housemate, or ’nanny’, Phoebe Taylor finally tied the knot to ex weighing room colleague Sam Jones last weekend. It was quite the occasion which didn’t stop for about three days! The Taylor farm is in Bicester and it was an incredible day. The only time I left the dance floor was when I needed to cool down! The next day I had a pool party and all of Nigel's children were there so I had to drag them around the pool; suppose it's only fair to give Phoebe a day off!

As we break into the last week of pointing it's nice to know it's nearly time to go on the back burner for a while. It's been a fairly hectic season for me; 68 rides pointing and 15 winners which I’m happy with considering I missed a good 6 weeks through injuries. I managed to pass my 100th winner pointing and also break my 150th total career winner within the space of a couple of weeks. Probably would have had plenty more if I didn’t keep falling off! I haven’t got any rides at Umberleigh but I may venture down to spray some champagne over James and Gina! I do have Rare Clouds to ride hopefully on Thursday at Uttoxeter so fingers crossed we can do it again and end the season well!

Roll on November when I look forward to jumping back on the racing treadmill!

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