Old Guard and San Benedeto both ran like stars at Ascot last Saturday.
Old Guard is a complete warrior. He just wants to race. When I got on him in the paddock, he was all jig-joggy, pretending that he was a four-year-old. He gave me everything in the race, the Ascot Hurdle. We were just beaten by a better horse in If The Cap Fits on the day.
Old Guard will have his day this season, I have no doubt about that. He deserves his day. I love riding him. I’ve got to know him well, and he’s a horse who always gives his all. He’s a dude to ride too. He’s so clever. He knows most of the tracks better than I do!
San Benedeto ran a big race too. He’s probably at his ceiling in terms of handicap ratings, the handicapper probably has him, so hopefully, he will give him a chance soon.
The pace was relentless, but he stuck to his guns. He just got his pocket picked for third place, but he put everything into it.
He’s like Old Guard in lots of ways though. He goes out there and gives everything. I was quite excited about last Saturday, I knew that I was on two horses who would just give me everything, and that’s what they did.
That’s why you’re in this game, that’s why you do what you do. To have partners like them. I’m privileged to be in the position that I am in. They are two great horses for us. They fly the flag for us.
Paul will find the right races for the two of them now. He is one of the best in the business at placing horses. Wherever he says you’re going, he’s making sure these horses are going where they need to go. I would follow Paul blind.
Onto The Ladbrokes With The One And Only Black Corton
The rains have finally come, the yellow goggles are on and we’re going to get some proper National Hunt ground. I’m looking forward lots to Saturday too, to riding Black Corton again in the Ladbrokes Trophy.
We have top weight, and a lot of people question if he will be up to it, but you’ve got to go and take a chance. I believe in him, and he believes in me. He’s in great heart.
It’s just all about getting him into a nice rhythm early on, getting him jumping. He was fresh with me last time in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, and we had our acrobatics, which we could have been doing without!
I’m just hoping that I can get him into his rhythm early on. He needs a bit of luck, but everyone needs a bit of luck. He likes to do things his own way. We’ll just travel away. I know that he will give me everything. I think that his determination will override his weight.
It’s a very good race. Elegant Escape is in there, our old friend. We beat him and he beat us last year. There shouldn’t be much between us again. He’s a talented horse, Samcro beat him in his baby days, and he stays well.
There should be lots of pace on, and that will help us. Black Corton is very happy. If anything he’s wondering when his next race will be. He loves it. When he gets his plates on, he cottons on to where he’s going to go. He’s so bright and he gallops and jumps. He makes it so much fun, and we get on very well together. Hopefully, we can go well.
I ride Kapcorse too in the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase. He is owned by JP McManus. It’s always a little bit special to ride for JP McManus, to be regarded as good enough to ride for him, and this is a race that means a lot to him. So hopefully we can do well.
It’s the owners and the horses that have made my career so far. I’m very lucky to have these owners happy to put me up. The owners who back me. I hope that I can repay them.
I rode Kapcorse at Bangor in April, and we won well. He ran at Newbury on his debut this season, so he has seen the fences. He’s still a big young horse. I had a little pop on him on Friday morning, and he went well. He looks well, his skin looks great, so hopefully, we can get out and get him jumping. It’s just his third time over fences, so hopefully, we can get into that rhythm early on.
I’m off to Leicester on Sunday to ride Welluptoscratch in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle.
He ran a nice race for me at Hereford in early November. That was his first run back after a few months off, and he ran well. He ran well enough last time at Plumpton, he just got tired. Hopefully, I can get him to settle better this time.
The drop down in trip will help, and although he is up in grade, he doesn’t have a lot of weight to carry. That should help too.