I was delighted with how Black Corton ran at Kempton on Saturday. Two and a half miles was always going to be too sharp for him, but he ran a big race to finish second behind Top Notch.
He’s run right back to his mark. What was brilliant was the feel that he gave me, it was great to feel him back.
We knew that he’d be doing his best running in the last mile, and that’s what he did.
We wanted to get him back out and get him rolling again, get him back into his rhythm and his stride, put the Hennessy behind him, which he did. And for him to get up and beat Charbel for second place. Most horses wouldn’t have thought that they’d get there, but he has this never-say-die attitude. I was chuffed with him. It was exactly what we wanted.
Midnight Bliss was good at Fontwell on Monday. She’s another hardy little girl. She had an abscess on her foot after her previous run at Huntingdon, but Caroline had her back right again on Monday. It was great to be back on her.
We had to challenge on the outside, which is not ideal at Fontwell, it’s a dog-leg finish, but luckily she got us out of trouble.
She battled well, and we saw off Cucklington, Colin Tizzard’s horse. She’ not over big, so the fences can seem like Mt Everest, but she’s a clever little girl. She did well to win.
It was good to win at Wincanton too on Thursday on Myplaceatmidnight. He has run great, he’s a lovely horse, I really do rate him.He’s had his problems in his life, but he’s putting them behind him. He was always in command, and he’s got a great turn of foot.
Hopefully this will get him going in the right direction in his career. He should improve for that.
I have a busy day on Saturday at Taunton with five rides, the highlight is Present Man in the feature race, the Weatherbys Portman Cup.
I’m looking forward to riding him again. It’s trying to rain now, but hopefully they won’t get too much of it, because he doesn’t like bottomless ground.
He’s handling soft but I think the ground will still be good there.
He goes well on flat sharp tracks, and he goes well right-handed. Taunton is quite like Wincanton, where he goes so well, so he should like the track.
He hasn’t done much wrong, his Aintree run just pushed his stamina a bit too far.
This will be his first run back after being over the Aintree fences, so you just have to be a little bit careful. I’ll bear that in mind over first few fences. But he has schooled well since then.
There are lots of dangers. Tea For Two, it looks like he’s coming back to his old self, and Paul’s other horse Vicente should be coming late.
But I’ll just try to get my horse into his own pocket and get him rolling, see how we go.
I ride Silver Quay for Dad in the opening handicap hurdle. He has taken step in right direction lately.
He gets a lot of physio these days to help him, and Dad does a lot of loose schooling with him. He used to struggle on looser ground, but now we are starting to see the horse we thought we should have.
I’ve had to teach him how to settle, he used to be very free, but the jigsaw is starting to fit together now.
I’m hoping that it clicks for him on Saturday, and if not on Saturday, then the next day. But I think he’ll run well.
I ride Raven’s Tower for Ben Pauling in the two and a half mile handicap hurdle. I rode for Ben in a boys’ race in the summer, he’s a proper trainer and, although Raven’s Tower will be an outsider, he is not without a chance.
He was a bit disappointing last time at Huntingdon, but he ran well the time before that in finishing a close third behind Cornborough in a handicap hurdle at Wetherby. If he could improve a little on that for the step back up in trip, he could run well.
I ride Legend Of Zorro for Dad in the novices’ handicap chase. He won his point-to-point back in May last year, and he jumps his fences well at home, so hopefully he can take to his fences well now on the track.
He’s been given a mark of 105 from his novice hurdle form, when he ran behind Rhythm Is A Dancer at Wincanton, and I hope that’s not too high.
He’s taking shape though, and I think if he takes to his fences like I think he can, he could be competitive.
And I ride Ellarna in the mares’ bumper. She is a lovely big mare, she stands 16-3 plus. She has run just once on the track, at Ludlow last month. That was a messy kind of race, for big mare like her.
She got a little bit lost, but she did stay on well.
With that run under her belt, that should give her the experience to handle herself well around these bends. She should be staying on in the last three furlongs.
I’m off to Exeter on Sunday for two rides, both for Dad, Kristjano in the handicap hurdle and Findusatgorcombe in the handicap chase.
Kristjano has had a few problems, we’ve been trying to sort him out, get him back into racing. I quite like him as a horse. We just have to get him into the rhythm of National Hunt racing. Sometimes these flat horse have to learn a different way of racing.There’s no real sprint, just a gradual increase in pace. We’re getting there with him.
Findusatgorcombe is one of a few horses that we have for the Meaden family, a lovely family.
I remember breaking this fellow in, he took forever get going. He was like one of those lads in school who was always messing with his friends, but who had the talent, if you could just get him to pay attention and apply himself.
He’s put up some good efforts. He’s focusing on his racing now, he’s doing what he’s told. I’d like to think that he has a squeak on Sunday.