The Jockey's Journal: Winning on an all-weather surface and an apprentice to look out for
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The Jockey's Journal: Winning on an all-weather surface and an apprentice to look out for

SINCE my biggest ever career win at Royal Ascot, things have been going pretty well for me in the saddle.

I've had wins at Carlisle, Newcastle and Haydock over the past couple of weeks, the most interesting of which was probably at Newcastle on their new all-weather surface.

Everyone – jockeys, owners and trainers – has been a bit nervous about running on this Tapeta surface, but I seem to have taken to it like a duck to water.

The day before my winner on the track the course looked very deep and waxy because it had just been put down, but some fresh rain that night and the following morning allowed it to bed in a bit.

Race day was very warm but I felt comfortable on it, although it was a learning curve more than anything. It was a nice feeling to get the winner on board September Issue for Gay Kelleway; maybe I adapted better than my competitors on the day.

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I had two days riding on that track for Karl Burke, Gay and John Quinn, and although I didn't get another winner, I had a couple of good runs on Lady Crystal and Royal Marskell, so I'm looking forward to getting back on the all-weather surface.

Karl's horses are in great form; that winner in Carlisle was on his two-year-old Burrishoole Abbey.

It just goes to show that when you're out of form, as we were at the start of the year, you shouldn't panic. If you just let them come right, they always will in the end.

I've been up in the north of England a lot recently and the racing scene up there is enjoying a bit of a boom it seems. With a purse of around £140,000, I think I'm right in saying the Northumberland Plate is the richest Handicap in Europe.

It's a big thing for the north of England to have an all-weather track. There's a lot of good flat trainers up here and there's been a lot of flat horses over the last five or six years; it's been very healthy.

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In previous years it's been healthy on the jump scene and quiet on the flat, so for the flat yards to now have an all-weather up north is a massive deal, especially when it comes to winter.

The Scottish contingent will be glad of it too when the cold kicks in. It'll mean they won't have to travel all the way down to Wolverhampton or Kempton just to get some racing in – that's when it'll really pay off.

Meanwhile, I'd just like to give another mention to young Jordan Vaughan, who looks after Quiet Reflection – the horse upon which I had that big win at Ascot. He rode a double last week at Newmarket for Karl, which was great to see.

I have a lot of time for Jordan, who looks after Karl's mares. He's a good young lad and has a very special way with horses, who seem to really like him, and he no doubt loves them.

It's not unusual to see that bond in racing, but it's becoming harder and harder to find. A lot of young people who come into racing these days expect to be jockeys or trainers straight away, but Jordan is patient and he's just happy to be working with horses in any capacity; he's a great apprentice.

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But as well as that he also has the talent to go far as a jockey, and that has been outlined by his double win on Percy Street and Little Lady Katie for Karl. I'm sure he'll have much more success to come.