I know how Adam Kirby feels after the situation he found himself in with the King George last weekend.
Kirby was at Newmarket on Saturday after being replaced aboard Postponed by Andrea Atzeni, who went on to the King George at Ascot in the best moment of his career.
I’ve been in that situation in the jumping world and, although it’s great for Andrea, I feel for Adam because he’s a very good rider and he’s missed out.
Owners just make up their minds if they want a different jockey and I guess you just have to roll with it, but it’s not easy when you have to stand back and watch another rider win on a horse you were due to ride.
Especially for such a big meeting – to have missed out on that on your CV must be so disappointing for Adam. Having said that, it was a great race to watch. To see Postponed and Eagle Top battle it out again made for a great spectacle.
I wasn’t at Ascot myself – I went up to York to ride in the Sky Bet Dash for Richard Fahey on Saturday. I ran fifth on Lexi’s Hero so it was a good race and then I only got four hours sleep before a very early start.
We had a day trip to France on Sunday, which was a bit of an experience for myself. We left on Sunday morning at about 2.30am for a 6.15am ferry, via the back roads to avoid the M1.
“There’s a whole different atmosphere over there than there is here”
I had a sleep in the back of the car and when I woke up we were parked outside the ferry, which was pretty lucky!
We got to the track in France about 10am I think, and I had a little look around. There’s a whole different atmosphere over there than there is here in England, or even at home in Ireland.
I’d say there was only a couple of hundred in the stands, but it was a beautiful track with the second longest straight in Europe, although that was a bit daunting for the two-year-old horses.
I was there to ride a horse for Jo Hughes – Sculptured, the same horse that won for us at Wolverhampton after the broncing incident.
The main reason we were out there was because the prize money was so good, but it was also a business opportunity for Jo, and we went and finished fifth.
Sculptured is a filly so she likes the bends and I think that straight was just a little bit too much for her, she was crying out for a bend. But, saying that, she ran her heart out and was only beaten by three quarters of a length to fourth place.
We got back on Sunday night at about half ten, so it was a long old weekend for myself. But then that’s the life of a jockey, we rarely stop.