IN this weekend’s Grand National AP McCoy has got a great chance of winning. After all, if there’s ever a man to do it, it’s him. All eyes will be on AP, especially the bookies’ who set their odds for Aintree around the “McCoy Factor”.
On Sunday night, I sat with my friend Jim Crowley discussing who we thought the next Champion Jockey would be. Every lad wants to believe that they can be the next in line after AP, and there’s always talk on the matter in the Weighing Room.
It will definitely be interesting to see who will take over the title, but the jockeys with the best chances are Richard Johnson, Jason Maguire, and Sam Twiston-Davies. I think most lads would back Richard as he’s been the most consistent and has been hot on McCoy’s heels for years.
For the rest of us jockeys excitement is building for Aintree, it has been for about two weeks with rides being booked. It’s a place where those of us who hadn’t any luck at Cheltenham can have a go. As I mentioned last week, I’m riding a horse called Dolatulo, trained by Warren Greatrex.
Despite the positive vibes ahead of Aintree, a lot of lads in the Weighing Room are a bit flat.
I have driven 20,000 miles just since the year started, and fatigue is starting to kick in. We’re all feeling the burn now. Aintree will definitely boost spirits though; it’s come at a good time. After that there’ll be three days at Ayr, and after more driving up and down the country, I must admit, I’ll be looking forward to a break in summer.
I can’t wait to spend quality time with my family more than anything else. This week, I’ve been on the road since Sunday morning and get home on Wednesday. It’s tough being away from my wife and one-year-old daughter, especially when you’re doing long drives alone.
I had stayed with my friend Jim on Easter Sunday. He used to be a good jump jockey, but six years ago he turned to flat. He’s the type of jockey who now racks up 100 winners in a season. I went along with him and his family to their young daughter’s first showjumping competition on Monday morning, before my five jump meetings.
I’ll admit, I’ve not been keen on the idea of my daughter being around horses. But being there with Jim’s family, watching the kids out in the fresh air, it made me think that maybe it’s good for them.
It does make you wonder though, about the dangers of racing. Just last week, Jamie Moore suffered a freak accident at Towcester. He broke a leg and is now ruled out of riding at Aintree.
I was meant to ride his horse that day, but the timings clashed with my race at Kempton, so I pulled out and chose the latter. It makes you realise, that one man’s luck can come at the expense of another’s misfortune. Now, with one of the biggest races on the calendar approaching, Jamie’s not able to ride. That’s a gutting feeling for any jockey.
On a personal note, it’s been fairly quiet recently. The past week has offered me third and fourth places, but no winners. It’s frustrating, but takes me back to when I went had a blank six weeks before going on to secure the Triumph Hurdle.
At the time I thought, ‘this is it, we’re done’, but hopefully history will repeat itself and this time next week I’ll be writing about landing a winner.