THE focus this week is on securing rides with the Grand National just around the corner.
It’s a busy time with agents on the phone trying to make arrangements for jockeys, but injuries mean that the rides keep changing.
With the National regarded as one of the biggest events on the racing calendar excitement is building as we get closer to the race.
The great thing about the race is that with odds at 100/1 it opens up the chances for anyone to win. It leaves the door wide open.
I’ll be riding Dolatulo at Aintree; he won me a good race at Wetherby. He’s a cute horse and takes to the fences very well, so touch wood I should have good spin if nothing else. That’s the main thing. From a rider’s point of view you want a horse with a good spin.
When your agent calls you up with a horse, first priority is to make sure you choose one that you’ll enjoy.
It can cost you a lot otherwise, because if the horse falls and you get brought down, the injuries can plague your whole season.
It’s one of those races where as a jockey; you’d rather be sitting in the weighing room than on the turf, taking career-damaging risks riding something with no chance.
Katie Walsh, who has yet to receive a call-up, has spoken about her confidence that a female jockey could make history by wining the Grand National at Aintree for the first time.
It’s definitely something that I agree will be done one day. Katie came close in 2012, finishing third on Seabass and she rides very well and is certainly capable.
I believe that luck is the key ingredient that’s needed in this race.
Balthazar King is a horse that’s kept its form over the years, and is one I believe has the greatest chance of winning.
It would be great if Katie is successful, after all, the family name is steeped in history. However, Tony McCoy is probably the name on everyone’s minds to win on his last race.
The retiring rider seems likely to ride Shutthefrontdoor in his final Grand National, and it would be fitting to see him bow out in style.
Another jockey who was in the limelight recently was Joseph O’Brien. Ireland’s champion flat jockey missed the season opener, riding over hurdles instead for the first time.
Unless his body adapts in the next few years his weight is always going to be a mental battle.
He rode on jumps on Sunday, to give him a feel what it would be like if he let his weight go. He finished fifth, but he insists to return to the flat on Wednesday.
It’s tough for him. He’s young and all your friends are going out when you’re trying to starve your body of 12/14 pounds of food and nutrition.
It’ll be interesting to see which way he goes and to follow the flat season to see how he copes with the weight.
Over the weekend, the Dubai World Cup was on. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch much of it, but I did see Sole Power claim the sprint with Richard Hughes.
They’re a perfect match. It was unbelievable to watch, not just the way he rides, but the way the horse takes to him.
I spoke to a few friends out there and they said the atmosphere and the crowds were incredible. They said it is basically like the Olympic Games. So, you can imagine the spectacle!
Lingfield 3.15 Big Baz
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