At this time of year, with so many horses ready to run up and down the country, it requires a massive effort from everybody in the yard.

I’ve been up early enough to see the sunrise for the last three months and it really is all hands on deck now.

When they run well it’s rewarding for everyone, so fingers crossed for some more big Saturday winners.

Newbury on Saturday

We start off with Behind Time  in the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Chase over 2m 6f (13:20).

If he puts it all together then he’s very capable. He has on and off days so we’ll just have to see which mood he turns up in.

In terms of conditions, the more rain the better for him.

Air Horse One  then goes in the 2m 4f handicap hurdle (13:50).

He had a good blowout over two miles in the Elite, which was too short a trip and a very competitive race.

He’ll enjoy the slower ground as well as the step up in trip, and is expected to run well at a track he’s shown his liking of before.

He ran a huge race carrying top weight at Ascot last January so we’re not worried about the weight, and hasn’t won since February, so we think he’s overdue a win.

Golden Birthday  will also take his chance in the race but the ground has gone against him a bit and he may need a bit more help from the handicapper before getting competitive again.

American  is all set to take his chance in the big race of the day (15:00).

We had the choice of going up to Newcastle for the Rehearsal Chase but, having discussed it with Noel [Fehily] and the owners, and, as much as Noel would have loved to have rode him, we decided that Newbury had the best chance of having the slowest ground.

There’s also been only 14 declarations in the race, which is probably one of the smallest fields in recent history, and it just looks the better race for him to take his chance in.


In terms of his race fitness, we never let him fully wind down over the summer.

He’s had a good couple of away days, including a gallop on the All-Weather at Kempton and working on the grass, and has generally been much more straightforward to train this time around.

Although taking on a race like this first time out is a big ask, we’ll have conditions to suit and I think he has a very good each-way chance.

Space Oddity  will take his chance in the Jim Joel Memorial Trophy (15:35), which we won last year with Overtown Express.

He crashed out when going well at Lingfield through no fault of his own. He winged a fence and then the ground just seemed to give away underneath him, but thankfully he and Noel were none the worse.

He’ll love the soft ground as well and can hopefully go close.

Best chance at Doncaster

Winston C  will make his hurdling debut in the two-mile novices’ hurdle (12:00).

He had a couple of runs on the Flat for us, including a good effort to finish runner-up in a competitive race at Doncaster, and has since taken well to hurdling at home. Saturday looks to be a nice starting point for him.

Last but not least, Outofthisworld  will run in the 2m 4f mares’ novices hurdle (12:35).

She won very nicely at Market Rasen last time out and, despite having to carry a penalty, she’ll hopefully be capable of taking all the beating again with conditions to suit.

I don’t think Doncaster will get any slower than good-to-soft, so everything looks ideal for her and she’s just about my best chance of a winner this weekend.

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