It’s pretty cold outside, but we’ve dodged the snow, the gallops are in good order and the lads have been out gritting the road.

I got a bit of a surprise in the week when Noel Fehily rang me to say that he’s fit and will be back riding as soon as Friday.

I thought we’d be carrying on for a little while longer without his services but he’s feeling back to himself and he sounds like he’s raring to go again.

Saying that, I think that if he was any other breed than a jump jockey he’d be taking a bit more time off.

Last weekend

The Last Samuri and Air Horse One both went close at Taunton last weekend. There was just one too good on the day for each.

It was certainly a season’s best for Air Horse One, so hopefully we can build from there.

We’ll look to step him up in trip and try him in the Pertemps Qualifier at Exeter on the 10th February.

I thought it might be The Last Samuri's day turning in, but it wasn’t to be and we’ll move onto the next one.

We’ve not made a decision yet, but the National Trial at Haydock and the Eider Chase at Newcastle are the races that are under consideration.

Festival Trials Day

Noel rides Black Op in the Cleeve Hurdle (15:35) at Cheltenham where we run Unowhatimeanharry .

Black Op has to be respected based on his hurdles form from last season, but he’s certainly not the only one with strong claims in what looks a very competitive renewal.

Last year’s winner Agrapart is in there, as is the JLT Hurdle winner Paisley Park, while Wholestone will no doubt run a big race.

In all honesty, you could make cases for the majority of the runners.

We obviously crashed out the last day at Ascot but he’s now in very good order.

It was very frustrating as he looked to be jumping and travelling as well as he had at any point in the last 18 months.

We had to give him a bit of time off as he had a haematoma that needed to settle down.

In an ideal world we would have wanted another week, but he’s been enjoying himself schooling this week and is ready to go.

The fall hasn’t dented his confidence one bit. He tends to run very well at Cheltenham so hopefully he’ll be competitive again.

The Cotswold Chase was an option for American but unfortunately it’s just not soft enough for him.

He’s very well at home and it’s a case of waiting for the heavens to open.

There’s the possibility of a trip up to Kelso for the Premier Chase but really it all hinges on where we get soft ground.


Onefortheroadtom runs in the novices’ handicap chase (13:15).

Things haven’t really clicked over fences yet but he’s getting more experience with every run.

The handicapper is now giving him a bit of a chance – he’s come down 9lbs in his last two runs - so you never know.

One up at Doncaster

Toodlepip  goes in the mares bumper (16:25).

We debuted her in a Listed bumper at Huntingdon in December, where Noel thought she was going very well three out but then fell in a bit of a hole.

She almost got a bit of stage fright when the horses came up beside her and we’ll maybe look to ride her a bit differently this time around.

We’ll try and be a bit more patient with her and see if it brings about the desired result.

She certainly shows enough in her homework to suggest she’s up to winning a bumper.

Fontwell on Sunday

Goodnitesweetheart returns from a long layoff in the 2m5½f handicap hurdle (16:00).

She was last seen winning over course and distance, so it’s the perfect place to bring her back. She’ll certainly be better for the outing.

She had a tendon injury and needed a bit more time off than normal, but we’re looking forward to getting her back on the track.

Ante post update

Neither Bags Groove or If The Cap Fits will have Cheltenham Festival entries.

The plan for Bags Groove is to go for the Pendil Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton at the end of February before going to Aintree in the spring.

As for If The Cap Fits, he’ll run in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell, also at the end of next month, before going to Aintree for the Aintree Hurdle.

15:35 Cheltenham: Unowhatimeanharry
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