The Betway ambassador assesses the state of play heading to Cheltenham and previews his weekend...
Betway Cheltenham Festival Preview
It is the calm before the Cheltenham Festival storm, but it’s safe to say Festival fever has kicked in.
I was at the Hippodrome in London on Monday night with my fellow Betway ambassador Davy Russell for Betway’s Festival preview.
It was a great evening and hopefully some winners will come out of the night.
We’re just a couple of days away from the famous roar. But there are a few nerves around as you keep your fingers crossed that you and the horses stay fit and well.
Putting the final touches to Cheltenham preparations
All the hard work is done now, but we still have to put the final preparations together.
I rode out for Philip Hobbs on Wednesday, and the whole Cheltenham team schooled well. They all looked and felt in great order which is good news.
The weather hasn’t been great in terms of runners because of the ground, but Philip has looked after them well so they are fresh and raring to go.
Sausalito Sunrise was having a little kick and a buck after landing over the fences, which is a good sign. We’re all just hoping they get through their last bits of work unscathed
Hereford on Saturday
Philip doesn’t have any runners at Sandown on Saturday, so I’ll be making the short trip to Hereford.
Rolling Dylan (5.10pm) looks my best chance of a winner, but he will need to put his disappointing performance at Sandown last month behind him.
It was an unexplained performance, so hopefully it was just a blip. He has handled soft ground before so the conditions shouldn’t be a problem.
He seems well at home, so let’s hope he can reproduce his form from earlier in the season.
I begin the day on Colin Tizzard’s Never Learn in the staying handicap (2.15pm). He is yet to win a race but ran well last time and hopefully he can go well again.
Gardiners Hill goes in the novices’ limited handicap chase (2.50pm). He’s had a great season so far so hopefully he can put his Plumpton defeat behind him.
He won three on the bounce before that and two of those victories were at Hereford, so we know he likes the course.
A maximum field of 16 go in the novices’ hurdle (3.25pm) and I ride Barbrook Star for Philip.
Tom O’Brien schooled him this week and said he’s well. Hopefully hurdles will bring out some improvement in him, having had a break after some bumper runs earlier this season.
Dream Bolt (4.00pm) has been in good form this season and handles all types of ground. He should have a reasonable chance in a competitive race.
Shanroe In Milan should also run well in the handicap hurdle (4.35pm). He’s top weight but has shown good form of late.
Warwick on Sunday
I’ve got three rides at Warwick on Sunday and first up is Kayfleur in the mares’ chase (2.50pm). She’s quite a decent mare and was an excellent third to Yala Enki in the Tommy Whittle at Haydock two starts back.
She’s not overly big and fell at Uttoxeter last time when looking beaten. She has a chance in this.
Seas Of Green has won two of her last three races so comes into this handicap hurdle (3.25pm) in good form. Let’s hope she can put in another good display.
My final ride of the day is Ballygown Bay in the bumper (5.30pm). He ran really well on his debut over course and distance in January.
He was quite green that day and we thought he’d improve for the experience.