Thrilled for Tim 

It was great to be on board Master Dancer for Tim Vaughan’s first ever winner at Cheltenham on Friday. 

I’ve ridden plenty of winners for him over the years, including the Scottish Grand National, but he’s waited a very long time to finally get one at Cheltenham.

It was very special for him and I’m sure it was a mixture of joy and relief. 

Even though we were clear after the last, he told me he still couldn’t believe it 50 yards from the line and he thought something was going to fly out of the field and catch us. 

I’m sure they had a decent party on Friday night and that was much deserved. I was delighted for him and his team. 

Cheltenham on Saturday 

I was pleased with Robin’Hannon in the 3m novices’ hurdle. He was rated the same as the winner, Callet Mad, but had to concede 3lbs, so it was a good run. 

He will go novice chasing now and it will be a case of the softer and further the better. He’s a decent chasing prospect and we’re hoping for a productive winter with him. 

Brianstorm ran very well in the bumper, and it was a big improvement from his first run at Newton Abbot a couple of weeks earlier where he was quite headstrong. 

He was quite keen again on Saturday, but hopefully putting some hurdles in front of him will help. He’s one to look forward to. 

Aintree on Sunday 

The big race of the day was the Old Roan Chase where I was on Royal Regatta

He travelled and jumped well. I thought I had every chance three out, but he just got a bit tired. It was quite similar to 12 months ago where he made a mistake at the third last. 

After that he went on to win at Ascot and let’s hope this run will put him spot on for his next start. He’s a horse that normally improves for his first run and his best form has always been at Ascot. 

I’m not sure if he’ll go for a handicap or a graded race next. We’ll have to see what the handicapper does. 

It was a great effort by Smad Place to win off 159. He’s just a fantastic horse and he always jumps and travels so well. 

I rode him to win the Cotswold Chase last year and it’s always nice when you see these old horses come back and show top form. 

The 2m4f trip is a shade on the short side for him, but we went a good, strong gallop on slow ground and that helped bring out his stamina. 

I’m sure he’ll be targeted at the big staying chases now, and you’d have thought they’d be looking at the Hennessy next. 

He won it a couple of years ago and always jumps and stays very well. He could certainly do a Denman and win it for a second time. I wouldn’t be writing him off. 


You had to be pleased with Sternrubin on his first start over fences at Exeter last week.

The good horses are starting to come out and Yanworth was very impressive. We couldn’t quite match his speed, but he’ll hopefully be out again soon. 

He has to go right-handed so we’ll be looking for a novice chase at Ascot or Kempton, or somewhere like that. 

This week 

Wait For Me runs at Chepstow on Tuesday. He made quite hard work out of winning at Worcester on his chasing debut in September, but he’s schooled well at home since. 

We’re hopeful that the step up to three miles will suit, so fingers crossed. 

Aidan O’Brien 

A massive well done to Aidan O’Brien and his team for breaking the record for top-level wins in a flat racing year. It is a tremendous achievement and shouldn’t be underestimated. 

Ryan Moore was at his very best on Saturday and it has been a great effort by their entire team to have such an amazing season.