MY BRACE ON THE WEEKEND BEFORE CHRISTMAS
This weekend has a bit of a “night before Christmas” feel about it with the Cheltenham Festival just a few days away. Of course, it’s hard not to be looking ahead to Cheltenham, but the thought of taking a few days off before it “just in case” would never enter my mind.
If you are thinking like that, you’d end up not sitting on a horse from Christmas onwards just in case you got hurt. That is no way to be thinking and I’m very much hoping to ride a winner or two at Warwick on Sunday to go into Cheltenham on a winning note.
I ride the Harry Fry-trained DALILA DU SEUIL in the EBF/TBA Mares’ Novices’ Chase (2.20). I was impressed with her when riding her to make a winning British debut in a novice chase at Exeter back in December.
She was an intended runner in a Grade 2 novice chase at Sandown last month, but she was found to have some blood on her nose down at the start and was withdrawn. It was found to be a sinus issue rather a burst blood vessel, so it was hopefully just one of those things that won’t be repeated.
She wears a hood for the first time as she was a little bit on edge in the preliminaries at Sandown, so hopefully it will help her to relax. She looks to be the one to beat on paper and can hopefully win this on the way to better things.
My other ride on the card is in the concluding Northamptonshire Britains Best Surprise Standard Open National Hunt Flat race (5.30) on the Nicky Henderson-trained CHANTRY HOUSE.
I have been declared to ride him on two separate occasions in recent weeks only for him to be withdrawn on account of the ground, so hopefully there will be enough ease in it for him to take his chance on Sunday.
He won a point-to-point at Tattersalls Farm, beating a nice horse of Liz Doyle’s that was second in a maiden hurdle at Naas a few weeks ago. I rode him work a few weeks ago and he’s a nice type. Nicky speaks highly of him and I’m looking forward to riding him.