THE Cheltenham Trials race day went ahead but unfortunately none of the horses from Fergal O'Brien's yard ran in the end. The ground was just too heavy so we’re saving them for another day.
With less than five weeks to go, there were some great pointers to the Festival, however.
It was great to see local trainer David Bridgwater win the Argento Chase with The Giant Bolster and to see the return of Big Buck’s who was entitled to need the run after more than 400 days off the racecourse.
I still think he’ll be the one to beat in the World Hurdle.
With the rain pouring and ground often flooded in places it’s been difficult to get out racing. I’ve been riding out at Fergal’s yard most of the time but have one day off a week which allows me to ride out for other trainers and to make new contacts.
I also get out running when I can to keep fit. Before I started riding I ran for Gloucestershire in road races and cross country, I even had my own coach. It’s nice to be able to run for fun these days!
Last weekend, I took a rare trip to London to catch up with friends, something I don’t often have the chance to do.
It was only my second ever visit, so I took a look around the sights, and even managed a trip to the cinema for The Wolf of Wall Street, which I can highly recommend.
The People’s Horse, Gud Day, is entered in the 1.30 at Kempton Park on Friday and I’ll be back on board as it is a conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle. Although I haven’t ridden Gud Day in a race since August I’ve partnered him on the gallops at Fergal’s and done some schooling, and he’s feeling better than ever.
He loved racing over fences and I think it will be really interesting to see how he copes back over hurdles after a little break.
Fergal has a couple more entered at Kempton Park, Balzaccio and Our Cat. Final declarations are made on Thursday, so keep your eyes peeled.
Conor Shoemark, a conditional jockey at Fergal O'Brien's Fossebridge stables, is sponsored by Agetur UK.