EXCLUSIVE: The Conor Shoemark column

Conditional jockey and Standard columnist Conor Shoemark

Conditional jockey and Standard columnist Conor Shoemark

First published in Sport
Last updated

WHAT a crazy week, I’d probably go as far as to say the best in my career yet, writes Conor Shoemark.

Last Thursday I got a couple of rides at Cheltenham's spring meeting, one of the last chances to ride on the hallowed turf before the summer months.

The crowds may be smaller at this meeting than in March, but with the sport still top notch it’s always great to get rides here, even better when you land a double!

I had a fantastic ride on a one-eyed mare called As I Am for Newmarket-based trainer Don Cantillon.

This horse is a favourite of mine as she provided me with a big win in a Listed Mares Hurdle at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting last year.

She’d been off for a mid-season break as she had a few tough races on the trot, and the rest did her the world of good. She ran a corker of a race from the front in her usual style, and we finished three lengths in front of our nearest rival.

It’s likely she’ll go chasing next, and will definitely be one to look out for in the future.

Next up I was on my boss Fergal O'Brien’s Me And Ben in the Mares Novices' Chase – again a valuable Listed race. I was interviewed after my win in the previous race and asked my chances. I was honest in saying I thought she stood a good chance of a place, but wouldn’t win it.

The horse went on to prove me wrong.

It was a great day, and one I will remember for a long time yet. I enjoyed an evening off at the local pub with my parents and friends, where I tucked into a lovely dinner and few too many drinks.

I’ve since managed a winner at Newton Abbot on another of Fergal’s horses, Lord Landen. He’s not the easiest of rides and so I was chuffed we took up the lead just before the last and he kept on to win by two and a half lengths. I’ve really enjoyed the season, and with 26 wins to date I’ve more than trebled my stats from the previous season. I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead.

You’ve still got time to catch the last of the jumps season. The bet365 jumps finale takes place at Sandown Park this Saturday (April 26).

Fergal has a couple of horses currently entered for the bet365 Gold Cup – Bradley and Farmer Matt – and I have my fingers crossed I might get the ride on one of them.

To find out more and book tickets to be in on the last of this season’s jumps action visit: www.sandown.co.uk

Conor Shoemark is sponsored by Agetur UK.

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