It’s a new year and I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things following my break in the off-season.
I’ve been skiing and in Milan over Christmas and then at home in Newmarket for the New Year celebrations. I hope you’ve all been enjoying the snaps on Twitter!
In preparation for the season ahead I’m riding the ponies with my wife and children. The kids are all going back to school so I’ve been getting everything in order before getting back to the serious business.
At this stage I’m 9st 2lb which is not bad for me but I’ve still got a little bit of work to do before riding properly.
My first job is pencilled in for January 28 where I’ll be travelling to Cape Town for The Met which is really exciting.
It’s such a glamorous day out and you know everyone will be up for it. I’ll be heading down there a few days earlier to prepare and sample the atmosphere.
In terms of my return to a British racecourse, I’ll most likely head down to John Gosden’s yard a few weeks after South Africa to ride a few horses.
Then it’s off to the Middle East with Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai and Saudi Arabia all on my list until the end of February.
So, in reality you probably won’t see me riding in England until the middle of March.
I’m fortunate in so far as I am at the stage in my career where I’m lucky enough to head further afield while second, third string jockeys and apprentices are here in the UK.
You’ve got to look at the bigger picture. I was out riding in the cold as a kid and it offers great experience for those up and coming prospects.
The Turf season at Newmarket starts on March 1 and that’s when John will expect me to be back at work.
As mentioned I’ve been away and not really been in contact with anyone since the last season ended so it’ll be good to catch-up when we all get the chance to.
In our world it’s completely different to the Jumps. We completely ignore each other in the off-season!
That said, I did send John a text wishing him a happy New Year and to congratulate him for receiving his OBE. It’s very well deserved.
Thistlecrack can be the new Kauto Star
On the subject of National Hunt Racing, I managed to catch the King George when I was in Italy.
What a race! Every sport has its champions and Thistlecrack looks like he can be the new Kauto Star. I love the way he carries himself and he has so much presence. I’ve never seen a horse jump like that. He kicks off the fence miles away and the way he clears them is unreal.
I’m excited about the ITV Racing challenge
I also caught some of the ITV Racing coverage on New Year’s Day. I think they were unlucky with the weather but they did a great job overall.
I’ll be joining the team at various points throughout the year. Every time they go to Newmarket I’ll be doing what I can to help out. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the challenge and making racing better. ITV is a massive channel and I think everyone is going to do really well.
Flat season is fast approaching
Right now the focus is on the Jumps but the Flat season will be here in a blink of an eye. Before you know it we’ll be talking about the Winter Derby, then the Craven and soon enough the Guineas.
Enjoy the National Hunt, it’ll be fast and furious, and then before you know it it’ll be our turn again.
In the meantime, I’ll be chipping away while the horses develop, get fed up and strengthen over the winter.
Once that’s happened I’ll be back in the stables getting a real feel for what’s around the corner.
2017 is going to be another big year and like any other jockey I’m looking for my next Classic winner and the next Golden Horn or Galileo Gold.
I can’t wait!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing