I’ve not really missed the riding since I decided to retire. Obviously I would have liked to be involved at Aintree but I have made the decision now. It was the right decision.
I have had plenty to do at home with the mares and foals we have and have also been trying to keep involved with the horses I would have been riding for Harry Fry.
I’ve been up at Aintree this week and have also had time to have a look at the field for this year’s Grand National.
Every jockey wants to win the National. If you speak to people outside racing and tell them you are a jockey, the first thing they ask is what have you done in the National. You get recognised outside of racing if you win.
Nowadays I think you need a really strong stayer to win the race. In the old days when the fences were bigger and tougher with their wooden frame the field didn’t go as quick in the middle part of the race, so a two and a half to three mile horse was the type you needed.
Now you need a three mile plus horse and one which is an out and out stayer.
I had 15 rides in the National and my last was my best but Blaklion, who finished fourth in 2017, was a horse that didn’t stay the full distance.
He would have been the ideal horse in the past but since they changed the fences you need a stronger stayer than him. It’s more of a staying chase than it used to be.
Looking at this year’s field Tiger Roll is an obvious candidate. He was so impressive at Cheltenham and is a deserved favourite but history shows it is very difficult to win back-to -back Grand Nationals.
I think Rathvinden will have a good chance and Ruby Walsh rides him. Anibale Fly was second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is very good form, and third in the National last year. He’s got a chance.
I also like the look of Lake View Lad and think he is a horse that could run well. He was third in the Ultima, carrying top weight. He is owned by Trevor Hemmings who probably has the best record as an owner in the race.
Last year I was meant to ride Minello Rocco but he was a non runner on the day because it went too soft. I would imagine it would be too soft for him again this year, in which case Singlefarmpayment would have been the one I would have ridden if I hadn’t retired.
He would be a great ride, who will jump and travel well, but I don’t know if he would see out the four and a quarter miles. That might just be too far for him.
It was very soft ground at Cheltenham last time and he didn’t handle it. The ground won’t be as soft as that but I still struggle to see him getting the trip.
The two I am picking for the race are Rathvinden and Lake View Lad.
Rathvinden won well last time and Ruby was brilliant on Kemboy at Aintree on Thursday. Lake View Lad could be the right staying type and he comes here off a good run at Cheltenham.