Weblog: A young jockey making a name for himself
Simonsig: "I gave him a spin on Tuesday morning and he was fabulous"PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Sprinter the star on a fantastic first day
What a fantastic start to the festival. Quevega is just class and I was delighted Noel [Fehily] and Richie [McLernon] rode winners as they are two quiet, unassuming guys who deserve their success. Noel especially deserves such a big win as he's a fantastic horseman and he's so good with the young guys like me, he gives so much help and advice and is one of the best going.
I was also delighted for everyone connected with Hunt Ball as it's a brilliant story. From a mark of 69 to carrying 2lb overweight and winning like he did at the Cheltenham Festival is amazing. He has a top trainer in Kieran Burke and it's great for the yard and the owner Anthony Knott, who is a real character.
They just prove that the ordinary guys can do it on the biggest stage. It was a good day for the yard as well, while Binocular disappointed us slightly, Sprinter Sacre was just phenomenal and he looks a serious horse. He beat good horses so easily and to make it even better I found out I'd be riding at Cheltenham on Wednesday.
Simonsig is my banker of the week
Tuesday was good but the second day of the festival could be even better. I said I couldn't see anything getting close to Sprinter Sacre and they didn't, but my banker of the week runs. . . Simonsig will win the Neptune.
There is no point even talking about the others, it's a one-horse race in my mind. I gave him his final spin on Tuesday morning and he was fabulous, I couldn't be happier with him and I'll be absolutely gutted if he gets beaten. I honestly expect him to do a Sprinter Sacre to them!
The day starts with the four-miler and the boss runs State Benefit. He was disappointing over hurdles but he's developed into a nice novice and the lad that's riding him (Nicolai de Boinville) is absolutely buzzing as it's his first ride at the festival and he's a good young lad. They could go well but like with everything in the race it's just a question of whether they will stay the trip.
A Gold Cup horse against the others
We run Bobs Worth in the RSA and although I expect him to go well I have to say I really like Grands Crus and think he'll take a world of beating. I think it was a wise decision to stick to novice company, though we were hoping they'd go for it to give Bobs Worth a better chance.
He's improved since Ascot, he had a wind op and we couldn't get much hardgraft into him. That said it's a really tough ask and second may be the best the rest of us can hope for.
Hard to see past the old guard
Finian's Rainbow takes on the old guard in the Champion Chase. He's the one most open to improvement in my opinion and it's no disgrace to finishing second to Somersby last time. I'd love it if he could win for his owner as he's a great guy but Sizing Europe will be a tough nut to crack.
Michael Buckley also has Spirit River in the Coral Cup. He won it two years ago but has really struggled over fences. Back to hurdles should make life easier for him but he's been off the track a while and is a tough horse to get fit.
He's no handicap good thing but I'd hope he can run a big race - he's only 4lb higher than when he won. We also run Veiled who is a classy mare. She perhaps does a bit much earlyin her races but she should go well, there wouldn't be much between them.
My first ride of the 2012 festival
The final race we have runners in is the Fred Winter. The boss told me on Tuesday I'd have the ride on Un Artiste which was a bit of a surprise, but I was over the moon. He's a good horse and racked up a bit of a sequence but was disappointing at Kempton last time.
The boss felt maybe he ran him back a bit quick so he's been freshened up and I'm hoping he'd run well. Soliwery is our other runner and they won't be too far apart from each other.
I like One in the Bumper
The final race is the bumper and we don't have a runner but I really like the Twiston-Davies horse The New One. I was third behind him n his debut at Warwick and was really taken by him.
He then followed up in a Listed bumper at Cheltenham and I know the whole yard think he's in with a real chance. Obviously the race is a real lottery and everyone fancies theirs, but he should run well.
I will be sharing my thoughts here throughout the week of the festival and you can follow me between blogs on Twitter at @JerrymcGrath.