The Fighting Fifth on Saturday looks like a mini Champion Hurdle in the making, with Samcro set to take on reigning champ Buveur D’Air, last year’s Supreme Novice winner, Summerville Boy, and his Down Royal conqueror, Bedrock. It will make for a fascinating race.
For me though, the dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air has been there, done that and bought the T-shirt.
Samcro is arguably open to the most improvement in the field, but the fast track around Newcastle will play to Buveur D’Air strengths.
Although there’s a long straight at Newcastle – it’s quite a fast track and Buveur D’Air is a pacy individual and will probably have too many gears for his rivals.
Sommerville Boy’s jumping is only ok and while he got away with it against novices, he won’t get away with making mistakes in open company against Buveur D’Air and Samcro.
Does Buveur D’Air have the advantage because he’s at home? I’m not so sure. He doesn’t have to cross an ocean, but Newcastle is a long, long, way from Lambourn.
Whatever way you look at it this is going to be a hell of a race.
Easy Game’s last-minute surge to win by a neck and a head on the line a dramatic renewal of the Monksfield Novice Hurdle at Navan was great. He was tough, honest and fought all the way to the line and that’s a good attribute in any horse.
Sometimes it takes more more courage NOT to change your game in the face of criticism.
Sometime Soon fell in front of Davy Russell on Dinons at the third last. He got hampered and I got a clear run through.
They are the split-second incidents that you can’t control. That’s luck.
It’s like the Irish winger in the rugby, Jacob Stockdale. His chip over the New Zealand number 8, who blocked it down and then knocked it on. I mean, how lucky was that?
To miss the chip and then for the New Zealander to knock it on, his luck was in. And then he chips his own ball through two minutes later and it bounced up into his arms and he scored a try. He had no control over that, that’s the bounce of a ball.
That’s just luck. Those things either happen for you or they don’t. That’s sport.
Instinct has a role to play but it’s more than that. In my case, you can do the right thing, but the wrong horse can fall in front of you. There are some things you can’t control.
The biggest mistake you can make is to change what you’re doing.
I’ve ridden thousands of winners. It’s having the courage not to change what you’re doing.
Things will turn around. Just keep tipping away.