There’s no let-up in the quality action that’s coming up this weekend at Newbury and Newcastle on Saturday with the Ladbrokes Trophy, the Long Distance Hurdle and Fighting Fifth Hurdle respectively and there’s a weekend of top Irish racing at Fairyhouse, with three Grade One contests on Sunday alone.
The stakes are very high on these weekends and as a pundit – I have to call it as I see it.
If I’ve to point out an error a jockey has made, that’s the job now. Some will like it, some won’t, but that’s just the way it is.
It’s obviously not a personal thing, just you’re reading the race as you see it and if someone does something wrong, you’ve got to highlight it.
I’m a pundit, not a coach.
I’m speaking to an audience that want to know what’s happening.
So if you can educate them or teach them something they don’t know, then you’re doing your job right.
Anybody can make a tactical decision that doesn’t work out. That’s no point in giving out about that. But riding errors, the whip in the wrong hand, doing things you shouldn’t do – of course I’m going to point them out.
I will offend and praise people, but that’s the same in every walk of life. When I was riding I was aware of people throwing their two pence in if anything went wrong. I was very self-critical of myself to be honest, so I didn’t need to listen to many other people telling me what I had done wrong. It depended on who was saying it and what I wanted to hear.
I haven’t had too much backlash from lads in the weighing room yet – but not too many have said thanks, either!
As a pundit I’m going to offend – but that’s my job now.
There’ll be plenty to keep us interested this weekend. I’m a huge fan of last year’s Champion Stayer Paisley Park who returns at Newbury. He’s a cracking horse and will be very hard to beat. The Ladbrokes Trophy is as competitive as ever, but maybe lacks a class act in the field we’ve seen in previous years.
I can’t see next year’s Gold Cup winner coming out of it at this stage anyway.
Willie Mullins may send over Cabaret Queen who won the Munster National last month, the same race Total Recall won before he won here in 2017.
Cabaret Queengot a fairly hefty penalty for that victory and will have to step up considerably in a race like this – but she’s going in the right direction. She looks great and Yorkhill might take his chance as well. He looks great too, but he’s just such a frustrating horse.
He has all the ability in the world. He’s in great form. A big field and going left-handed will suit him. Lots have chances though.
Nicky Henderson’s Ok Corral was a decent novice last year and so was his stablemate On the Blind Side who could have a big chance and goes there with a run under his belt.
*Prices and entries correct at time of publishing