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It’s good to be back

19 Feb 2020

It’s really nice to be back on British soil again, having had a brilliant winter spent in Japan.  Riding in a new country, for new owners, trainers and experiencing a different culture was great for me on so many levels . I was really fortunate once again to be given the leg up on plenty of good horses and enjoyed lots of success as a result.

I began there in November and the level of competition was pretty fierce. You have the likes of Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori there picking up a lot of good rides alongside all the big-name domestic talent. Fortunately the Europeans have mostly left by the end of January, so there’s more for me! Joking aside, the highlight has to be winning the Japan Cup aboard Suave Richard. Going abroad and being successful gives you huge amount of confidence, which is invaluable for any jockey.

As I said, it’s great to be back in the UK and riding again. I’ve had a couple of winners already which always makes things easier on those cold winter nights. I’ll be looking to keep things ticking over here, as well as riding in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Dubai in the coming weeks. This weekend I’ll be riding in Qatar, with the highlight being the $1m H.H THE AMIR SWORD where I’ll be aboard Standard Deviation for US trainer Graham Motion.

Next Thursday I’m heading firstly to Meydan before finishing off the week in Saudi Arabia, where my most eye-catching ride will certainly be the wonderful Deirdre. She’s in super condition by all accounts, the only slight concern would be the travelling which can have its effects. However, if she journeys well she has to have a great chance of landing the spoils in the $2.5m Neom Turf Cup

Looking further ahead into 2020, I will once again be doing my level best to defend my Champion Jockey Title from last year. It was an honour to win it last season, having my name  alongside the legends of the game who’ve been Champion Jockey over the years is very special.  It’s a big commitment to go and try and win it; you’re either 100% in or not at all, but I’m ready for the challenge once again.

There are so many excellent jockeys in the weighing room nowadays which means any number could be challenging for the title. Two that don’t always get the mention they should are William Buick and James Doyle. Their strikes rates are both very strong and if they wanted to go for it they’d be very tough to beat. Here’s hoping I can stay healthy and be back lifting the trophy at QIPCO British Champions Day again.

As always I’ll be hunting as many Group 1 races as I can. They’re always extremely difficult to win and it’s a great feeling when you finally manage it. I wouldn’t mind winning a Classic or two either, but let’s not be too greedy!

It promises to be a fantastic 2020 and I’ll be working as hard as ever day-in day-out to be up to speed when the Flat Turf season opens it’s curtains again in the Spring.