Our Racing Blog
Wincanton Racecourse are delighted to bring you a regular blog by local National Hunt Jockeys Joe Tizzard and Daryl Jacob - check back regularly for updates.
Latest Blog Entry : Wednesday 19th March from Daryl Jacob
As many of you will be aware, last week was certainly an interesting week for me with four-days at the Cheltenham Festival.
Sadly it was a slow start to the week with a number of Paul’s horses not making the cut.
Thursday saw me ride Southfield Theatre in the Pertemps Network Final. The horse ran a blinder, jumped well and delighted us all. At 20/1 we battled up the home straight alongside the favourite Fingal Bay ridden by Richard Johnson with the Judge calling a photo finish.
The wait was excruciating. Richard and I walked around the course-hold knowing Channel 4 Racing’s cameras and the 50,000 plus racegoers were watching us; waiting for the result to be announced. Sadly, we were beaten a nose and I was gutted. I wasn’t best pleased that my annoyance of a narrow defeat was being shown on terrestrial telly but I suppose it portrayed what winning and losing at the Festival means to us.
On Gold Cup Day the tide turned with a multitude of outcomes!
Firstly, I rode Calipto in the JCB Triumph Hurdle. We were travelling well and then my stirrup leather broke. Now I don’t know if it was a faulty leather but My valet and I changed the leathers at the start of Cheltenham, or if the leather was effected when Ruby’s horses fell at which we experienced a kick. Nevertheless, it cost me the race in which we finished fourth.
Thankfully, the drama was soon forgotten when I had my first 2014 Festival winner on Lac Fontana in the Vincent O’Brian County Handicap Hurdle. The win was just what we all wanted and deserved.
The next race told a very different story. I rode Port Melon and on route to the start, the horse decided to lock it’s jaw and bolt, crashing through a running rail on the way, throwing me on to a concrete spectator area and sending a Channel 4 Racing camera flying in the process. It truly was a freak accident in which I have sustained multiple fractures. On Monday, I was released from Cheltenham Country Hospital after undergoing surgery on my elbow, knee and leg.
As I told the Racing Post, I’m feeling a little tired but I know there are people far worse off than me – Bryan Cooper and Jason Maguire – put it into perspective. Bryan had a nasty fall and is reported to be in possession of the worse leg injury in racing history! While, Jason fractured a sternum and suffered bleeding to his liver at Stratford Races last week ahead of the Festival. I would like to wish them and Ruby a speedy recovery.
I would also like to thank the Cheltenham team who kindly offered Kelly a cottage while I was in hospital and for all the cards and best wishes. My accident is one of those thing that happen in racing and I look forward to coming back when I’m ready.
On the subject of Cheltenham, Rishi Persad did well in the charity race on Thursday, fair play to him. His saddle slipped when coming down the hill. What usually happens is you fall with the saddle or you fall the other way because you’re trying to over-compensate. Fear kept him in the saddle! He looked mighty relieved when he pulled up and the end and he should be mighty proud - for such an inexperienced rider it was a real feat.
I’ve had many well wishers visiting and all of them will be racing at Wincanton this Sunday for their first ever Food & Farming Raceday. It should be a great meeting – seven races, farming activities, catering demonstrations, market stalls and more. Gates open at 11:30am with the first race at 2:15pm. But, with so much going on I would recommend arriving early – full details can be found online at wincantonracecourse.co.uk
Last Blog Entry from Joe Tizzard : Monday 10th February
Sadly, Plumpton races was called off this morning following a precautionary inspection. David Yates from The Mirror has been critical of racecourses hosting early morning inspections when the chances of racing are slim. I meanwhile confess to be gutted as we had a few 1-6 chances in other words, easy races! But, with inspections forecast the whole week, we’ll make multiple entries all over the place but I’m sure it won’t cut up as easily as today, which is a shame.
With racing off, it’s been a horses, gallop maintenance and farming duties day. The gallop has weathered well from the deluge of rain and today we laid more wood chipping. We’ve experienced a few flooded fields but they’re no where near the horses or cows so we can’t complain. However, I believe the weather’s going to get worse before it gets better which is not ideal but I’m hoping the tide will turn in time for Cheltenham. We and others in the racing community will be looking for better ground at Cheltenham Festival. I for one, wouldn’t want current going conditions for Cue Card in the Gold Cup!
Many people talk about goings – heavy, soft, sloppy and gluey are common adjectives– but what do they mean / what conditions are they describing? Well sloppy conditions is a bit like porridge with too much milk – a fine example of this was Cheltenham on New Year’s Day where the horses travelled through the water drenched conditions. And, gluey is like thick soup making it more difficult to travel through.
As mentioned, we have made a bunch of entries this week. Tuesday’s card at Lingfield has already been called off, leaving just Ayr tomorrow. Hopefully Chepstow will survive the weather but I really don’t know when we’ll be racing next – we have to see how the weather holds....
Last week, we had a number of great results - the horses are really, really well and about to fly! Third Act won a nice bumper at Kempton last Friday and will improve for the run. We plan to target the Cheltenham Festival bumper – we’re not saying Third Act is Cue Card but we believe he’s good enough to take the chance.
Meanwhile, Cue Card looks superb. We’ll schedule a racecourse gallop somewhere within the fortnight. Nicky Henderson is considering cantering a few at Kempton Park on the all weather because of current conditions and I think we’ll follow suit. It will be nice to give Cue Card a day out like this – load into the lorry, experience the buzz of travelling – it really will put him spot on for Cheltenham Festival.
Golden Chieftain may have a spin over hurdles or a racecourse gallop ahead of Cheltenham. While Theatre Guide, who pulled a ham string before Cheltenham’s Trial meeting in January. He’s back to form with multiple Festival entries which will decide on nearer the time.
Before I sign out, there are two things that I would like to acknowledge. Firstly, to the ground team across the country who have done a sterling job in testing conditions to stage racing. Yes we may by-pass the odd obstacle but we jockeys would much rather race on soft ground than firm - horses experience less injuries and it doesn’t hurt so much if we fall! Also, I would like to congratulate Team Tizzard on reaching £500,000 prize money. We’re on route to our £800,000 record last season and await our purple patch – where the horses fly – which will hopefully coincide with Cheltenham and Aintree.