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 : Thursday 14th August from Daryl Jacob
2014 has been a testing year for jockey and Wincanton blogger DARYL JACOB. Many column inches have been dedicated to the talented jockey following his decision not to request the ride on the Paul Nicholls-trained Big Bucks at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. Instead, Daryl opted to ride the up and coming talents from the Champion trainer’s Somerset stable, only to then experience a freak accident.
Spectators watched in horror at Cheltenham after horse and jockey aka Port Melon and Daryl Jacob crashed through a rail and into a television camera, sending our blogger flying onto the concrete floor. Daryl has spent exactly five months recovering from a broken leg, smashed knee and exploding elbow injuries, and today (August 14th) sees him back in the saddle as a freelance jockey.
Today, Daryl will make his long-awaited return from injury at Fontwell’s evening meeting and he’s taken the time to talk to us about his excitement for the season ahead:
“I’ve had exactly five months off and after the initial sore period, have managed to enjoy my enforced holiday – spending time with the family here and in Ireland, enjoying watching my son Harry grow. He’s nearly walking and I’ve already played plenty of ball games with him. We’ve been to Tenerife and Cornwall, where I took up body boarding for the first time and absolutely loved it. I brought my own wet suit and board and next time I’m in Cornwall, I’m taking proper lessons!
“I’ve also spent significant periods at Oaksey’s House in Lambourn with physiotherapies and the guys at Wincanton Leisure Centre have been fantastic, helping me to regain my fitness. Health wise, I’m fine and dandy. Initially, my leg was the sorest but I think the wiring in my elbow and knee, which were, quite frankly, both smashed to pieces, caused a bit of aggravation but injuries are part and parcel of the job. It’s done. I’m healed and on with the new chapter.
“Weight, well that’s another matter! During my time off I went up to 11stone 3 pounds! Ha-ha. I’ll admit boredom does drive you to the biscuit tin but my head is engaged and ready to shift the last few pounds. It takes a couple of days for your body to get used to NOT picking and I’m back on a half a cup of coffee for breakfast and one main meal a day. I like to be 10:4 in the winter and 10:7 in the summer.
“Two months ago I got the all clear to start riding out and have ridden out for Colin Tizzard, Ralph Beckett, Paul Nicholls, Jamie Snowden, Ben Case, Richie Woolacott and plenty of others. I was freelance before I joined Paul and am really excited about this forthcoming season. My father always said to me – a new chapter brings about a new page - and I can’t wait for the season to start. I’ve been watching from the sidelines and our champ, AP McCoy, has taken serious advantage over the summer months and is rapidly approaching his 100th win this season – how impressive is that! It will be a joy to be back in the changing rooms with my old pals.
“Back to the horses, I rode out Cue Card for the first time the other day and was very much impressed with how well he’s summered. Joe Tizzard was also riding out – he’s a good friend and so laid back but that competitive edge never leaves you, even when we’re just hacking out! I plan to ride out for Colin once or twice a week alongside Brendan Powell – together, as a team, we look forward to a fun and fruitful season and a successful new partnership with Tizzard Racing and Mr. Bishop (owner of Cue Card).
“Today, I ride one at Fontwell for Brian Barr – Norfolk Sky who finished second last time out in a Novices Hurdle at Market Rasen in July. The horse was beaten by John Ferguson-trained Parlour Games ridden by AP McCoy and we’re up against the formidable duo once again, but this time it’s My Direction that looks the one to beat. It’s a competitive novices’ hurdle which I will very much enjoy.
"Then, it’s back to reality – long drives / weigh-watching / doing the job I love / and my agent being proactive in booking me top rides."
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.