I’m looking forward to being in Cheltenham for the day on Friday where I ride one for Gordon on the opening day of the Open meeting. I’ll then be returning home to Ireland to ride in Punchestown over the weekend. Before looking at Friday’s card I just wanted to send Jack (Kennedy) all the best as he recovers from a broken arm. He’s suffering some rotten luck with injuries but hopefully this one won’t keep him out for long.

I was really surprised to see only the three runners in the novices’ chase as I’m used to riding in beginners’ chases with the best part of 20 runners! My fella Fancy Foundations will have to brush up on his jumping and he’s got a serious tough task carrying a penalty against the likes of the mare Gin On Lime and Grade One-winning hurdler My Drogo. However, this is Cheltenham and the fences are there to be jumped so we will give it a good go.

Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase – 2.55pm

No ride for me in the Cross Country Chase which sees another strong Irish challenge. I won the Ryanair Chase aboard Balko Des Flos back in 2018 (pictured below) and he ran a cracker to finish second in last season’s Grand National. He’s got a hell of a weight though and it will be some effort if he can win this. Look out for Irish Grand National winner Freewheelin Dylan who looks just the type to warm to these fences.


My other ride on the card is Off Your Rocco who has to carry a penalty in the Novices’ Hurdle. He’s been busy of late winning his last two so certainly brings fitness and experience to the table. I suppose it’s just a question of whether he has the class to beat some of these. Gelino Bello was really impressive in Aintree the last day and may take some beating.

Good Luck