Daryl Jacob: Mai the force
Top jockey Daryl Jacob reflects on a successful week and looks ahead to some high profile rides at Haydock on Saturday.
Daryl pictured riding Dance Floor King to victory at Exeter
I'm really looking forward to my three rides at Haydock on Saturday starting with Elgin in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle.
I was impressed when I won on him at Newcastle two starts ago – particularly as he did a lot wrong that day. He hung badly, was very keen, but that was down to him being green and inexperienced.
It didn't surprise me to see him take a step forward at Kempton over Christmas where he jumped well and ran out a ready winner. He's learned to settle, is very progressive and a horse going places.
We're dropping L'Ami Serge back in trip for the Stanjames.com Champion Hurdle Trial Hurdle. He jumped, travelled and did everything right at Cheltenham on New Year's Day but just didn't quite get up the hill.
We need to find out what direction to go with the horse and this race will tell us an awful lot. It looks an open contest and will be a good test with The New One in there but we are getting weight from him and I'm looking forward to seeing what my fellow does.
The same comment applies to Bristol De Mai in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase. His two runs this season have been ok without settling the world alight so we've given him a bit of a break, freshened him up and changed a few things with him.
I'm expecting a bold show on Saturday. He was very impressive up there when I won a novice chase on him last season and the track clearly suits.
We've got Alary of Colin Tizzard's to worry about. There's a big buzz about him and there's rarely smoke without fire but we get weight at Haydock and if we're ever going to beat him hopefully this is the day.
I've had another good week with three winners.
Rock Gone was good up at Wetherby. For an older horse he's still very green and immature and hasn't had a lot of racing. He's a big, strong individual and I'm hoping that will have done him the world of good. It was nice to ride a winner for Dr Newland who I have a good strike rate for.
Nick Mitchell is another trainer whose support is invaluable and I won on his Dance Floor King at Exeter. It was nice to his head back in front as he's been in the wilderness for a couple of years. He's back down to a good mark now though and didn't quite stay the time before so I changed tactics with him. He jumped and finished his race very well and it was great to win not only for Nick – but his owners who were very supportive of me when I first came over from Ireland.
River Wylde is a lovely type of horse who did it nicely at Ludlow on Thursday. He travelled, jumped and did everything right. I think Nicky Henderson is thinking of the Sky Bet Dovecote next with him and that would tell us more.