Ed Chamberlin: The unsung heroes
Ed Chamberlin hails the passion and dedication of stable staff and makes his first ante-post selection for the Cheltenham Festival.
Messire Des Obeaux: Looks huge player in Neptune
It was fascinating to have veterinary surgeon Eva O'Donoghue on Saturday's show at Sandown to explain exactly what happened with Many Clouds at Cheltenham the week before and tell us about the care horses receive at stables around the country and at the racecourse itself.
The BHA has the mission statement to "lead on equine welfare" and it was interesting to hear how they have invested over £30 million in veterinary research and education since the year 2000 and just how much goes in to the care for the 14,000 horses in training.
Eva worked on the racecourse herself and was able to explain what happens on race days and what exactly makes up the convoy of vehicles that follow the horses through any race.
Since transferring from the world of football, the attention, dedication and passion that stable staff give to their job and the love they have for the horses in their care has thrilled me.
I hope we've been able to convey that on ITV Racing. Alice Plunkett's interview with Sarah Buckley, who has looked after Dynaste at David Pipe's for so many years, remains one of the highlights of our first few weeks of broadcasting.
I'm therefore really excited and honoured to be hosting the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards in London on Monday 20th February with the chance to celebrate with some of the real heroes of our great sport.
Richard Johnson will be alongside me and I'm thrilled that Freddy Tylicki has agreed to award the top prize. That will be very special.
Another enjoyable part of Saturday was the champion jockey Johnson joining Oli Bell on The Opening Show. The highlight was undoubtedly his children asking the brilliant question "Daddy, when you retire will you get as fat as AP McCoy?". Unlikely….
I'm really looking forward to my debut presenting live racing at my local track Newbury this weekend. It's always one of the best days of the season and should be pretty special again this year with Altior, Native River and Bristol de Mai all set to strut their stuff. Add to that the Betfair Hurdle and you've got an absolutely cracking card.
That's a race, back in the day, where you'd always turn first to the prolific Henderson/Fitzgerald combination. I know Mick is very keen on the chance of his former boss's Consul De Thaix, who has chased home Brain Power on his last two starts, which could be outstanding form. This has been his target for some time.
I'm in two minds about the race as we know JP McManus loves to aim one at this famous handicap hurdle and has had recent success with My Tent Or Yours and Get Me Out Of Here and would surely have won with Darlan in 2012 when he was cantering under McCoy before taking a crashing fall.
Darlan and My Tent were both horses AP gave us as his horse to follow that season and as you will know this season's chosen one was Movewiththetimes.
When I spent the day at Ditcheat in December the high regard they have for this horse was obvious and since then he has bolted up under a penalty in a Wincanton Novices' Hurdle. Movewiththetimes has a huge future.
For all your Cheltenham Festival information you need look no further than the brilliant column Lydia Hislop writes for Sporting Life. It's always a terrific read.
But I'm going to dip a first toe of my own into the perilous Cheltenham ante-post markets – though thankfully Sky Bet are non-runner no bet – and back one of this column's horses to follow at the start of the season to win the Neptune next month.
Messire Des Obeaux has already done us proud but he's not finished yet, not by a long shot. I loved the way he jumped and travelled in the Challow at Newbury and fully expect him to enhance his credentials in the Sidney Banks at Huntingdon on Thursday.
The double green colours of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede have been on fire of late on ITV in the last couple of weeks winning with Bristol de Mai, Wholestone and Top Notch. They think the absolute world of Messire Des Obeaux.
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