New Coral Ambassador Luke Morris with a big fancy on Sunday
It’s a new year but it will be the same old all-weather and this regularity of tracks and opposition is something I like to use to my advantage.
There are just five all-weather courses in Britain, although they’ll soon be six with Newcastle putting down an artificial surface, and you race against similar horses every week and you get to know the competition.
During the all-weather season it tends to be the same horses and the same jockeys day in, day out so you can assess each of the horses on their form and their run styles either if you’re riding them or riding against them.
I know a lot about the horses around me in races and what their strengths and weaknesses are. I may see a horse that runs a few times and I think it’s been a bit unlucky in a couple of races and I’ll be on to my agent Neil Allan asking for him to try and get me on to that horse because I think it may improve by being ridden a certain way etc. There’s not a lot between the horses a lot of the time when they run, so if you can put the time and the effort into trying to find something that you can use to your advantage then sometimes you can win races that you might not have won otherwise.
I also know each of the tracks like the back of my hand really and I feel I have an advantage in races by having that knowledge and experience of all the tracks. On certain tracks there are areas that I like to stay clear of if I can. I think it’s slower down the inside rail at Kempton for example so try to stay off there. You have to be thinking about things like this to try and get those little edges in races that can make the difference.
The other thing to note about riding on the all-weather is that you get a lot of falsely-run races and generally I like to be as positive as I can when I think a race is going to be like that. When you get to the front you can control the race and stack them up in behind and give yourself an easy time of things on the front. I do think that is an advantage that can make a big difference in a lot of races because there are so many that aren’t run at a true gallop.
As I mentioned last week, I’m aiming to be champion jockey on the all-weather again and I really do enjoy riding on the all-weather. During the winter it’s a bit like being a bigger fish in a smaller pond which for me is great. It’s a nice feeling to go racing every day and have a couple of favourites to ride and to get a winner or two as well on most days.
I would like to broaden my horizons in time, maybe in the next couple of years, but I’m getting plenty of winners on the all-weather and it’s something I look forward to every day.
It’s important to have something to look forward to each time I go racing as I’m riding a lot through the year; in fact I’m the busiest rider of all. It’s not something I really aspired to, it just kind of happened.
I’m naturally quite light and can ride at pretty much any weight so it makes me available to ride a lot during the year. My agent works hard to find me rides and I work hard in the morning as well to get the rides. I’d much rather go racing and have a ride in the first race, the third race and the last race than just sit around all day. I’m happy to be racing and getting winners make it worthwhile.
I drive far too many miles every year when I think about it. I drive myself a lot of the places but I’ll try and get a driver in a couple of days a week, especially if I’m doing double meetings. It just takes that bit of pressure off and also lets me take a bit of time off in between riding.
I always make sure the iPhone is stocked up with plenty of new songs to keep me entertained and if I’ve got a driver I watch TV series on my iPad. I’ve just finished Entourage and before that I watched the whole of Breaking Bad. I can turn into a bit of an addict with the box sets once I start going, but I guess that’s what they’re for!
I’m back in action after a short break next week. In the meantime, I’ll be watching the action at the weekend and I like the look of Godolphin’s Razor Wind at Chelmsford (2.30) on Sunday. He’s the improving, progressive sort you want for the all-weather and he looks like he has been kept back especially for a winter campaign.
Happy New Year,