StableTalk: “We like this horse a lot”


AP’s knighthood is just fantastic. Everyone will bark on about how good it is for the sport, and of course it is, but I think for once in his life AP can be selfish about this as he’s really earned it. He was no less determined on his last ride on Box Office than he was at the start of his career and that’s what set him apart.

A lot of top end sportsmen end up having to be so ruthless they effectively abandon the more human side to them but AP isn’t like that. He’s a good bloke who’d always help you out when he could. Yes in his younger years he was notoriously grumpy but he was only trying to do his best, and it paid dividends.

AP has probably revolutionised the sport with his professionalism. He’s basically made it a very different playing field. He’s altered the landscape for the next Champion too. He’ll be very difficult to follow. That said Richard Johnson has been ‘mister consistent’ himself.

Take away AP and it would be Dickie getting the knighthood. Both AP and Dickie have been great for the sport, and they’ll continue to be so too. We’re not waving AP off into the distance.

I was very happy with Al Ferof’s third in the King George. We will give him a short break now. We’ll then aim straight for Cheltenham. He’ll have an entry in the Gold Cup but he is more than likely to run in the Ryanair Chase.

I’m very happy with how 2015 has gone. We finished with 97 winners in the calendar year. We were obviously really pleased with that. You couldn’t fail to be. And now we want improve on that in 2016.

We don’t bother with all those New Year’s resolutions or wishes, it’s just a case of keeping on going as we are. I will be doing absolutely nothing on New Year’s Eve, and there’s not a chance of me staying up until midnight.

New Year’s Day

12.10 Cheltenham – Captain Chaos

He comes here off a very good run in the Winter Novices Hurdle at Sandown behind Label Des Obeaux. He’s the highest rated in the race with a single penalty. He will love the ground, but this is every bit as good as a graded race. Our horse will have no excuses, but though we are dropping down a grade, it’s not a drop in quality from his last run. Indeed it is probably just as strong as the Sandown race we ran in last time. How he runs will tell us which route to take in terms of the Festival.

1.20 Cheltenham – Three Musketeers

We like this horse a lot. He’s got to give away a penalty but then again so have a few others. We’ve always thought an awful lot of this horse. It’s his first time race at Cheltenham but he’s ready for it now. He’s won on soft ground so that won’t be a problem. This will tell us where we are going for the rest of the season. I think he’ll act round the track and we’ll then be able to plan as we want.

3.05 Cheltenham – Virgilio

He’s improved rapidly. If we ran him off his mark of 149 in a handicap it would have been very hard, so we thought we’d have a go in a graded race as that will tell us exactly where we stand. If we get beat then we’ll probably head off chasing.


12.40 Sandown – Fairytale Theatre

She’ll like the track and she’ll like the ground. She’s got a few pounds to find with the others but she’ll run a race.

2.25 Sandown – Welsh Shadow

I’m very happy with him and he will love the ground. I can’t see why he won’t handle the track and his form is strong. I can’t see why he won’t have a decent chance. Yorkhill will obviously be tough to beat.


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