How would you assess the season so far?
“It’s been a great year so far, I’ve been riding plenty of winners for lots of trainers and I’ve been lucky to be partnered with a nice filly in Sandrine. Riding a horse like that is the highlight of your season so I’m hoping things continue in the same way.”
It must be a great thrill to ride a filly like Sandrine, tell us a bit about her?
“She quickened up well on the faster ground at Newmarket last week and did well to win on what was practically waterlogged ground at Ascot before that. We think that she is very special and she definitely felt better than ever before at Newmarket. She’s one of those horses you can get really excited about and we believe she can compete at the very highest level, I certainly can’t see any reason why she won’t be able to.
“It sounds as though she’ll have a bit of a break now and come back for the Cheveley Park later in the season. The main target next year could be the Guineas. She has a great temperament and the distance shouldn’t be an issue, we’ll have to see how she does over the winter.”
You also rode Tribal Craft to Group 3 success at York earlier in the season, she must hold a nice future back up in trip?
“I missed Tribal Craft at Haydock last time because I was riding for Henry Candy. She has turned over a new leaf this year and loves cut in the ground. She has a big action on her and we’ve changed tactics this year, she likes being held up a bit more and going past horses.
“She was in great order before winning at York, ploughing through the field and winning well. It wasn’t a massive disappointment at Haydock last time in a very competitive race. I think she’ll have more to offer in the future.”
You’ve picked up a great spare ride in the Super Sprint on Saturday on Chipotle, you must be looking forward to that?
“Chipotle won the Brocklesby and has developed into a nice horse. I was impressed with him in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot, he showed a great turn of foot. I spoke to Charlie (Bishop), it’s a shame he’s missing it with a ban.
“I’m delighted the owners have turned to me for the ride. He’s with a great trainer and I’m sure he’ll give me a nice ride. I just hope there’s plenty of speed in the race. He has nice tactical speed and I’m sure he’ll be very competitive late on in the day.”
You rode a treble at Brighton on Tuesday, making it 82 winners in the calendar year. Has this been your best season so far?
“I’m getting plenty of good rides recently. My agent is doing a great job getting me the rides and we’re both working hard. It’s nice to get the opportunities and I’m taking things day-by-day. I’m on track for my best year yet and just hoping I can stay injury free.
“I had a great winter earlier this year and I’ve managed to keep that momentum going. I’m riding winners during the week and seem to be involved with good chances on a Saturday. I’ve never had this many winners at this stage of the season, so I’d like to keep going with that. I still want the big weekend winners, but it’s just as important to keep getting those midweek winners for me too.”
Have you always been involved with horses?
“My father always had horses and I was involved with racing ponies from a young age. My sister works for Charlie Appleby and I remember we always used to race each other when we were younger. She used to ride as an amateur and was pretty good. I did the nine week course at Newmarket as a teenager and they sent me to Andrew (Balding) for a year after that.
“I had my first rides at 17 and it took me a long time to get my first winner, around 60 rides! I didn’t think it would ever happen but the ball started rolling then. My first success was around December 2006 and I won Champion Apprentice in 2007. I haven’t really looked back since then, I’ve always wanted to do well in this sport and I’ve had a pretty good start.”
Do you have any targets for the rest of the season?
“I haven’t had a Group 1 winner in this country yet and I’d love to tick that box, whether it’s this year or next. Hopefully it comes soon, it looks as though I’ll get my opportunity on Sandrine later in the year, so I’ve got my fingers firmly crossed for that.
“I’ve ridden a couple of Group 1 winners in India, but I’d love one in the UK. There’s plenty of opportunities abroad too in the likes of Bahrain/Qatar and the prize money is incredible there, so I’d love to build up my contacts and ride winners there too if possible.