So much to choose from as David's yard gears up for Festival
With under three weeks to go before the Cheltenham Festival, Exeter Racecourse kicks off the preview evenings tonight and it's a sterling cast.
Anyone with even a fleeting interest in the Festival should head to Exeter. Paul Nicholls, David Pipe and Philip Hobbs are on the panel – three of the top trainers in the country.
Andrew King from the Racing Post is never shy of adding his opinion and Nick Scholfield will give the jockeys' perspective. I'd encourage anyone to go along armed with plenty of questions.
Media visits have also been happening this week and on Tuesday it was David's turn.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
He's got by far the strongest and biggest team for Cheltenham since I've been stable jockey, and the exciting thing is that all of the horses have their futures ahead of them.
Goulanes is a horse I like an awful lot and whichever race he runs in, he has a chance. He's gutsy, stays well and handles most types of ground. He's in the RSA and the four-miler.
We have three very good novice chasers, Goulanes, Buddy Bolero and Dynaste.
Buddy Bolero won at Exeter over two miles, three furlongs. That's not his trip and he may go for the four-miler at the Festival. He's very similar to Goulanes and jumps and stays very well.
Dynaste has been a revelation this season and although there is no such thing as a certainty, I wouldn't swap him for any other horse.
Flying Cross is the best-bred horse we've ever had in the yard. He's yet to run over hurdles, but he's been doing plenty of schooling at home. I've sat on him and he's a fine horse and he's still entire. He may go for the Supreme or the Neptune.
I love The Liquidator to bits and I think he has a great chance in the champion bumper. He ran a great race when he was second in a listed bumper at Cheltenham in November, and he won very easily at Exeter the other day when it was more of a racecourse gallop than a race.
I'm not sure what is happening with Grands Crus and he might not go to the Festival at all. He's looking very well but there will come a time when the talking stops and he has to start performing.
Gevrey Chamertin, Grands Crus' full brother, has so many options. He's very straightforward and has won three out of three this season. He's entered in the Neptune and the Albert Bartlett, the Coral Cup, the Martin Pipe and the Pertemps. I just hope I get to ride him, but David will choose the best race for each horse and it may not be possible to keep his runners apart.
Close House has an outstanding chance in the Pertemps. He's really matured this season. The race that really made him was the Neptune when he was fourth behind Simonsig. All he does is gallop.
As the picture becomes clearer, we'll know more about David's other entries, and we'll talk through those as the Festival gets closer.
Wyck Hill has been sold to JP McManus and I think he has an outstanding chance in the Racing Plus Chase on Saturday. It's really great for David Bridgewater that he has attracted such a big owner to his yard. It's a little bit disappointing for me, but I just have to hope that at some point I'll ride him again.
Bridgey has 40 horses in his yard now and he's attracting a different type of owner. In the long run it can only be good for me as there will be some very nice horses to ride. I wish Wyck Hill all the luck in the world on Saturday. I think he'll take a lot of beating.
Tickets, which cost £20 each, are available for Exeter's Cheltenham Festival Preview Evening which starts at 7pm this evening. Call 01392 832599 to book. The panel includes David Pipe, Paul Nicholls, Phillip Hobbs, Nick Scholfield, Andrew King and Paul Binfield with host Tanya Stevenson.
Exeter next races on Tuesday, March 5. The six-race card includes the Higos Insurance Services Devon National with the first race off at 2.30pm. Tickets cost from £13 if booked in advance, with Grandstand and Paddock tickets available from just £10 each for groups of ten or more. A free bus to the racecourse leaves Exeter St Davids at 12.50pm and Exeter bus and coach station at 1.05pm and returns 30 minutes after the last race.
Ticket hotline 0844 5793005.