NOW that we are in the Autumn of the year, the jockeys in both racing codes, flat and over the jumps, are keeping a wary eye on how well or not they are doing on the winners table.
The title of Champion Jockey in either code is a prize to be cherished, for it means that the victor is the overall leader in his or her particular grade.
Taking the flat genre first, it did appear early on in the year that jockey Joe Fanning would be one of those right in the firing line for the title, for, during that early period, he was in the lead in the table, and seemed to be riding winners for fun.
His main stable, Mark Johnston’s, had been going steadily in the early part of the season, but, from the beginning June on, seemed to have struck a really purple patch, which kept Fanning, after he had faded a bit, right back there in the top ten, and although not now a candidate for champion, should indeed have his best season ever. As the race for the title developed, the usual suspects, Buick, Moore, Hughes, de Sousa, and the reigning champion, Paul Hanagan, have, through sheer dint of talent, become grouped again at the business end of the table.
As I write, Richard Hughes and Ryan Moore are having a titanic neck and neck battle at the head of the chasing pack, with Hughes hoping for better luck than he had last season, when injury and suspension combined to actually rob him of the elusive title. Buick, De Sousa, and Hanagan, are at this stage around thirty behind the leaders, and, unless something unusual happens, look to be out of the running.
Maybe this year Hughes can get the title he so richly deserves!
The flat season finishes in early November, but, over the sticks, the champion won’t be crowned until April, 2013.
At the moment Maguire, Johnson, and the irrepressibleMcCoy are well ahead of the rest, and, barring accidents, it looks to be Tony McCoy again to win the title that he has retained ever since 1996.
This just has to be the most stupendous achievement in the racing firmament!
This Saturday, for our bit of fun, we trudge to Haydock Park, hoping to pick up the winning thread again.
In the opening Nursery, The Taj appeals as the pick of the Hannon pair, and can win for Tadgh O’Shea, with Secret Lock there to see he does it right, In the Lancaster Stakes, Henry Cecil’s Jet Away should oblige, although Questioning may ask the question!
The handicap race is as usual competitive, but I think that Opinion, from the Stoute stable, is classier than this lot, and may be good enough to beat Invisible Hunter.
The Fillies Stakes looks at the mercy of Dank, who has Irish History to contend with.
The weather forecast for the weekend is supposed to be blue skies and sunshine, but I’ll believe it only when I see it!
Best of luck to you all anyway!