I didn’t expect to be riding him in this race, but Willie has made the decision and I think it will bear fruit.
He is in good form, though it’s hard to say he’s in the same form as he was prior to winning here last year.
But he is a year older, fractionally wiser and maybe he’s just keeping his best for the track.
His recent work has been more encouraging and I think he’s in similar form to when he went for the King George.
Two miles five furlongs on a left-handed track and on drying ground will really suit him, and I’m looking forward to the ride.
Clearly, Gigginstown are keen to win the race, and have targeted Road To Riches and Valseur Lido, but both horses are arguably better over further.
Village Vic, who has plenty of form at the track, will go a good gallop, but this is not a race that suits stayers.
You need to pace to win it, and Vautour is not short in that department.
I think he will run to the Kempton form, and that should be enough.
We’ve dropped Black Hercules back in trip for the JLT Novices’ Chase because we felt that, on his two runs at Navan and his run at Warwick, he was very keen to get on with it, to gallop on and attack his fences.
That wouldn’t have been ideal in the four-miler. He jumps very well and if he settles I think he will go very well.
Willie’s other runner, Outlander, is a massive danger. His form is rock-solid, and he should handle the drying ground.
Willie has a good handle on the race and both horses are in good form, but it’s hard to know which is better.
I don’t have a ride in the Pertemps, but the horse which Barry Geraghty rides for Charles Byrnes, Leave At Dawn, looks very interesting. He should go well, in what looks a very difficult race.
I think the World Hurdle is all about Thistlecrack.
People are making excuses, saying the ground will be too quick for him, but his form is rock-solid.
He was going to beat Alpha Des Obeaux at Aintree last year, and has improved a tonne this season.
I have no ride in the race but if I was offered the pick, he’s the only one I’d want to ride.
I’m on Ballycasey in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase, and if he puts his best foot forward he could play a big part.
He’s well handicapped, but is as in and out as the weather, and which Ballycasey will turn up I couldn’t tell you.
The mares have been good to us this week and, after Annie Power and Vroum Vroum Mag, hopefully Limini can complete the hat-trick by winning the mares’ novices’ hurdle.
She probably has Bloody Mary and Smart Talk to beat, but I really like her. Her jumping has improved immensely, she has loads of gears, and I’m looking forward to riding her.
Willie has rerouted Sambremont from the four-miler to the Kim Muir, and Patrick rides him.
He seems to be in good form and is potentially well handicapped. If you’re to win a handicap here I think the best chance comes in the novice races as they may be unexposed. He fits that bill, and should go well at a decent price.
All in all, yesterday wasn’t a bad day.
Yorkhill was brilliant in the Neptune. He travelled super, jumped super, might have made one or two mistakes, but it didn’t matter. I was in front way too soon on him, but he was different class to the opposition.
I had to settle for second place on Un De Sceaux in the Champion Chase.
We were just going very, very fast and the ground was a fraction too quick for him.
He just didn’t get into his rhythm jumping — things just happened too fast for him on that ground.
He still tried his heart out, but the winner was magnificent.
He is a wonderful horse and it was a brilliant training performance by Nicky Henderson. But we live to fight another day and I look forward to riding him again in the future.
Voix Du Reve might have been a bit unlucky in the Fred Winter.
We arrived with every chance at the last, and I don’t know why he fell — he seemed to almost trip over it.
He was still going well, but you never know what would have happened as Barry Geraghty’s horse still seemed to be going quite well, and the winner wasn’t doing a lot in front.
In the Coral Cup the ground was too quick for Blood Cotil, and I probably didn’t make enough use of Bacardys in the Bumper — I wouldn’t mind another go at it.
But we’d have to be pleased enough with how the horses ran in the race, having five of the first eight home.
In the RSA Chase Roi Des Francs raced too keenly for his own good, but Shaneshill ran really well.
Again he showed his best here, and has been so unfortunate to finish runner-up on all three visits to the Festival.
Vautour, Ryanair Chase, 2.50 Cheltenham
Limini, Mares’ Novice Hurdle, 4.50 Cheltenham
Black Hercules, JLT Novices’, 1.30 Cheltenham