Luke Morris writes exclusively for Coral
“He’s an all-weather specialist and he goes particularly well at Wolverhampton too”
I’m delighted to be joining Coral as a blogger over the next few months and I’ll be hoping to give you all some greater insight into the all-weather and the All-Weather Championships building up to Finals Day at Lingfield on March 25.
The all-weather has been very kind to me over the past couple of years and it was an honour to be named champion jockey for the All-Weather Championships last year. Hopefully we’ll find a good few winners together here as I’ll be aiming to be champion again if I can.
The biggest threat to me being champion again is likely to be Adam Kirby. Adam is definitely the guy that is most difficult to ride against out of the ones I face most days.
Adam’s very good when he gets to the front and he gets a lot of good rides as well which makes it doubly hard to beat him. When he gets to the front at Lingfield he’s particularly hard to peg back so you have to keep an eye on him in races and have in mind what he’s riding and how he might ride it to give yourself the best chance of catching him.
George Baker is also a very tough opponent, although he doesn’t ride quite as much as he’s a bit heavier. He’s a classy jockey though and a dangerous rivals in races.
My main job during the year is riding for Sir Mark Prescott but as Sir Mark doesn’t have too many horses for all-weather in general the main guys I ride for over the winter are James Tate and Tony Carroll.
James is very good at placing horses to do their best on the all-weather. He puts a lot of thought into all of it and that’s why he gets such good results with his horses. Anything he runs always deserves a second look in races. Tony always makes sure he saves plenty of his horses for January when the races are a lot weaker and he always tends to have a lot of winners during that month. I’m looking forward to things getting going with him soon.
Everyone knows how good Sir Mark is as a trainer and the amount of thought that goes into each horse from Sir Mark is incredible. He calls me every morning around half seven and we go through each race with a fine-toothed comb and talk about what he think each horse will do and what our best approach will be to beat our dangers. Every race whether it’s a seller or a Group 1 gets the same attention to detail and thoroughness and when it comes off like it did with Don’t Be at Lingfield last weekend then it’s even better.
I think I’ve improved a hell of a lot tactically since I started riding for Sir Mark because he’s always looking for ways to gain advantages. In horse racing you can get beaten a short-head or you can win by a short-head and it’s those little advantages that can mean you’re winning the races instead of being beaten in them. He’s the master at what he does really.
No one is anywhere near as good tactically as Ryan Moore because he always seems to be in the right place at the right time, but I feel by studying races and knowing what the opposition are then you can get the little extras that can make the difference at the end of the race.
The All-Weather Championships mean there are a lot more good races with good horses and good prize-money to go for now so getting up to win by a short-head is even better now than it was before.
Before the all-weather was more just a filling between seasons for moderate horses and it was probably quite tedious. Now you’ve got much better horses running each week and a lot of trainers like Marco Botti are saving horses for an all-weather campaign.
It’s good for people like me that are busy through the winter and with places like Chelmsford putting on such good prize-money is fantastic. The sponsors supporting it like Coral have made a massive difference and it’s something that British racing should be proud to have.
He finished second to that aeroplane Tryster on Finals Day earlier this year and he’s a proper all-weather specialist. I suspect he’ll be aimed at the Coral Winter Derby before Good Friday and he’s a horse I’m excited about this winter.
I’m not in action at Wolverhampton on Saturday but if I could ride one horse it would definitely be Chookie Royale in the 6f conditions race (1.35). He’s an all-weather specialist and he goes particularly well at Wolverhampton too.