I’ve had some big days in racing but Tuesday’s win of Corach Rambler in the Ultima Handicap Chase ranks up there with anything I have achieved as a jockey or being involved in training.
This was personal. I ride Corach Rambler virtually every morning in my job as assistant to my trainer partner Lucinda Russell. The horse and I have a connection. He is a bit of a character and we have clicked!
What he achieved when he repeated his 2022 win in the Ultima to become only the fourth dual winner of the race was special. But I genuinely believed Corach Rambler was in better form this year. He had gone very well in a racecourse gallop at Carlisle and I felt he was moving better. He definitely jumped more cleanly.
I flagged up how well Corach Rambler was going on Tuesday, making him my nap, and I hope some of you had a few quid on him.
My recently retired jockey son Tom will confirm I was a bag of nerves ahead of Tuesday’s contest. In racing parlance I was ‘walking my box’.
Corach Rambler won the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham for the second year in a row
Corach Rambler managed to finish ahead of Fastorslow and Monbeg Genius at Cheltenham
After the race, if lightning had hit me walking to the winner’s enclosure I would have died a happy man! I have to pay a massive tribute to his jockey Derek Fox.
Last year, Derek pulled off an outrageous waiting ride to win on Corach Rambler which led to his multiple awards.
Tuesday’s winning effort might not have been quite as dramatic but it was equally skilful and showed yet again that Derek has ice running through his veins.
Corach Rambler is now 6-1 favourite to win next month’s Randox Grand National. That is another challenge altogether and we know at Aintree we will be seriously outnumbered by a very strong Irish team.
You need bags of luck to go your way in the National but we at least know that Corach Rambler is in great shape.
We can keep dreaming for a few more weeks yet.
Lucinda Russell’s 6-1 favourite was ridden cold once again by Derek Fox at Cheltenham