JOCKEY Danny Tudhope has enjoyed a memorable season in the saddle with Group 1 glory, a Royal Ascot four-timer and an assault on the jockeys’ championship that only just failed.
Stable rider for David O’Meara, Tudhope has increasingly been called upon by other leading yards, showing his skills in the saddle are appreciated across the country.
We spoke to Tudhope about his year, his hopes for his rides at York on Friday and looked ahead to Champions Day and next season with him.
We are nearing the end of the Flat season. What have you made of your 2019?
I’m very pleased with the year. I’ve had over 140 winners for the season and I didn’t imagine that at the start of the year. I don’t take things for granted and have had some great support off top trainers, which has been really helpful. I just go out there and do my job everyday.
You are riding at York on Friday as part of the RaceBets-sponsored card. What is riding at the course like?
It’s a brilliant course and nice and local as well. The crowd is always good and the atmosphere is always one of the best at any course. It’s a very fair track to ride around which means the racing is always very competitive. It’s an enjoyable experience going there for all involved and the facilities for jockeys in the new weighing room are pretty nice too. It’s just a top track.
Romantic Vision goes in the opening 5f nursery (2.00). What have you made of his runs?
He’s progressive for sure. He’s done nothing wrong in any of his three starts and has progressed each time he has gone to the track, which is what you want to see. I think looking at him there should be more to come too.
In the RaceBets Money Back 2nd 3rd 4th Handicap (2.40) you ride course specialist Firmament. What made you side with him?
David [O’Meara, trainer] has a few in the race that I had the choice to ride, but after speaking to David we thought Firmament had a class edge on them. He’s a talented horse in this grade of race and he loves York too, which is always a big advantage. He’s a classy horse for a race of this nature.
Hamish is your partner in the RaceBets Handicap (3.50). How do you rate his prospects?
He’s a really interesting horse. I rode him earlier in the year and all he’s done since then is progress with his races. He’s turning into a good stayer now and is likely to be one of the favourites for this race, so it’s great to get the chance to ride him again. I think he’ll run well.
You enjoyed a memorable Royal Ascot with four winners. Are you looking forward to returning to the course for Champions Day next weekend?
Royal Ascot was fantastic. It’s not very often that you come away from any big meeting with four winners, so to have that many successes at Royal Ascot was brilliant. I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve had a lot of horses to ride this year and a lot of good ones with top trainers, and I had a good book of rides that week so I was pleased that I was able to make it count. I’m really looking forward to Champions Day and it’s a good day and it’s a really good way to end the season. Hopefully I’ll have a few nice rides and can try to pick up a winner or two.
Your leading ride on Champions Day is likely to be Lord Glitters in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Can he repeat his Queen Anne effort next weekend?
He’s a horse who deserved to win a Group 1 after the performances he’s put in over the past couple of years. That was a great day at Ascot when he won the Queen Anne and I was particularly chuffed for him. He’s going back for the QEII on Champions Day and he loves soft ground and Ascot, so he has to be a big contender once again.
You are retained rider for Steve Parkin’s Clipper Logistics. What have you made of his year?
He’s had a brilliant year, probably one of his best since he started owning horses. He’s got a lot of nice prospects and we’ve had a lot of good results with the likes of Soldier’s Call, Suedois, Living In The Past and Space Traveller. He has a lot to look forward to next year as well.
Higher Kingdom certainly looked like a horse with a bright future when winning at Kempton on Thursday. What did you make of his performance?
He’s far from furnished. He’s a horse that you’d look to put away now after giving him that one backend run. Archie [Watson, trainer] was confident he’d win but said he thought of him more as a three-year-old so whatever he did he was only going to improve on in the future. He gave me a nice feel in the race, so hopefully he’s one to look forward to.
And, finally, what are your plans for the winter?
I’ve got a jockeys’ challenge in Barbados at the end of next month and that’s a bit of work and a bit of a holiday, which is great. I’ll probably take the whole of December off as it’s been a long year and then maybe look to go to Dubai, although I’m not sure yet. We’ll see.