Jacqueline Coward: Time to enjoy the sidelines [H&H VIP]

  • My recovery is going well after a successful operation to fix a reoccurring old injury. All being well, I hope to be back before the end of the season.

    I’m not a great watcher from the sidelines and would much rather be in the heat and battle of race riding.

    However, there have been some positives to being injured and not able to ride, the main one being I was able to spend a week at Cheltenham Festival, which I never normally would have been able to do at this time of year.

    And I’m so glad I did, because this year was just surreal. The Cross Country Handicap Chase winner — Rivage D’Or — pulled up in a point-to-point at the start of this season, but stormed clear from the rest of the field up the run-in to win a cracking race.

    Of all the amateur races, the reigning Irish champion point-to-point Jockey Jamie Codd stole the show with two fantastic winners aboard The Package in the Kim Muir Handicap Chase and Cause Of Causes in the Toby Balding National Hunt Chase.

    A clear round was the order of the day in The Foxhunters, with no horses falling, which was great to see after the carnage in the Kim Muir the day before. My thoughts are with the talented rider and trainer Tom Weston [in hospital after a fall] and his family.

    Pedal power to horsepower

    It was great to hear that Olympic double gold medal-winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton has swapped her bike saddle for a horseracing one.

    Betfair are sponsoring her, with the aim of qualifying for the Foxhunter chase at Cheltenham in 2016. From pedal power to horsepower, velodrome to Prestbury Park — we will all be interested to see how she gets on.

    In other news, Sheikh Fahad Al Thani of Pearl Bloodstock has bought pointer Current Event. Lets hope he has lots of fun and that he will be a huge asset to the sport.

    In contrast, there is still hope for the smaller owners, trainers and breeders after watching Gold Cup winner Coneygree (pictured) run his rivals ragged.

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 19 March 2015