Wayne Hutchinson reflects on the end of successful season
Last Updated: 06/05/14 10:11am
Balder Succes: One to look forward to next season despite this defeat
Wayne Hutchinson reflects on his experiences at Punchestown in his final column of the season.
It is the end of another long season and already the start of the new campaign - it was a great experience to go over and ride in Ireland at the Punchestown Festival last week for the first time.
I arrived on Tuesday evening and stayed for a couple of nights before coming back on Friday morning and it was good to get some rides outside of the UK.
I thought Medermit ran a cracker in the Punchestown Gold Cup as he got into a good rhythm and galloped all the way to the line. We were very pleased with him and he showed that he retained all his ability from a couple of years ago so we will hopefully have plenty to look forward to with him still next season.
We were delighted too with Balder Succes as in the Ryanair Novice Chase and he ran a great race to finish third behind God's Own.
Balder had beaten that horse at Kempton in February and perhaps the fact that he went to Ireland fresh as he had not run since then turned out to be the difference.
But Balder has really made my season with this run and his victory in the Grade One at Aintree. He has ended up as the top-rated two-mile novice chaser. He is only a six-year-old and we have plenty to look forward to as he will tackle all the top graded races.
Events like the Tingle Creek at Sandown before Christmas will be on the agenda and he deserves to be lining up in them.
Time for a quick look back to Sandown and the final day of the season in Britain and it was nice to bring the curtain down with a winner aboard L'Unique in the final race.
It made all the hard work and rush to get back in time from my knee injury worthwhile. There was a faller in the race at the last hurdle who was alongside me but I was always confident that L'Unique had him covered.
She has come out of the race well, will be kept on the go, and has been given an entry this weekend at Haydock for one of the events at the Swinton Hurdle meeting.
Godsmejudge came right back to his best as well in the spring and he ran a tremendous race in the bet365 Gold Cup having finished runner-up on his previous start in the Scottish National.
He galloped right to the line and he will now have a summer off before coming back to tackle all the top staying chases. It is a long road to the Crabbie's Grand National but that will be his aim and it was great to see him bounce back in the last few weeks so we are all looking forward to a good season with him.
Numerically, this was my second best campaign and it was really nice to get through the 50-winner mark again. It was a little strange as I started very quickly last summer when Alan (King) had a few runners but then had just two winners in December. Then the stable was shut down for most of January when the horses were a little under the weather.
The plan now is to keep going over this summer again - I will be quite busy through May but the stables that I ride for are quieter at this time of year so it will be down to my agent again.
Summer jumping has improved interms of quality compared to five or ten years ago and it is now pretty competitive but I will get chance for a break and a holiday in August when National Hunt racing stops for that brief spell.
And with that, I would like to wish everyone all the best over the next few months and my column will return in the autumn.