There’s been a lot of stuff written and said about the use of the whip following Christophe Soumillon’s ride on Thunder Snow at the Breeders’ Cup last weekend, but I feel strongly that we have the whip rules spot on in Britain.

I don’t want to dwell on the subject as it draws attention to a topic which doesn’t need debating in my view, but the rules are very fair and reflect the priorities of horse welfare.

I really don’t think there is a negative public perception – of course there are the odd group, who will object to racing no matter what – but I never hear people at the races talking about the whip use.

Most horse people will you tell you that they are happy with the existing rules and it’s a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it’ to my eyes.

Sojourn the pick of my Aintree rides:

The pick of my three rides at Aintree looks to be Sojourn in the Becher Meeting 8th December Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

He was a very encouraging fourth in a typically competitive 16-runner bumper at Newbury a year ago, and the second and third that day have since gone on to win a couple of races each.

He will have learnt a lot from his debut and his trainer, Anthony Honeyball, does really well in bumpers. This looks a great opportunity.

Smackwater Jack, trained by the in-form Olly Murphy, runs in the EBF Stallions “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.

I say Olly’s in-form at the moment, but he’s permanently in-form such is the flying start he has made to his training career.

This four-year-old only went down by a nose on his debut at Fakenham in April and he’s been going well at home. I think this is a nice horse with a future.

Theflyingportrait won’t let you down in the Racing UK Handicap Chase. You know where you are with this horse as he’s very consistent and front-running tactics clearly suit him.

He’s won around Aintree before and showed he was as good as ever with a win at Wetherby last month. He looks a nice solid ride to pick up.

Acey Milan returns:

The highlight of my trip to Ffos Las on Sunday is undoubtedly Acey Milan, who runs in the Peter Bowen Racing Club Maiden Hurdle.

He had a great bumper season, winning two Listed races at Cheltenham and Newbury before finishing fourth to Relegate in the Champion Bumper at the Festival, where he was only beaten just over five lengths.

It was a very good effort, especially when you consider he’s only four years old.
I schooled him on Tuesday and he did everything right ahead of his hurdle debut; I was very pleased with him. He’s got plenty of improvement in him and could be a real star for Anthony Honeyball this season.

Aidan is sponsored by Racing UK, which is offering a one-month free trial to the leading horseracing channel – but hurry as they only have 3,000 to give away on a first-come-first-served basis. For more, please visit: www.racinguk.com/freetrial


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