In from the 'cold' and enjoying a 'snowball'
Despite enjoying my best start to a season with a bunch of early winners, in recent weeks my name cropped up on the dreaded 'cold' jockeys' list. Thankfully, I warmed up a little when my boss Robert Tyner's One In A Milan toughed it out for me in the maiden hurdle at Naas on Saturday.
Then I rode another for Robert at Limerick on Sunday, before bagging a double there on Monday for John Joe Walsh. That's racing for you -- you need luck on your side.
The previous week I'd ridden three seconds and taken a couple of falls, so it was just a case of getting that rub of the green. Obviously, you need to still be getting the rides for your luck to change, but the people that I ride for have been incredibly loyal.
Robert and his wife Mary have always given me unbelievable backing, while I have built up good relationships with others, too.
I only really started riding regularly for John Joe Walsh this term, and his horses probably weren't firing initially. It was great, then, to be in the saddle when they did return to form on Monday.
I suppose there is a snowball effect as well when things do start to go your way. You ride with a bit more confidence and that always encourages trainers to put you up.
Ultimately, the more rides you have the more chances you have of getting winners. To that end, it is vital to build up a broad range of contacts.
This season, I have been riding a lot more for Charles Byrnes, while Henry de Bromhead has also been using me when Andrew Lynch is unavailable. When people are supporting you, you can't ask for much more, only do your best to deliver.
On that score, it meant a lot to make my first ride in JP McManus' colours a winning one on Whatwillwecallher last Sunday. It is great for everyone involved in the yard to have such a brilliant owner in the ranks.
Mr McManus is one in a million when it comes to supporting racing in this country. He wasn't at Limerick on Sunday but his wife Noreen was, so it was really special to ride a winner in those famous colours.
I'm not sure where Whatwillwecallher goes next but, such is her class, she won't be difficult to place. From my own point of view, I just hope that AP McCoy is busy in England whenever she does run, as that will increase my chances of staying on her.
Since Monday, it has been a relatively low-key week. I work full-time in Robert's, although there is never a problem if I need to go schooling somewhere else.
On Thursdays, I ride out for Henry de Bromhead. My girlfriend Emma has a place in Cork city, so I stay there on a Wednesday night, which shortens the journey in the morning, as I need to be in Waterford for 8.0.
My own place of residence is in Dunmanway town with the McCarthys, who have been like a second family to me since I moved to Cork from Kerry about seven years ago. It's a long way down the country, but Robert's place in Kinsale is a long way down anyway, and it's wherever you're happiest at the end of the day.
If I'm not racing, I'd be in Robert's of an evening clipping horses or whatever, just doing what needs to be done to get them in the best possible shape for the races.
Probably the most exciting thing that we did all week was take Footy Facts to Philip Coppercorn's cross-country course to school him over banks, with Robert's daughter Joan leading me on her hunter Tom.
At 11 years of age, Footy Facts' opportunities are limited, but he often 'banked' fences, so we decided to put that habit to good use.
He has taken to it well and runs in the cross-country race at Punchestown tomorrow, with By The Hour pencilled in for a handicap chase. She ran nicely to be second over hurdles at Galway and is a better mare over fences, so fingers crossed.
At Cork on Sunday, my best ride is Daring Article in the maiden hurdle. He was also second for us there last time, and we think he is a decent prospect that should go well.
For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out www.goracing.ie