I've just come back from the World Cup show in Verona, a city that was not only the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but has also been a trading centre since the time of the Romans. This tradition was maintained at the weekend with acres of trade stands in the exhibition centre where you could buy anything from a cow to a helicopter. There was a record attendance of 153,000 people over the course of the show. I've quite honestly never seen anything like it.
From the jumping point of view the competition was good, the courses built by international course builder and former American competitor Conrad Homfeld. Rancorrado performed well all weekend - he was clear in the big class on Saturday but I decided not to jump him off and save him for the World Cup show the following day.
I feel sometimes you can't have ten goals and while it didn't pay off in this instance I think it was still the best decision to have the horse in the best frame of mind for Sunday. In the World Cup competition he had an early fence down and coming towards the last line he uncharacteristically veered left rather than right, and I think I did well to stay on!
I then had to turn him round in the direction I wanted to go, pick up a canter and pop the biggest fence on the course, the triple combination, which he jumped with ease. I'm not quite sure if he spooked or if he was just responding to my left rein. I was merely asking him to stay straight but he thought I meant him to take a sharp left.
Despite not having crossed our tracks the judges gave us four faults for 'resisting to go forward'. We also incurred two time faults, so this gave me a score of ten but realistically we only had a fence down. I have to say the horse probably jumped better than he did the previous week, but that's just sport - sometimes you need a bit of luck.
I've a busy schedule planned over the next six weeks and I feel that Rancorrado and I have been knocking on the door and I believe we will win something big before Christmas.
Echo Beach jumped superbly each day, picking up 2nd place in the world ranking speed class on Saturday afternoon.
It was nice to see the news of the new Rolex World Ranking list published this week, where I had moved up to my highest place ever, ironically to 30th, in the week where I celebrate my 30th birthday.
This Saturday afternoon coming I'll be at Thoroughbred Remedies' store in the Curragh from one to three to meet fellow enthusiasts, so please come along. I've no shows for a fortnight now, the next one being Maastricht, starting on November 26th.
But please check back next week for more news.