‘I’ve never sat on a horse like Headman’, says Watson ahead of first Leopardstown ride in Irish Champion Stakes

Newbury Racecourse ambassador Jason Watson looks forward to the biggest ride of his career so far when he partners Headman in the Group 1 QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes

I am really looking forward to riding Headman in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday. He is a horse that has progressed throughout the year and who overcame a race that didn’t suit him last time and still managed to get the job done.

He is still learning and I do think there is plenty more to come from him. It’s a big race and a big step up for him but I think the track will help him and it looks like the ground is going to be perfect. 

Headman has been bouncing ever since his run in the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano where he flew home to win by a head. 

In that race in France nothing went right. In situations like that you have to believe in the horse and on what you are sitting on. I wasn’t entirely sure we were going to get there but within the last furlong he was really coming home strong. 

He showed an impressive turn of foot. I have never sat on a horse like him. I’ve never had a feel from a horse like the one he gives you. That gives you a lot of confidence.

When he won the London Gold Cup at Newbury back in May the impression I got was that he was a very talented horse that still had a lot to learn. He’s done nothing but show since that he is learning fast and there is still more to come.

We are up against a decent field so it’s going to be a tough race, as these races always are. 

I’ve never ridden at Leopardstown before. I don’t see it as daunting. At the end of the day it’s my job.

I actually have a good strike rate abroad so it appears if I don’t know somewhere, I ride it better. I will have a good walk of the track when I get there, get a feel for the ground and watch a few earlier races.

I’ve looked back at the last six or seven Irish Champion Stakes and watched races over and over from Leopardstown and by the looks of it it’s a track that should suit us.

Headman definitely has to come on again from his run in France but he’s shown us he has earned his right to be in the race.

Since I joined Mr Charlton at the start of the year we have had a few nice winners. Things have started to pick up in the last month.

It is very important to get off on the right foot in a new job. I get on very well with Mr Charlton and we have a good connection. 

You want to do well for him and his owners. You always want to please people so it would mean a hell of a lot if I could win on Headman. I couldn’t even describe it. It would definitely be a highlight that I would never forget.

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