Twenty years after he became the champion apprentice, Robert Winston announced his retirement this week and he will be missed from the weighing room.

Robert was always good fun and although he had some ups and downs in his riding career, everyone had some good laughs with him. He was very helpful to me when I started out riding in the north, always willing to help

He was a very talented jockey too and extremely unlucky not to be champion when he picked up an injury when he looked to have the title in the bag in 2004.

I’m making the journey up to Musselburgh on Saturday for six booked rides and hopefully there might be a winner or two among them.

I was at Iain Jardine’s yard at Carrutherstown on Wednesday morning to ride Orlaith, the two-year-old filly on whom I scored at Newbury a couple of weeks ago. She seemed in great form and the plan is to go to Ayr next week for the Group 3 Firth Of Clyde Stakes over six furlongs.

While I was there, I also had a sit on God Of Dreams, my first ride in the opening division of the JMC Healthcare Handicap over seven furlongs.

He’s had a few chances in different kinds of races, but coming back to this trip really seemed to suit when I rode him last time and if he’d enjoyed a little more luck in running, he’d have gone close. I think he could run a really big race.

Band Practice is another one I have high hopes for when she runs in the EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes. With Danny Tudhope over in Ireland, it’s a nice spare to pick up for Clipper Logistics and Archie Watson.

She broke her duck with the minimum of fuss at Chepstow last time and looked a nice, straightforward filly. Unfortunately, she does have to carry a 5lb penalty which means she has to give weight to Mighty Spirit, who has shown a decent level of form, but you’ve got to be hopeful that Band Practice might find a little bit more improvement now that she has got her head in front.

Glasses Up is another one I would pick out with blinkers on for the first time in the Max Davis’ 21st Birthday Handicap. Looking at his form, you’d have to say he is potentially fairly treated here, especially if the headgear gets him firing.

This looks considerably easier than the race in which he ran at York last time and I’m hopeful he’ll go very well.

Over in Ireland, everyone will be watching Magical in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, the highlight of the first day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown.

Magical is some filly and nothing has made Enable work harder this season, but I do wonder whether Mark Johnston’s Elarqam might prove a live danger here. He’s been in great form and was a bit unlucky in the Juddmonte International on his last start.

Johnston went over and won a big prize at this meeting with Jukebox Jury a few years ago and I reckon Elarqam can give Magical a decent fight.