The Flat season officially gets under way today and my goals will be the same as usual: ride as many winners as I can and stay in one piece.

I missed the second half of last season after breaking my back but, touch wood, I’ve healed up really well and it is giving me no trouble at all. I’m in the gym four or five times a week and feel great.

The season begins to really get going for us northern boys from now and I’m getting plenty of rides.

I don’t set myself specific targets in terms of winners - I’ve been riding almost 20 years now and sometimes you can ask for too much.

I just want to stay fit and well, plus ride as well as I can. So much can change so quickly in terms of injuries, the weather, and it goes without saying the horses in the stables that you are riding for have got to be healthy.

One thing would be nice would be to achieve this year is to reach 1,000 British winners.

I’ve ridden more than that worldwide but I’m on 986 in Britain and so am closing in on four figures.

It’s a number I’m proud of, not least because when I started off I thought I’d do well to ride out my 7lb claim!

I rode my first winner for Pat Haslam just before my 19th birthday and I’m 37 on Monday. I’d imagine some kind of celebration should I get to 1,000, but we will worry about if and when we get there.

After Good Friday’s mounts, I’ve another three rides at Musselburgh today, including Final Venture in the feature race, the Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap.

He’s been a grand horse over the years, and still has a lot of ability on his day. He’s won off higher marks in past and Paul Midgley’s horses are flying.

His draw in 17 will either be very good or very bad. If you get boxed in on rail you can need a bit of luck.

It’s a fast five furlongs at Musselburgh but I find it quite a hard place to make the running. They tend go too fast and in general it suits a horse coming from off the pace.

Tim Easterby’s horses are running well and that gives me encouragement for Parys Mountain in the Silver Arrow Handicap.

He’s a nice horse who has won around York and I fancy the track will suit him. I’m expecting a big run from him.

Finally, I partner Gowanbuster in the second division of the Handicap. I’ve won twice on him in the past and he won well at Newcastle the last time. He’s gutsy and wears his heart on his sleeve.

It’s a competitive little race but he’s quite unexposed on grass and fingers crossed he will give me a good spin.

The highlight of the Classic trials, for me, was seeing David Egan win on Qabala in Nell Gwyn.

It’s lovely to see a good young lad like him coming through the ranks and it’s great to see Roger giving him a chance.

David gave the filly a nice, cool ride and didn’t panic. He now has a leading chance on her in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas - good for him.

Skardu was also quite impressive in coming from way off the pace in the Craven.

He’s in the right hands and, as I’ve touched on in this column before, William Haggas and James Doyle are a potent partnership. They really click.

The bookmakers make the jockeys’ championship a straight match between Silvestre Sousa and Oisin Murphy and that’s the way I see it, too.

Both are great jockeys who are riding very well for big stables. Between them they are going to ride a lot of winners.

The pair of them have a terrific work ethic and I wouldn’t like to choose between them. May the best man win.

I just hope the pair of them stay south of Donny for most of the year!