Racing: Fitzgerald rewarded with ride on Remittance Man

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The Independent Online
MICK FITZGERALD will ride Remittance Man, the ante- post favourite, in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday week. More senior riders had been considered for the ride, available due to Richard Dunwoody's suspension, but Nick Henderson, the gelding's trainer, decided yesterday to trust in his young stable jockey, writes Greg Wood.

Fitzgerald is nursing a broken nose, sustained in a fall on Wednesday. 'It feels much better,' he said yesterday after learning of the booking. 'Fingers crossed, I just hope I can repay the faith that's been shown in me.'

The evidence of this season, which sees Fitzgerald seventh in the jockeys' championship with 47 winners, is that the Irishman is ready for his big chance. 'Only a fool would say that you wouldn't feel the pressure,' he said, 'but it's the same as any other race, it's got to be. When you're out there the fences come at you the same. You've got to put the horse in the right place at the right time and away you go.'

The huge Festival crowd could help. 'You really only get to hear them if you're looking to. If you jump the last you can hear them pick you up if you're on a favourite and something's coming to challenge you. You can hear that, and that in turn drives you on.'