A cross-Channel Classic weekend ahead
2 Jun 2016
Well, what a fantastic weekend coming up! I ride in four Group 1’s over the next three days and it’s the kind of thing that you wake up early for every morning.
I kick things off on Friday with Arod in the Investec Diomed Stakes. I’m not 100% where we stand on the ground, as he prefers it faster, but he loves the course, is seeking back-to-back wins in the race and has serious claims if back to his best.
Examiner goes in the following Investec Mile and I’m really looking forward to getting back on him. He did well to come from off the pace when runner-up on 2000 Guineas day and loves to travel – though the soft ground again probably isn’t ideal.
Things didn’t really go right for Diamonds Pour Moi at Chester but I’m hoping she can outrun her odds in the Investec Oaks. Riding in a Classic is what every jockey dreams of and I’m confident that she will have learnt plenty from that experience. She’s got a similar profile to 2008 winner Look Here and there’s nobody better with fillies than her trainer, Ralph Beckett. Don’t forget that he trained Talent as well to land the Oaks at 20/1.
Minding has to rate as the biggest danger and despite her having had a busy campaign, Aidan O’Brien’s horses always tend to be pretty tough. If she stays and she’s in the same form as Newmarket or The Curragh, she’ll probably take some stopping.
The race could end up being very tactical and I’m lucky that my filly is very straightforward.
On Saturday the star of the show for me is Simple Verse.
She seems in very good order at home and has definitely come on from her run in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket. She travelled really sweetly for me that day but just got a little weary close home when conceding weight to the winner.
With the cobwebs blown well away we think she has an excellent chance of landing a third Group 1. The track and the soft conditions shouldn’t be a problem for her either. She’s won previously at tricky tracks at Goodwood and Salisbury, while her win on QIPCO British Champions Day last season showed that she can handle conditions on the soft side of good.
We know that the Postponed team will look to go a strong gallop with the inclusion of a pacemaker but my mare doesn’t lack stamina so we’re happy for them to tow us into the business end of the race.
I’m back on Seeking Magic in the hair-raising Investec Dash. He was first past the post last time and was unlucky to be disqualified. He’s a tough sprinter, loves Epsom, is favourably drawn and be bang there.
I envisage the feature Investec Derby being a very messy race, with a fair amount of in-running carnage, and it looks a very open renewal. I think that US Army Ranger will have learnt more from Chester than Wings of Desire did at York, but I quite fancy Across The Stars to run well at a bigger price.
On Sunday I’m then heading over to France to partner the supplemented Imperial Aviator in the Prix du Jockey Club. George Baker and Kieran Shoemark have been riding him at home and they both say that he couldn’t be better. The ground is an unknown but Roger (Charlton) is happy with him.
Finally, I have to say that I’m really happy with the two-year-olds now and Qatar had their first juvenile winner at Nottingham on Wednesday (Bletchley). Whether any of them are quite ready for Royal Ascot is another matter but that’s not the be-all and end-all. Watch this space in the coming weeks!
Horse to Follow: WHITE POPPY
She was unfortunate to bump into what could be a very talented handicapper in the shape of Manson, who’s a half-brother to Jack Hobbs. She ran a cracker, though, is still learning and is entered at Salisbury on Tuesday.