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As good a horse as I’ve ever sat on

17 Apr 2015

It’s great to be back and I have been lucky enough to hit the ground running since returning to Britain. I can’t wait for the weekend, though, and having my first ride in the Qatar Racing silks since coming back.

Well, it’s great to be back and I have been lucky enough to hit the ground running since returning to Britain.

I had a winner at Windsor, which was a lucky course for me last year, and then rode a double at Kempton on Wednesday. I can’t wait for the weekend, though, and having my first ride in the Qatar Racing silks since coming back.

It looks a really hot Newbury maiden in which I ride Murgan for Sheikh Fahad – but he has a strong level of form coming into the race and I’m really looking forward to it. I also partner Bonnie Grey in the Dubai Duty Free (Fred Darling).

The big question at this time of year is whether the three-year-olds have trained on from two – especially with the fillies and seeing whether they have come into their coats. However, she has been working with Master Carpenter, so that has to be a good gauge to her well-being. The race doesn’t look the best of trials either. Tiggy Wiggy stands out a mile on form. The only question is whether she will stay a yard over six furlongs!

Personally I don’t think she will. She looked every inch a two-year-old and isn’t bred to – but I hope I’m proved wrong.

Aidan O’Brien just has such a strong hand with his three-year-old fillies, and stronger than normal with two Grade 1 winners by Galileo and bred to get better with age (Together Forever and Found).

The Greenham on the same card looks like being the best Guineas trial so far. I sat on Flaming Spear two weeks ago and he has been pleasing us lots at home. He has been labelled a Guineas horse ever since he won a York maiden on his only start to date. He’s as good a horse as I’ve ever sat on and although he has an awful lot of speed and has to prove his stamina, I think he’ll win.

I don’t fancy Belardo at all. His form is in and out and his Dewhurst win was achieved when the majority of the field were over the top for the year. Estidhkaar looked the best two-year-old around last year until he flopped in the Guineas and I would think he rates the main danger.

As for the other trials, Zawraq was pretty impressive in the Irish 2000 Guineas trial and Dermot Weld clearly has his horses well forward. Andrea (Atzeni) was pleased with the runner-up Endless Drama, though.  He’s a big horse at around 17 hands and will have more to offer this year.

I don’t believe Success Days’s success in the Ballysax was a much as of a fluke as some people made out. He quickened up really well in the straight and bolted up really. The plan is to go for the Irish Derby now and he goes there with a live chance.

It was good to see Kool Kompany back and winning the Craven. He clearly stayed the trip and although he did get an easy lead, it’s hard to make all the running at Newmarket. I’m not going to say that he’s going to win the Guineas but he’s a very tough horse.

Home of The Brave benefitted from a great ride from James Doyle to land the Free Handicap, while I think Osaila could be a proper Guineas filly judged on her Nell Gywn triumph. She got a bit unbalanced in the dip and looked value for more than the winning margin.

I’ve been very busy over the past couple of weeks and have been riding out for as many trainers as possible. I try to get to Andrew Balding’s every Saturday and Wednesday and have also ridden for Ralph Beckett, Charlie Hills, Stuart Williams, David Brown and Kevin Ryan.

One of the toughest things to adapt to in my new role is constantly assessing the horses and feeding back a report on each one to Sheikh Fahad.  It’s amazing to have the opportunity to ride for such a range of different trainers, though.

Bring on Newbury!

HORSE TO FOLLOW: INDIAN MONSOON

I’ve not sat on him but have heard lots about him. Trained by Sir Michael Stoute and makes his debut in the maiden at Newbury on Saturday. It’s a hot race but he’s apparently been working very well.