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Back to business ahead of a big April

20 Mar 2017

Oisin Murphy rides out as he gears up for a big season on the Flat.

Oisin has been riding out as the Flat racing season gears back up. racingfotos.com

After last week’s distractions at Cheltenham, it’s now back to business and I’m totally focused on preparing for the start of the Turf season.

It’s a really exciting time of year for me as a jockey as many trainers start to work with their latest crop of two-year-olds for the first time. As with all young horses it’s a total lottery as to how quickly they’ll take to the training and I’ve had a few pretty wild rides up the gallops recently!

You can’t help but get a little excited though as trainers are in something of a bubble of optimism about how nice their young horses could be. It’s infectious, but only time will tell as to how high these potential stars can go.

One horse that we already think plenty of is Rich Legacy.

Many are touting her as a candidate for the Investec Oaks; I can’t judge her on that level as I’ve never won the race before but her trainer, Ralph Beckett, has and he rates her very highly.

Whether one and a half miles is her perfect trip or not I’m unsure as her sire Holy Roman Emperor isn’t necessarily famous for his stamina influence; but her dam was sired by Galileo so that offers a clue that she might be suited by it. Only time will answer that question fully.

We haven’t yet done a serious piece of work on her as we don’t want her to peak too soon. Ralph certainly knows what it takes to get a filly spot on for Epsom so I trust him entirely.

Another three-year-old I’m really looking forward to sitting on soon is Poet’s Vanity. We’re very happy with how she’s developed over the winter as she’s really grown into a really imposing physical specimen.

She was slightly’ high-behind’ (her hindquarters were higher than her forequarters) but she’s levelled out nicely now and looks a million dollars.

She again isn’t very forward with her work but I’m sure Andrew Balding will look to pick up that soon as we start to campaign her with the QIPCO 1000 Guineas in mind.

While we take it slow with the fillies, we’ve been slightly more forward with our work on leading colt South Seas.

We’ve earmarked a valuable conditions race at Newcastle for him on 14 April, which if the yard vibes are anything to go by might see us come up against William Haggas’s Racing Post Trophy winner Rivet.

The straight mile at Newcastle is pretty stiff and should suit our lad really nicely; it makes sense to go for it as should we win we wouldn’t incur any Group penalties.

Away from the young horses, I’m lucky to have plenty of established older horses to look forward to reacquainting myself with.

Simple Verse has been operating at the top level for the past two seasons and is a very consistent performer.

I sat on her a couple of weeks ago, and can update that she appears to have wintered really well. At the time of riding her, I wasn’t sure that she was quite in her summer coat yet but she seemed well and we’re in no rush to get her out.

The plan at the moment is to up her in trip this season and campaign her with more of a focus in the Long-Distance Division.

She ran really well to finish third in last year’s Long Distance Cup, which was her first ever try at two miles, and I think she could be a standout star in that division this season.

My other returning star is undoubtedly David Simcock’s miler Lightning Spear.

He showed himself to be a top-class operator last year when hitting the frame in both the Queen Anne and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. His run in the former showed that he doesn’t need a prep run to get him race-ready; the plan at the minute is to throw him into Group One company at the first time of asking this season.

David’s wife Jenny does all the work on him at home and knows the horse inside out. She’s been very happy with how his winter break has gone and we think he can again be a big player in what looks a red hot Mile Division this season.

He may be six-years-old but is very lightly raced for his age, so that doesn’t worry me one bit. He’s such a gorgeous horse to look at and I don’t doubt he’ll have a very fruitful career at stud one day.

HORSE TO FOLLOW:  Staintondale Lass, a filly trained by the excellent Ed Vaughan, is being targeted for a big run on Good Friday. She ran really well on Saturday At Wolverhampton to finish a close second at big odds and I expect her to run really well again next time out.