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Gutted to be missing out on Guineas weekend

4 May 2017

Dream Castle and Oisin Murphy

So, it’s the Guineas and the start of the Stobart Jockeys’ Championship this weekend and obviously I’m gutted to be missing out on matters.

I travelled back to Ireland over the weekend to see my parents and managed to keep my mind away from the Racing Post for a few days at least. I’ve been keeping riding out for a number of trainers over there, though, and did a full morning of work at Andrew’s (Balding) on Wednesday when I returned.

The field for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas is small but packed full of quality. I partnered Dream Castle to finish runner-up in the Greenham and he fared really well considering how hard he pulled in the early stages of the race. Most horses who do that fall in a heap, so he must be pretty talented to have stuck on as he did. He’s a very fast horse and if he can relax and Silvestre (de Sousa) can get him to switch off, I have an awful lot of faith in him to run a big race and he shouldn’t be far away if he can conserve some of that speed for the latter stages!

Al Wukair is probably Andre Fabre’s best three-year-old and must be respected to be making the trip over the Channel, whilst Lancaster Bomber is probably a big price to make the first three based on his two-year-old form.

However, Churchill looked a million dollars when I saw him the other week and sets a very high standard. If everything goes to plan, I imagine he will be very hard to beat.

The sprinters are out in force in the Palace House Stakes earlier on Newmarket’s Saturday card and this looks a very strong race. The fact that the 2015 winner Goldream is 20/1 very much demonstrates this! Whoever wins is a genuine Champions Series Group 1 contender for the rest of the year, but the one I’d probably want to be on is the Abbaye winner, Marsha. She seems very much a filly on the upgrade.

In the Jockey Club Stakes, Cleonte makes his first start for Andrew since joining from Andre Fabre over the winter. He’s a nice, easy-moving horse but may just be sharper for this reappearance. We will learn a lot from this performance and hopefully I will be on next time!

The ground went against Seventh Heaven in Dubai and she will be a worthy favourite here. She’s a very good filly and is likely to get better with age.

Jamie Spencer rides both Qatar Racing runners at Doncaster on Saturday evening and they both have decent chances. Bless Him should be suited by the more galloping track after running on the all-weather on his first two starts, whilst New World Power warmed up for his return with a spin in the Cheltenham charity race under Sheikh Fahad! He’s been relaxing great at home and we hope he can go well on his handicap debut.

On Sunday, Andrew’s hope for the Investec Oaks, Horseplay, makes her seasonal return in the Pretty Polly Stakes. She produced one of the most impressive end-of-season maiden performances when hosing up at Nottingham and has pleased us over the winter. We gave her a proper gallop a month ago and she really let herself down. She’s not the biggest but is fresh as a daisy and ready to roll!

Aidan O’Brien also looks to have a stranglehold in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and Rhododendron and Winter could well be occupying the first two placings. They both set the standard on form and I’ve not been surprised to see the market support for the latter over the past couple of days.

Obviously I hope Poet’s Vanity will run a really big race as well and give her owners plenty to cheer about. She’s got course experience and will hopefully stay in a truly-run mile.

Horse To Follow: IMPACT POINT

I will be keeping myself busy at Badminton Horse Trials on Saturday but then I’m back raring to go at Windsor on Monday night, when I will be riding this fella. He ran very well at Lingfield on his debut, felt great when I sat on him recently and will hopefully be able to go one better.