Ready to Roar Once More
18 Oct 2018
I couldn’t be more excited going into QIPCO British Champions Day. As a racing fan it’s a real day to savour with, as always, six races of the highest quality packed into one afternoon. This year is extra special for me as I have some outstanding rides and it would mean the world to me to land a winner on a special day in the racing calendar.
The talk this week has all been about Roaring Lion and whether he would compete in the QEII or the QIPCO Champion Stakes. This has been a real dilemma with the changes in weather over the past couple of weeks. Eventually, John Gosden and the team have decided that with the softer conditions he would be best suited to the QEII (sponsored by QIPCO) over the straight mile.
This horse has been a superstar this season, and I’ve loved riding him. Unfortunately the track hit with more rain yesterday and the best thing for him is to run over this distance. Everyone’s been delighted with his preparation, and I don’t think a stiff mile will be any issue for him. He has a real chance of landing me a first win on Champions Day and it’s what dreams are made of. I can’t wait.
The race as you’d expect has plenty of dangers in the line up. I think Addeybb has a big chance, and the same goes for Recoletos, Lightning Spear, and pretty much the whole field. The pace will probably come from Laurens, Hey Gaman and Century Dream; they’re high-class horses so will definitely give me something to aim at.
Another ride I’m so excited about is The Tin Man in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint. James Fanshawe has got him in super order at home after the 32Red Sprint Cup victory. He’s got an enormous amount of pace and one hell of a pick up during his races. I’m still learning on him at the moment having only had one outing on him.
Plenty of them catch the eye, not least Clive Cox’s star Harry Angel. A lot has been made about his defeats on this course in particular, but I don’t buy into the school of thought that he doesn’t like Ascot. If you look at those races there’s been other factors and the races haven’t panned out for him. He’s a superstar on his day and will be a real threat.
I’m so fortunate that James Fanshawe has given me the ride. He’s a top class sprinter and has been for the past three years at the top level, has won the race in 2016 and I’m really hopeful of a big run once again.
Last year’s QIPCO Champion Stakes winner Cracksman is sure to be a warm order to defend the title he won so brilliantly 12 months ago. I saw out on the gallops the other day in Newmarket and he did a really nice piece of work with Stradivarius, so I’m sure he’ll be fit and raring to go. If he’s anywhere near the form he was in a year ago, obviously it will take a great performance to beat him. He will go off a worthy favourite in my opinion.
The horse I think will run a big race in Saturday’s feature is Capri for Aidan O’Brien. I thought his run in the Arc was pretty good to come 5th, and he’s obviously come out of that well to be turned out here. He’s a William Hill St Leger winner, and the particular renewal he won was a really strong one with this season’s star stayer Stradivarius in third, and Crystal Ocean just behind, who will likely be the second favourite on Saturday.
That form with Stradivarius has looked particularly taking with him winning the Wetherbys-Hamilton Stayers Million bonus this year. He’s swept all aside this season in the staying division and I see no reason why he won’t do so again in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup. They’ve freshened him up at home and they’re very happy with him. Having seen him work he seems to be in cracking form and they wouldn’t be running him if he wasn’t spot on.
I only have eyes for one filly in the QIPCO Fillies & Mares Stakes and that’s Lah Ti Dar. For a filly who lacked the experience of her rivals her run in the St Leger was a very good one. She’s going to come on a lot for that and I think she’ll turn out to be a class above her rivals.
To finish up what promises to be a fantastic days racing, Europe’s richest mile handicap always serves up an intriguing puzzle for racegoers. I ride South Seas, who has been targeted at this race. The conditions have turned out absolutely perfect, and hopefully you’ll see me surging through the field late on.
Horse To Follow: Grace and Danger
Very eye-catching win yesterday at Nottingham on debut, certainly a lot more to come from this filly.