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Sights set on a Glorious start to Goodwood

31 Jul 2017

Oisin Murphy Blog

My focus is 100% on Goodwood now and as a Festival it doesn’t get much better from a jockey’s perspective.

The racing is super competitive, the prize money is unbelievable and the garden party atmosphere all combine to make it a very special occasion. Getting a winner there would mean an absolutely huge amount to me and hopefully I’ll be able to get off to a strong start on Tuesday as I’ve got a full book of rides.

I kick-off on Dark Red in the opener for Ed Dunlop. I haven’t ridden him before but reports are that he’s grown really well into himself and Ed certainly wouldn’t be entering him if he didn’t think he had a chance. I’m very hopeful that he’ll go well of a light weight.

I then get the leg-up on George Scott’s James Garfield in the Vintage Stakes. He’s an exciting two-year-old that I’ve ridden out a few times and got to know really well over the course of the season.

He won impressively at Doncaster last time when stepping up to six furlongs and George’s horses are flying at the minute. He definitely deserves his place in the race and if I can get him relaxed early on then I’d be very hopeful that he’d stay the seven furlongs.

I ride Dream Castle in what looks a very competitive Lennox Stakes. I’ve always thought a lot of this horse and am delighted that Saeed bin Suroor has given me another chance to ride him.

I’ve got a nice draw in stall 5 which should allow me to track the likely pace setter in Home of the Brave. If I can stick close to him and get a nice tow into the race then my lad should be in a great position to make a challenge.

Limato has been declared to run and if he lines up will obviously be the one we all have to watch out for. The going is officially Good to Soft at the minute though and I’d have thought that it’d need to dry out plenty if he were to run.

The big race of the day is the Qatar Goodwood Cup and I get the chance to reacquaint myself with old gladiator Pallasator.

I speak to his work rider Rosie Jessop quite a bit and she informs me that he’s in great order, so I’m hopeful he’ll give a good account of himself.

The ground is irrelevant to him and if I can build up his confidence in running then he could spring a surprise. One things for sure though, I’ll be listening very closely to everything that Sir Mark Prescott tells me in the preliminaries as he’s a genius tactician and you always learn a ton whenever he’s talking to you.

Outside of my lad I think Big Orange will take a lot of stopping and is without doubt the standout stayer in the division at the moment. He’s a great ambassador for the sport and if he can land a third Goodwood Cup then I’m sure it’d be a hugely popular result.

The Great Dandini makes his racecourse debut for Seamus Durack in the next and he’s a horse I’ve got to know well recently as I ride him out at home. He comes into the race in good form and Goodwood will obviously be a big day out for him. He’s sure to learn a lot from the experience and and we’ll be hoping to get a nice first run under his belt.

Sprinter Line of Reason for Paul Midgely is a really super horse; probably a group horse when he’s really on his game. He’s gone up a fair bit in the weights this season and although the softer going won’t necessarily be to his liking, I certainly wouldn’t write him off over the sharp five furlongs at Goodwood.

Soul Silver in the lucky last is a tough little filly trained by David Simcock. Her win at Newbury last time out showed that she’s got a big heart and If I can get her to relax at the start then I don’t doubt she’ll be finishing stronger than most.

HORSE TO FOLLOW

Marble Statue – She’s set to run at Goodwood on Thursday for Ralph Beckett. She’ll be making her racecourse debut so fingers crossed that the occasion doesn’t get to her; but her home work has been good and she should enjoy any give in the ground.