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Thrilled to pick up Anthony Van Dyck ride in the King George

24 Jul 2020

I’m absolutely thrilled to be getting the leg up on Aidan O’Brien’s Anthony Van Dyck in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Enable’s obviously a superstar, but Anthony Van Dyck ran very well when splitting Ghaiyyath and Stradivarius in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket on his reappearance, while the ground was probably a bit slow for him in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last time.

He enjoys top of the ground conditions and he’ll hopefully get those on Saturday. He’s a Derby winner and these are opportunities to treasure, so I hope I can make the most of it.

It could be tactical being such a small field, but Enable’s very uncomplicated and versatile, she could even get out on the front end and do whatever, so I’d imagine they won’t complicate things on her. I’m not sure what Aidan will want me to do tactically, but we’ll be doing our best to run as well as we possibly can.

It would be great to win a Group One for Aidan. I’ve been placed in two Group Ones for him, once in Australia and once in Ireland.

I’ve known him since I was a child and I’ve spent a lot of time working at Ballydoyle, so I know what he expects of me. It would be fantastic to win a big race like this for him.

Other Saturday Rides
1.15 – Political Approach
Abdulla Al Mansoori is a big owner in George Margarson’s yard so it would be nice for him to find a nice horse. Political Approach is well bred being by New Approach out of a Teofilo mare, so hopefully she can shape well on debut. In an Ascot novice race like this, though, you never know what to expect.

1.50 – Harold Shand
He was tough at Yarmouth last time out, staying on strongly to win after putting his head down and galloping to the line, beating a nice horse of Andrew Balding’s called Spanish Colt. This is a tough Listed race, though, and Twaasol could be very hard to beat.

2.25 – Ebury
I ride Ebury in the Moet & Chandon International Stakes and he deserves to go off as one of the fancied ones. He’s done nothing wrong in his career so far and I thought he ran well at Ascot despite the ground. He’s a top of the ground horse, no doubt about it. He’s won at Ascot before and he’s a strong traveller, I’m drawn nicely amongst fancied horses and hopefully I’ll get a good tow into the race. I’d say he was drawn on the wrong side in the Buckingham Palace, but that big-field handicap experience will have done him good.

3.00 – Glasvegas
I ride Glasvegas for Keith Dalgleish in the Betfred ‘Nifty Fifty’ Handicap. He’s lost his way a bit this year and has dropped from a mark of 99 to 90, but he’s got Ascot previous having finished third in last year’s Windsor Castle and I just hope he can recapture that sort of form.

4.10 – Edinburgh Castle
I really like Edinburgh Castle who goes in the Betfred.com Handicap. I thought he’d run well at York last time but he was a bit disappointing over two miles. I’m going to ride him a little bit more patiently as he’s a strong traveller and I’d like to get the best out of him. Everyone expects him to stay given the family he comes from, but, for me, he clearly didn’t stay at York and I think dropping back to a mile and a half will suit. He’s not ground dependent and I think he’s a lot better than a 78-rated horse. We’ve just got to find the key.

4.45 – Imperial Fora
He’s done nothing wrong in four starts and is a tough little horse by Holy Roman Emperor. I think he’s earned his handicap mark of 73, whether he’s got loads in hand I’m not so sure, but a few of these have similar chances. Hughie Morrison’s Marsabit stands out to me, he looks a little bit better than 70 from what I’ve seen.