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What a week ahead at Royal Ascot!

15 Jun 2015

It’s the eve of Royal Ascot and the lads in the weighing room are buzzing for the week ahead! Just the chance to get to see some of the best horses in the world and to be part of this occasion is great.

Oisin riding at the Royal meeting in 2014. Will he be coming home in front this year? Image copyright of Racingfotos.com

It’s the eve of Royal Ascot and the lads in the weighing room are buzzing for the week ahead! Just the chance to get to see some of the best horses in the world and to be part of this occasion is great.

I’ve been up and down the country for the past week and thankfully managed to bag a couple of winners over the weekend. I had been low on the winner count up to then, which was bloody hard, but hopefully this will propel me into the week ahead.

The week starts with the race of the meeting and the Queen Anne field looks unbelievable. Solow and Able Friend are two of the best horses on the planet and the French gelding has only been beaten once in ten starts. Able Friend’s Sha Tin form has been exceptional and he will take some beating if he is able to reproduce that. He’s been passing Group 1 horses on the bridle – though I have to say that I would have serious doubts about the track.

I like Night of Thunder but he would lack the wow factor of either Solow or Able Friend.

The action comes thick and fast and it looks like Sole Power is going to get his conditions again as he bids for a hat-trick in the King’s Stand. His main danger looks to be the Aussie challenge of Shamal Wind but I wouldn’t think the stiff five furlongs at Ascot would play to her strengths.

The first three in the betting are likely to dominate, though I hope that my mount Wind Fire won’t be too far away. She has a really nice draw in stall 15 and if she can run on late, like she did at Haydock behind Pearl Secret, then that would be great. I will ride her similarly off the pace.

The St James’s Palace Stakes looks a thrilling renewal and I’m really excited to see how the tactics pan out in this race. 

Gleneagles is a worthy favourite, but whether he deserves to be odds on against Make Believe is debatable. I think the French colt is coming into this a bit underrated and the only time he has been beaten has been on really soft ground. Makfi’s progeny tend to come on with age and it’s really hard to make all in a Classic – especially at Longchamp.

There’s no obvious front runner in the race and I’m sure that both Ryan Moore and Olivier Peslier will be losing sleep before 4.20pm tomorrow, as neither will want the race to develop into a sprint.

My only other ride tomorrow is Noble Silk in the Ascot Stakes. He’s a tough horse, isn’t ground dependant and has run well every time I have ridden him. My only concern would be whether he’ll get the two-and-a-half mile trip.

The remaining race on Tuesday is the Coventry Stakes, which often turns out to be one of the best two-year-old races of the year. Round Two has been very impressive on his first two starts, but I think of all the outsiders Black Beach could be the one to go and nick it. He was the only one to come from off the pace last time and he could be overpriced.

For the rest of the week there’s so much going on that I could be here all day! The one race that I am really looking forward to seeing is the Commonwealth Cup. Tiggy Wiggy is a little pocket rocket but I still think that Limato is the horse to beat. You can ignore his last run, the course will suit and he will have his ground. I haven’t ridden him for a couple of weeks but am sure that he’s improved.

I’ll ride Our Joy in the Albany, which is a really hot race. She’s got a really good pedigree, will have come on a bundle for her debut and it’s nice that Clive Cox has let me keep the ride. I’ve also been booked to partner Highland Acclaim in the Wokingham on Saturday, should Sheikh Fahad not have any runners in the race.

So much to look forward to and although I might not be confident of riding a winner myself, hopefully we’ll get some great performances in the big races and one of my rides runs into a place!

HORSE TO FOLLOW: Lightning Spear

Unbeaten colt who has just sneaked into Wednesday’s Royal Hunt Cup with bottom weight. Has been working really well at home and looks very well weighted.