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Dashing down for day one at Goodwood

29 Jul 2019

All the talk this week will quite rightly be focused on the Qatar Goodwood Festival starting on Tuesday – and what a week it’s shaping up to be. However, I must start by adding to the mountain of praise for one very special horse – Enable. To put it simply she is a superstar. You could hear from the atmosphere at Ascot how popular she is, and how much the public enjoyed seeing her win. We all must appreciate just how good she is, and hopefully she will go on and win an incredible third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

This week I’m really looking forward to riding at the beautiful Goodwood racecourse. The Qatar Goodwood Festival is a little like Royal Ascot for the jockeys, you’re keen to get a winner on the board and anything after that is a bonus. It’s a very unique track that doesn’t suit everyone, but I’ve been lucky in the past, most recently with the likes of Lightning Spear, and I can’t wait to see what this year holds.

Tomorrow’s Champions Series race is the Qatar Goodwood Cup and I ride Royal Ascot winner Dashing Willoughby. He’s a three year old so receives a kind amount of weight-for-age here, which is particularly useful at this distance range. He’s getting 15lbs from the likes Stradivarius , who was the last horse to win this race at that age. I’m really looking forward to Dashing Willoughby’s chances and any rain between now and the race would be a massive help.  He’s still learning and progressing as you would expect, and I’m sure he can run a good race against a lot of talented rivals.

Stradivarius is the obvious one here having shown himself to be a stayer of the highest order time and again. He’s the best around at the minute who they all have to beat. Cross Counter is a Melbourne Cup winner with a huge amount of talent also. You then have Dee Ex Bee who has progressed a huge amount and will run his usual tough race. I also wouldn’t count out Wells Farrh Go, as I thought he won very well on his seasonal debut.

It’s a very good line-up for Tuesday’s feature and one to get excited about.

Tactics wise I’d say Dee Ex Bee will once again be ridden forward, and I’d imagine Cross Counter will be ridden closer to the pace than he was in the Ascot Gold Cup. I’ll be happy to ride Dashing Willoughby where he’s comfortable, and I imagine that’ll be close to the pace as well.

The Qatar Vintage Stakes is pretty, well, vintage this year! Some really promising sorts have lined up for this Group 2. I ride the lovely Platinum Star who is by Lope De Vega. He ran a career best last time out at Newmarket – just beaten by a short head in the July Stakes. He’ll have his work cut out to beat Pinatubo who has been the standout two-year-old this year, looking incredibly progressive when winning at Royal Ascot.

Before then Soto Sizzler gets my 2019 Goodwood campaign underway in the opening Unibet Handicap. He’s coming back in distance for this, and has a very fair mark. The ground won’t be a problem for him and he’s improved for every run this year. So I’m pretty positive on a big run.

Lost In Time (4.10pm) needs to come forward from his latest run at Chelmsford, having run a little green for my liking. If he has matured a little then I think he’ll run well it what looks a typically good Goodwood maiden.

I know Dark Shot (4.45pm) from my time at Andrew Balding’s. He’s a bonny little fella whose run the other day was really good. The track will suit him  and he gets in off a nice light weight, so should be going well in this.