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Hopefully we’ll be in Gold Medal contention come the finishing line

18 Aug 2016

It’s amazing how time flies when you’re busy and I can hardly believe we’re on the verge of Day 3 of the Ebor Festival.

It’s been a little hit and miss for me so far with Imperial Aviator not seeing out the trip in the Great Voltiguer being a particular disappointment but tomorrow is another day and I’ve got four rides to hopefully get me into the winners’ enclosure.

My first mount sees me get back on the bus that is Pallasator. He ran an absolute cracker to finish second in the Qatar Goodwood Cup for me last time out but annoyingly ran into an inspired Big Orange.

I spoke to Sir Mark Prescott last week and he tells me that Pallasator is in good order and that, despite his mad antics on the gallops, his work rider Rosie Jessop is very happy with him.

If our pre-race routine goes to plan and we manage to keep a lid on him on the way to the start, then I’m very hopeful that we’ll be in gold medal contention come the finishing line.

After the marathon I get the leg up on Dream Dubai, trained by Sylvester Kirk and owned by a sponsor of mine Mr Malih L Al Basti.  He’s rated very highly by the yard but hasn’t quite been able to translate his gallops form to the track.

My gut tells me he’ll be better when there’s a little dig in the ground so I think he’ll improve as the season progresses. He’s one to keep an eye on for the future but tomorrow’s race may be on the sharp side.

Then the biggie, the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, where I get aboard old-timer Pearl Secret.

He’s been on the circuit for ages and although his best runs were quite some time ago, he is a former Group Two winner and deserves to have his place in the field.

I encountered a few traffic problems last time at Goodwood and he actually ran on really well to finish seventh in the King George. He’s a bit of an enigma though in that he always seems to run on well when he has no luck in running, but then when he stays clear of trouble he doesn’t seem to find as much! Either way, I’ll look to drop him in and aim to challenge late on.

At the top of the market I can’t help but get excited by Limato dropping down to five furlongs. He has so much class and I think his proven ability over longer distances could actually play to his strengths.

Even in a sprint the horses tire towards the finish and the final furlong is always the slowest. They’ll undoubtedly go hell for leather over the first four tomorrow and Limato, provided he gets a clear passage, could just scoot past tiring horses under Harry Bentley.

The other big danger is Mark Johnston’s speedy two-year-old Yalta. He’s carrying a staggering 24lbs less than the likes of Limato and that could well be too much of an advantage for others to overcome.

Following the mad dash I get on Dance Teacher in the maiden. She’s by Lope De Vega so the more rain that comes tomorrow the better. She finished a close second on debut at Salisbury on soft ground and learnt a lot in defeat that day. She’s a nice filly and Ralph Beckett thinks a lot of her but there are question marks on how she’ll react to the quicker ground.

I’ll be at Sandown on Saturday but can’t keep my eyes off the Betfred Ebor Handicap, having had the joy of landing last year’s renewal on Litigant. Of this year’s crop I think Ivan Grozny looks like the proverbial group horse in the handicap. He didn’t look happy at all in his last run at Galway but still came through to win with ease. If the rain comes then I think he’s going to be very tough to beat.

Another horse that jumps out of the card is Emperor Napoleon for Andrew Balding in the Melrose Handicap. I’ve been riding him at home and I think he’ll put in a bold show at chunky odds.

At Sandown the highlights for me will be South Seas in the Solario Stakes and Blonde Me in the Atalanta Stakes.

South Seas is unbeaten and very highly regarded but this will undoubtedly be a much stiffer test than anything he’s faced before. He’s also by Lope De Vega so I’m praying that there’ll be a little rain as anything firmer than good may not play to his strengths. The Frankel colt Majoris won very impressively at Newmarket last time out and has to be respected but we have a nice draw and I’m excited to see how much our lad comes forward from his las run. He could be anything and we’ll know how lofty our future targets come Saturday evening.

Blonde Me was last seen running below par at Ascot but it has since come to light that she had hormonal issues that day which have now been put right. With that sorted I expect her to improve greatly.

Horse to follow – For the Roses

Ran well for a long way last time at Nottingham. I feel she’ll improve no end as time goes on.