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Hoping Lightning strikes at Glorious Goodwood

26 Jul 2016

Lightning Spear

Summer weather has arrived and I’m thrilled that the rain has stopped and we  finally have some good summer ground to race on at the Qatar Festival at Goodwood

Goodwood is such a gorgeous track to ride at and it presents a very unique test to both horse and jockey. A lot is said about how much of a challenge the track is but in my opinion it totally depends on what trip you’re running over.

The sprint races on the straight course are not overly tricky to ride as it’s a fairly level track but the round course is a whole different ball game. You spend much of the circuit on a very noticeable camber which some horses struggle to get to grips with and, because of it, you’ll often see horses stacked up on the rail turning for home. At that point your best laid plans could have gone out of the window and you find yourself praying for a little good fortune and a gap to open up. I have no doubt there’ll be plenty of hard luck stories throughout the week, I just hope I’m not on board any of them!

Tomorrow I kick off on the good-looking Goldmember in the Gordon Stakes. He ran creditably at big odds when stepped up in class last time out at Newmarket. I rate him as a nice staying type for the future but I do fear this trip may just be a little on the short side for him, especially with the ground riding on the quick side of good. We know he stays further than a mile so I’ll be hoping they go a good gallop from start to finish to bring that into play as much as possible.

The highlight of tomorrow though will undoubtedly be getting the chance to sit on Lightning Spear in the Qatar Sussex Stakes. He ran an absolute blinder to finish a close third to Tepin in the Queen Anne and I’m expecting him to put in a big run again tomorrow. He’ll love the faster conditions and if he improves for his Queen Anne run, which I think he will, then that places him as the principal challenger to the three Guineas winners in the race.

We realise it’s a big ask to concede eight pounds to the three classic winners but they certainly aren’t bulletproof and I think we’re in with a big chance if we get the strong race pace that Goodwood so often throws up. He wasn’t stopping at the line on soft ground at Ascot so we’d relish it if it turned into more of a stamina test.

Once the dust settles from the Sussex Stakes my attentions will turn to Thursday and my feature ride on Pallasator in the Qatar Goodwood Cup. It’s been well documented that he’s not the most straightforward of rides but one thing is for certain, he definitely has the class to win a race like this. The forecast rain will help as he won’t want the ground too firm and if we can keep him out of any barging matches in midfield then he should be there or thereabouts at the business end of the race.

As far as tactics go I leave that entirely to the better judgement of Sir Mark Prescott; there are very few trainers that can compete with his level of experience and know-how so I’ll do well to take as many of his words on board as I can.

After the feature race I ride Sun Angel in the Maiden Fillies race. On the basis of her only previous run she’ll need to improve a great deal to feature; but Henry Candy wouldn’t have put her in if he didn’t think she had scope for improvement so I’ll be intrigued to see how much she’s come on from her racecourse debut.

To finish the day, I get the leg up on Just Glamorous in the closing sprint handicap. He’s carrying a six-pound penalty for his win last time out at York and so will need to improve again. He’s a solid front running type which will allow me to keep things nice and simple. The quick ground will suit him and the sharp five furlong course at Goodwood should play right to his strengths as I got the impression he was tiring a little in the closing stages at York.

HORSE TO FOLLOW: Able Jack – He’s shown bundles of ability at home and the head gear proved a masterstroke last time when David Probert won on him at Sandown. Now that we’ve found the key to him I expect to see him in the Winners’ Enclosure again this season.