It was great to be able to spend a bit of time at the Sales in Newmarket on Thursday where the prices held up really well. I know that King Power Racing bought a few and I’m looking forward to having a good read through their purchases over the weekend. Everyone is trying to find that future champion, one good enough to run in a race like Saturday’s Dewhurst Stakes. Sadly, I won’t be at Newmarket as my retainer with King Power means I will be up at York riding three for them. Here are my thoughts on those rides as well as the big races at Newmarket…
YORK / NEWMARKET
SANDBECK – York 2.02pm (Rockingham Stakes)
First up I ride Sandbeck on only her second start for Tim Fitzgerald in the Rockingham Stakes. She won at Carlisle on her debut last month and takes a giant step up in class here. I guess the positive is she made a winning start and connections feels she is worth a crack at a race like this. On paper it looks a huge task against colts like Ever Given and Alataibi, but we will give it a good go.
GOOD BIRTHDAY – York 2.37pm
My first ride for King Power comes in the next where I partner Good Birthday (pictured below) for Andrew Balding. He’s got some really solid form at the track and is only a pound higher than when winning at Doncaster back in July. If they go too hard, they could easily set it up for a closer like him. However, if Bay Bridge is in the same form as he was in when last seen in action at Newbury in May, he will take some stopping despite the huge hike in the weights.
2.55pm Newmarket – Darley Dewhurst Stakes
I’ll be keen to watch the Dewhurst from the weighing room at York and see how the unbeaten Native Trail gets on at the track. He has looked a really top-class prospect in all three starts to date, but the dip and undulations here present a very different test. The recent rain will help him a little and I will be surprised if he doesn’t make it four out of four. Bayside Boy might be the one to give him most to think about.
3.35pm Newmarket – Cesarewitch Handicap
I’ve been lucky enough to have won the Cesarewitch three times in recent years and it’s a shame I won’t be there this year as its one of my favourite races. I hear so much written and said about the importance of the draw in races like this, but I find the quality of the ride much more important. It makes very little difference where you are drawn if you are on a horse that doesn’t stay or won’t handle the conditions. You have plenty of time to sort yourself out before the first bend anyway. I prefer to be drawn in the middle as you are not involved in the early scrimmaging to hold a good early pitch and not panicking that you are stuck out wide. I think the topweight Withold will run a huge race and he is better off with Calling The Wind on their Goodwood run. Another I’d give a squeak too is Scaramanga who I won on at Newbury two starts back. He just didn’t fire at York and could easily bounce right back.
BURIRAM – York 4.25pm
I’m looking forward to getting back on Buriram in the two mile handicap and I will be hoping they go a real good clip. He has been hard to settle in his races so the faster they go, the more likely it is he will travel into the race. As long as he isn’t too keen, he should be competitive off this mark.
POSSIBLE MAN – York 5.00pm
My final ride of the afternoon is another for King Power and Possible Man will be hoping that conditions dry out a little. I think this 10 furlong trip is definitely his distance, I’d just like the surface to be a little sounder. He was really good at Nottingham back in July and again enjoyed decent conditions at Pontefract back in August. This looks a competitive race with the likes of both Spirit Dancer and Lucander catching the eye.