The final day of the July meeting, but while everyone flocks to Newmarket I’ll be heading in the opposite direction as I’m riding at Ascot on what is being billed as Super Saturday. The reason I’m heading there is to ride Beat The Bank for King Power in the Summer Mile. We came agonisingly close in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot last time and the ban that followed was the reason for my holiday to Brazil last week. Now I’m rested and refreshed, hopefully we can win this time. Here are my thoughts on all my Saturday rides…
STONE OF DESTINY 1.45pm
Another for King Power and Andrew Balding. Stone Of Destiny actually ran a lot better in the Wokingham than his finishing position suggests and he wasn’t beaten that far. He seems to go well at Ascot as he showed when fourth in the Commonwealth Cup last year. The drop back to five furlongs shouldn’t inconvenience and I’m hoping he can go well. It looks a really wide-open race with the Wokingham runner-up Tis Marvellous looking the obvious one.
BERKSHIRE ROCCO 2.15pm
I don’t know too much about Berkshire Rocco who makes his debut for Andrew Balding. It’s still very early on in the season for the yard’s two-year-olds so it will be interesting to see how this son of Sir Percy gets on. Kingbrook and Manigordo both ran well on their debuts and set the bar quite high.
MODERN MILLIE 2.50pm
A competitive looking fillies’ handicap where I ride Modern Millie for Mick Channon. I’ve never ridden her before, but she could get involved if reproducing her good third to Muchly here back in May. She finished mid-pack in the Sandringham here at the Royal meeting and was well put in her place in a Listed race at Sandown last weekend. The handicapper has dropped her a few pounds in recent months, but she will need to step up to trouble the likes of Fabulist and Loolwah.
I’m looking forward to getting on Artarmon in the staying handicap as he left his two previous runs well behind with a really good win at Kempton last time. He was in great form over this trip on turf last summer so I’m hoping he can go well again. He is up to a mark of 90 again which makes life tougher and meets some talented stayers here.
BEAT THE BANK 4.00pm (Summer Mile)
As I said at the beginning, the reason I am at Ascot is to ride Beat The Bank in the Summer Mile which he won last season. It will be a little tougher this year as he has to shoulder a 3lb penalty but is in good form and we know he likes Ascot. He bounced back to form in the Queen Anne last time and will go very close if in the same mood. Obviously, Sir Michael Stoute’s Zaaki looks a big danger as he is improving with every run, but this requires another big step up. Hopefully we should take all the beating.
PERSIAN MOON 4.35pm
Next up I ride top weight Persian Moon for Mark Johnston on the back of a hell of a run when fourth in the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot. He has only been nudged up 1lb for that effort but does have topweight here. There are only the eight runners, but there look plenty of dangers lurking below. Mind The Crack and Faylaq could be the two to give us most to think about.
RUX RUXX 5.10pm
My final ride of the afternoon is Rux Ruxx who is bidding to land the hat-trick for Tim Easterby after wins at Carlisle and Catterick. I am yet to ride her, but she seems in great form and will hopefully go close in a race like this. She is 4lbs higher than her latest start but hopefully that won’t stop her.
July Cup (4.40pm Newmarket)
Finally, I am not at Newmarket and will be riding Persian Moon during the July Cup itself so will hopefully grab a glimpse of the replay post-race. It looks a really intriguing match-up between Advertise and Dream Of Dreams on paper. However, look out for Roger Varian’s Cape Byron who was a really good winner of the Wokingham last time. He is really establishing himself as a top sprinter now and it would be no surprise to see him go close.
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