SILVESTRE DE SOUSA: Ascot Saturday
It’s been roasting hot this week and I love it! That’s my Brazilian blood talking as I grew up in the heat and prefer it to the freezing cold. On a serious note, it’s been tough riding in these conditions, but the racecourses do a brilliant job looking after the horses and the welfare of us jockeys too. There is plenty of water flying around and everyone is concentrating on staying cool and hydrated. When you ride a finish in these temperatures it’s like hugging an oven! Anyway, looking at the forecast, there are a few showers around this weekend, so things are hopefully set to cool off a little. I’m off to Ascot on Saturday where I’ve three nice rides to look forward to…
MISS CALCULATION (1.50pm – Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes)
My first ride of the day is in the Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes where I ride Miss Calculation for the first time. Rebecca Menzies’ filly won really nicely on her debut at Doncaster and deserves a crack at a pot like this. The ground was heavy that day and she meets some smart fillies on a very different surface so she will have to step up. System and Desert Dreamer set the bar pretty high and look sure to be in the mix.
FANTASTIC FOX (2.25pm – Porsche Handicap)
My best chance of a winner on the day is definitely Fantastic Fox, the first of my two rides for King Power, in the Porsche Handicap. Everything went wrong at Royal Ascot last time as he was far too keen over a trip that stretched him on soft ground. The drop back to a mile and return to a sound surface are big positives and a reproduction of his close third to Snow Lantern and Derab at Newbury in April will see him go close here.
SHINE SO BRIGHT (3.00pm – Moët & Chandon International Stakes)
I was thrilled with the way that Shine So Bright (pictured below) ran last time when fourth in the Bunbury Cup and I’m looking forward to riding him in the Moët & Chandon International Stakes. That was a big step forward at Newmarket and he enjoyed us trying something different with him. I will look to hold onto him again and hopefully play him late. We’ve been riding him plenty handy enough of late and he seemed to enjoy the change in tactics. Don’t forget he operated at a really high level a couple of seasons ago, so if he can return to that sort of form, he should go close here. Obviously, the favourite Motakhayyel will be hard to beat if in the same form he was in at Newmarket, but we will hopefully challenge him late on.
3.35pm – King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes
Only the six line up for the feature race of the day, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes including Cazoo Derby winner Adayar (pictured below) and the remarkable filly Love. It’s very hard to see beyond Aidan’s (O’Brien) filly who will love the step back up in trip on a decent surface. If the rains do come it brings Adayar and the likes of Wonderful Tonight and Lone Eagle into it, but they will need all the help they can get to beat Love.