It was a good night at the office at Sandown yesterday winning two of the three big races. Flippa The Strippa was a really nice surprise in the National Stakes and she did really well to beat the boys despite being a bit green. She definitely deserves a crack at a race like the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot now. As for Dee Ex Bee, he was brilliant when winning the Henry II Stakes and he will also now head to Ascot. The step up in trip seems to have been the key to him and the extra half mile of the Gold Cup may well seem him in an even better light. He is becoming really tough and despite being a bit lazy he is hard to get past at the business end of a race. As for Saturday’s racing, there is good stuff all over the country and my retainer with King Power sends me to Chester. Here are my thoughts on my five rides there and the Irish 2000 Guineas…
HERO HERO 1.45pm Chester
My main reason for heading to Chester is to partner Hero Hero for Andrew Balding and King Power as he attempts to make it third time lucky. He was a bit disappointing when beaten at Chelmsford last time but the step up in trip will hopefully help him here. The draw in stall four is another positive and I’d have high hopes of him breaking his maiden tag here. Looking at the opposition and I probably have most to fear from Roger Varian’s Bardo Contigua who made a nice debut on the all-weather earlier in the month.
KEY TO POWER 2.20pm
Mark Johnston’s filly Key To Power takes her chance in the next and has been very consistent in her last six races without winning. The ground was very firm at Bath last time and the handicapper has dropped her a couple of pounds too. There are some smart fillies in here though and it won’t be easy beating the likes of Wedding Date and Society Queen.
MASHAM STAR 2.55pm
The big race on the card is the valuable 7½ furlong handicap where I ride Masham Star, again for Mark Johnston. He has been busy again this season with three runs already this month but takes his racing well as he showed when third at Newbury last weekend. If he can repeat that effort off the same mark, he is entitled to go close. However, the draw in stall 11 make things a lot harder.
SUPER KID 3.30pm
I’ve not yet ridden Super Kid who I ride in the next for Tim Easterby. Looking back at his form, he was a good second here to Twin Star last September off an 11lb higher mark, so he is entitled to be there or thereabouts if repeating those efforts. He shaped better at Thirsk last time and I’m hoping that the combination of a tongue tie and first time cheekpieces will see him bounce back.
RAFFLE PRIZE 4.05pm
With everything set in her favour, I’m hoping that Raffle Prize will take plenty of catching. She made a really pleasing debut from the front at Newmarket last weekend and has the ideal draw in stall one here. It will definitely be a case of ‘catch me if you can’ and hopefully none of her rivals will be up to catching her. She is definitely my best chance of a winner.
CHAI CHAI 4.40pm
I end the afternoon with another ride for King Power, this time for Tom Dascombe. Chai Chai has his first start for his new stable having left Andrew Balding and has had a wind op. The fact that he also wears a tongue-tie for the first time and is drawn well are other positives. I guess it’s just a case of whether he is up to taking on some decent race-fit rivals.
Irish 2000 Guineas (3.35pm Curragh)
Just a word on the eagerly awaited clash between Magna Grecia and Too Darn Hot (pictured) in the Irish 2000 Guineas. As much as I respect the former, who won well at Newmarket, I think Too Darn Hot will be hard to beat. He wasn’t knocked about by Frankie when his stamina gave away in the Dante at York and if he can repeat some of his two-year-old form he will take some stopping. Gosden has his team firing and they wouldn’t be travelling him if they had any concerns.
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