Welcome to my first blog as a Star Sports ambassador and I am thrilled to be back riding in the UK after a fantastic Winter stint in Hong Kong. The season has just got started and I am honoured to be the retained rider for King Power Racing. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was a great supporter of our sport and I am so sorry he is not around to see his horses reach their potential – I hope to do him proud!
I will write a weekly blog every Friday of the season detailing my thoughts on my rides as well as covering all the big meetings. So, let’s kick things off with Chester and its May meeting which gets under way on Wednesday. I will be riding there for the first two days for sure, but then it looks like I will be at Ascot on Friday.
Plenty is written and said about the importance of the draw at different meetings – people are still talking about whether or not there was a draw bias at Newmarket on Saturday. Well, one thing for certain is that there isn’t a track in the land where the draw is as important as Chester and a low one is essential. It reminds me of Happy Valley in Hong Kong as getting out and holding a position is crucial.
Here are my thoughts on my four rides on the opening day and also on the Chester Vase, which I will be watching from the weighing room unfortunately. There is plenty of rain forecast to hit the track so that could change things quite considerably…
STARLIGHT RED (2.25pm Chester – Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks)
My first ride of the meeting is for Charlie Hills and is a twice-raced filly called Starlight Red. She hasn’t set the world alight in two starts on the all-weather to date, but her stable do well at this meeting and she must be showing something to be pitched in at the deep end here. It is hard to be confident in a race like this but there are grounds for optimism despite her terrible draw in stall 12. Looking at the race, I guess Ralph’s (Beckett) filly Manuela De Vega is the one we all have to beat, despite her penalty. Then there is also Aidan O’Brien’s Secret Thoughts and John Gosden’s two fillies Fanny Logan and Mehdaayih.
YOLO AGAIN (3.00pm Chester – Boodles Diamond Handicap)
I’ve been luckier with the draw with my second ride Yolo Again for Roger Fell who will break from stall three. She is only 1lb higher than when winning at Wolverhampton in January, but this will require more. Top Breeze and Leodis Dream set the bar pretty high, but we will try and make our draw count.
3.35pm Chester – MBNA Chester Vase
No ride for me in the feature and, I suppose, looking at their recent record that you have to concentrate on the Aidan O’Brien runners. Ryan’s (Moore) ride Norway is obviously respected, but I’ve got a feeling that Gentile Bellini could run well. He won his maiden in good style from the front last time and might just take some pegging back. If the rain does come, then the home team have a strong chance with King Ottakar who looked well above average at Newbury last time.
KINKS (4.35pm Chester – Homeserve Handicap)
Kinks was a bit disappointing when I rode him at Pontefract on his reappearance but showed much more signs of life at Doncaster last time. Those two starts will have put him spot on for this, but his draw in stall 11 is a negative. We will just need a little bit of luck, but he is more than capable of getting involved if the gaps open. Franny Norton rides Chester well and is definitely respected on Chapelli breaking from stall two.
DARK INTENTION (5.05pm Chester – HR Owen Maserati Handicap)
My final ride of the day is aboard Dark Intention who has winning form at the track which is always a huge plus. That win came last September off just a 1lb lower mark on soft ground, so the more rain the better for her. She appeared to run a lot better than her finishing position suggests at Newmarket when last seen in action in November and I’m hoping she can go well from a good draw.
If you have a question for Silvestre drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try and include in the next blog…