I really look forward to riding at Goodwood and there is plenty to look forward to this week. It’s a really special five days with a lovely relaxed atmosphere and some top-quality racing too. One of the reasons I signed as retained jockey for King Power Racing was to get the chance to ride quality horses in the top races and that’s very much the case looking at the entries this week. I ride four lovely horses for them on the opening day alone. Here are my thoughts on my chances on day one…
JOHNNY DRAMA 1.50pm
My opening ride of the meeting is aboard Johnny Drama in the King Power blue and white colours. He has his first run for Andrew Balding here as he was previously trained in Ireland by Ger Lyons. He shaped like he didn’t stay the 1m 4f at Royal Ascot last time so the drop back in trip should suit him. He breaks from stall one, so we have the chance to get out and try and hold a prominent position. There are certainly grounds to be optimistic although Godolphin’s Setting Sail will probably be hard to beat.
MYSTERY POWER 2.25pm (Vintage Stakes)
The first big two-year-old race of the week and despite the fact that there are only the seven runners, it looks a really hot renewal. Pinatubo and Lope Y Fernandez, the first two home in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot set a really good standard. Visinari has a huge reputation and, even though he got beaten last time, he is bound to build on that with the step up in distance likely to suit. I ride Mystery Power who is unbeaten in two racecourse appearances including a win in the Superlative Stakes last time. I know Richard Hannon likes him a lot and the yard have had enough good two-year-olds to know a good one when they get it. I’m hoping he will run really well against some talented colts.
DONJUAN TRIUMPHANT 3.00pm (Lennox Stakes)
There doesn’t appear to be too much rain around which isn’t ideal for Donjuan Triumphant. Having said that, it was similar ground when he was fourth in this 12 months ago, so he shouldn’t be too far away. There shouldn’t be a lot between the likes of Hey Gaman, Space Traveller, Zaaki and Sir Dancealot on ratings and it promises to be a really good race. We definitely have a squeak at a big price.
DEE EX BEE 3.35pm (Goodwood Cup)
The big race of the opening day sees the first, second and fourth home in last month’s Ascot Gold Cup lock horns again. Stradivarius who won that day (and this 12 months ago) is obviously the one we all have to beat. I partner Dee Ex Bee who finished a gallant second at Ascot. Despite the fact that he races lazily, he has a tremendous attitude and never stops giving. That will stand him in good stead once again and he will be tough to get past as always. I’m hopeful of another good run but reckon that Cross Counter will get a lot closer this time. He beat us over 1m 4f here last season and will be suited by the combination of better ground and the drop back in trip.
GOOD JOB POWER 4.10pm
I rode Good Job Power on his first start for Richard Hannon at Haydock a few weeks ago. He showed plenty of promise that day and is bound to step up from that now with that run under his belt. The better ground should help him a bit too so there is no reason to think he won’t be competitive. I’m also pleased with the draw so hope he can go well.
My final ride of the afternoon is Maygold for Ed Walker in the penultimate race of the day. She sneaks in at the foot of the weights and is 8lbs higher than when she won at Salisbury when last seen in action. There are a few old favourites at the top of the weights including the likes of Muthmir and A Momentofmadness, but my filly gets plenty of weight from them. I’m happy with a reasonably high draw and hope she will go well. I notice Boom The Groom has even less weight in the saddle than us and he can go well despite his age.
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