I’ve literally just got back from four days in the Algarve – all part of the recuperation process! The whole family came out with me and it was lovely to have some time in the sunshine with them. I managed to spend a fair bit of time in the pool and the jacuzzi, so the recovery programme is still on track – we are getting there! I have to admit it’s still a little sore sometimes but it’s getting stronger every day and I still hope to be back in the saddle again in 10 days… that’s the plan anyway. After four days of delicious food I now weigh 8st 7lbs so there is a little work to do on that front too!
There is some good racing at Newbury on Saturday and with the King Power trio of Pivoine, Mystery Power and Johnny Drama all declared to run, that’s where I’d have been headed if I was fit to ride. Here are my thoughts on their respective chances…
2.20pm (Legacy Cup)
Only four runners take on Pivoine here in a really competitive looking race. I rode him two starts back when we got trapped a little wide when fifth in the Grade One Arlington Million and he’s in an easier race here. He won the John Smith’s Cup on quick ground on his start before that so the conditions should be fine. In fact, this 1m3f trip looks ideal too, so it would be no surprise to see him run much better than his odds suggest. Obviously, the likes of Desert Encounter and Pondus will be hard to beat, but I reckon Pivoine won’t be far away.
2.55pm (Mill Reef Stakes)
Things just didn’t go right for Mystery Power up against Pinatubo in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last time. The gaps didn’t open at the right time and I’m not sure the track suited him either. He is better judged on his win in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket on his previous start and he is definitely an exciting colt. I suppose the big question is whether he is up to carrying a 3lb penalty for that win against some useful colts. He is smart though and should still take all the beating.
3.30pm (Dubai Duty Free Handicap)
I was as surprised as most people to see Forest Of Dean declared for this as I’d assumed he would be heading straight to the Cambridgeshire. He was too good for Johnny Drama at York last time and there shouldn’t be too much between them this time on 7lbs better terms. That was a much better run from Johnny Drama and he can step forward again. However, he will have to stop Forest Of Dean who looks really useful.
3.50pm (Ayr Gold Cup)
Stone Of Destiny flies the flag for Andrew Balding and King Power Racing in the Ayr Gold Cup. He’s only a couple of pounds higher at the weights than when he won at Ascot at the Shergar Cup meeting, but this is over six furlongs rather than five. He’s never run at Ayr before and if everything drops right, he could hit the frame. There looks sure to be a strong pace for him to run at and hopefully he can go well. Irish raider Buffer Zone deserves to be favourite on the back of a good run in Ireland last Sunday and should be hard to beat.
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