I’m very lucky to be the number one retained rider for King Power racing but sometimes it means I have to make tough decisions. There is probably no better example of that than this Saturday where I could have headed to York for the John Smith’s Cup, but instead head to Newbury. King Power have both Pivoine and Good Birthday in that feature race and both have leading chances. However, I’ve decided to head to Newbury again where I ride Shine So Bright in the Hackwood Stakes and an exciting two-year-old in Longlai. Whether that is the right decision or not, only time will tell. The key is that King Power get the success they deserve and if someone else is doing the steering, I’ll be cheering on from afar.
I’ve been given some nice feedback about the Zoom Room we have been doing and we will be back with that next week ahead of the King George at Ascot, then throughout the following week for Goodwood.
Anyway, onto my seven rides at Newbury…
I kick-off in the opening fillies’ novice event aboard Rudaina for in-form Amy Murphy. She made her debut just before Christmas last year when fourth behind Disco Fever at Lingfield. That was a promising start to her racing career, but she jumps into the deep end a little here. The Haggas and Varian teams are both well represented here and there look a few smart fillies in this one. We will give it our best shot though.
Next up and I’m really looking forward to sitting on Longlai who chased home the impressive Seventh Kingdom on his debut. He was a little wayward that day hanging right under pressure and we are hoping that was just down to greenness. He should take a big step forward here and looks a nice prospect. There are a whole host of well-bred newcomers in here so you never know what you are up against.
KRAKEN POWER (2.15pm)
There aren’t many horses in training with the word ‘Power’ in their name who aren’t owned by King Power, but I’m riding one of them! Kraken Power was an impressive winner for the shrewd Iain Jardine at Hamilton and it is interesting that he travels south for this. I’m looking forward to the ride with Martyn Meade’s Method looking the obvious one.
FESTIVE STAR (2.50pm)
Only the five runners for the fillies’ handicap where I ride Festive Star for the Crisfords. I haven’t ridden her since she won at Yarmouth last summer and she may just have needed her reappearance run at Windsor last month. The handicapper has dropped her 1lb for that but she still has a pretty tough task at the weights. That said, she is top weight for a reason and hopefully her quality can pull her through.
SHINE SO BRIGHT (4.00pm- Hackwood Stakes)
The feature race of the day at Newbury is the hotly contested Hackwood Stakes. I’m hoping the rain stays away for Shine So Bright who looks to be running back into a little form. He was much better at Epsom last time and if he reappears in that same form he will be very competitive. This won’t be easy though with the likes of Judicial and Repartee looking obvious dangers.
SIR PLATO (4.30pm)
I’m delighted to have picked up the ride on hat-trick seeking Sir Plato in the penultimate race. This will be my first time on him as Tom Marquand has ridden him for his last two successes. He’s up another 9lbs for his Chepstow success, but comes here in great form and should be bang there.
Finally, I don’t know too much about Dawry who I ride in the last. He’s been avoiding fast ground of late, so hopefully conditions won’t be too quick for him. He had some bits and pieces of form for Dermot Weld in Ireland so isn’t totally discounted despite being a maiden.
Finally a quick word on the big race in Ireland at the Curragh:
Juddmonte Irish Oaks 7.15 Curragh
The fact that Love misses the Irish Oaks makes the race look a little more interesting. Jessica Harrington’s Cayenne Pepper looks the quality filly – she chased home Magical last time and was good last year but the trip is a bit of an unknown. Aidan O’Brien saddles four runners, half of the field and all sired by Galileo. His Ennistymon was second in the Oaks but look out too for his Snow who was impressive in a Group 3 and is climbing the ranks fast. She may be the one to give Cayenne Pepper the most to think about.