I was a bit disappointed that Queen Power couldn’t get the job done at Salisbury on Thursday as it would have been nice to ride a winner for Sir Michael Stoute. He lost his partner Coral Pritchard-Gordon after a long battle with illness earlier this week and the whole of Newmarket is so sad for him.
She was such a lovely lady and myself, Vicky and the kids are all thinking of the family at such a difficult time.
I don’t think people realise what a big part of the team she was and she will be hugely missed.
I have seven booked rides to look forward to at Newbury where the big race of the day is the Hungerford Stakes which promises to be an emotional race if the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dream Of Dreams were to win.
It’s pretty special to have seven different rides for seven different trainers on Saturday – I consider myself very lucky to get the support from so many.
AL SAARIYAH (1.15pm)
My opening ride of the afternoon is Al Saariyah who is having her third start in the two-year-old fillies’ novice. I’ve never actually sat on her before, but she took a big step up from her debut at Leicester with a good run at Haydock last time. The Crisfords continue in good form and she should be involved if building on that again.
PRIDE OF AMERICA (2.25pm) NON RUNNER
A really competitive looking mile handicap where I partner the bottom weight Pride Of America for Harry Dunlop. He’s a lightly-raced three-year-old who seemed to relish the drop back in trip in France last time. This looks a lot tougher though, despite the fact he gets a fair bit of weight. The Hamdan-owned pair Jahbath and Afaak set the bar pretty high.
MORANDO (3.00pm – Geoffrey Freer Stakes)
The main reason I am at Newbury is to ride Morando for King Power racing in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes. He was just touched off in this 12 months ago and goes well at Newbury. There are plenty of thunderstorms forecast in the area and it’s a case of the more rain the better for him. Andrew (Balding) seems pretty happy with him since Ascot (pictured below) and I’m looking forward to riding him. It looks a tough race though with the likes of Alignak, Communique and some unexposed three-year-olds likely to make it hard work.
SURF DANCER (3.35pm – Hungerford Stakes)
It’s great to pick up a spare ride for the William Haggas team and Surf Dancer looks to have a real chance in the feature. He was really good over this trip at York last month and can hopefully build on that again. Being by Lope De Vega he should be fine on the ground too if the rain comes. It looks a decent renewal and there won’t be a dry eye in the house if Dream Of Dreams was to win for the Stoute team.
The second division of the fillies’ novice event where I ride Mezna on her debut for the Mark Johnston team. She’s a breeze-up filly so will likely know her job well for a stable who know how to prepare one for a debut. She’s another one with a decent chance.
MAFIA POWER (4.45pm)
Another ride for King Power racing as I’m back onboard Mafia Power in the 10-furlong handicap. If I’m honest, you can completely put a line through his disappointing run at Goodwood last time. We were always on a bad position and he was never balanced on the track. Hopefully the return to a more conventional course with a bit of cut in the ground should be ideal. I’m hoping he will bounce back here.
My final ride of the afternoon is Corazonada in the 12 furlong maiden. I don’t know too much about her other than the fact she made her debut behind the very promising Queen Daenerys at Newmarket last September. It looks a warm race though with the likes of Coconut and Solar Screen, but we will give it a go.