It’s been a busy few days with plenty of travelling. The journey up to Haydock on Friday was worthwhile riding a couple of winners. Mafia Power was an impressive winner of the 1m 2½ furlong handicap and finally showed us what we thought he was capable of. Hopefully he will build on that now he has got his head in front. As for Saturday’s action and Festive Star (pictured below) was really brave when carrying topweight in the fillies’ handicap. It was a muddling pace but she battled on to win and proved she’s a filly likely to step up in class now. Shine So Bright ran well again in the Hackwood Stakes finishing third again. He showed some good dash, but was drawn away from the action on the stands side. I’m back at Newbury again on Sunday for five more rides …
DREAMS UNWIND (1.05pm)
Only a small field for the opener where I ride Dreams Unwind for Mark Johnston on her racecourse debut. I don’t know too much about her as I’ve never ridden her, but I know that Mark will have her ready to do her job. None of these six fillies have run before so the fact that she comes from a yard who knows how to have them primed to do their job first time is an advantage. On paper there are a couple of well-bred types who look big dangers. Verbena is by Lethal Force out of Red Bloom and looks an exciting prospect.
WELL DONE FOX (2.15pm)
The return to a decent surface will definitely help Well Done Fox who left us scratching our heads a little after a disappointing run at Newmarket last time. We put that down to the ground so a sounder surface will hopefully see him in a much better light. If he can return to the form that saw him not beaten far behind Far Above on his reappearance, he is entitled to be competitive. It looks a wide-open race with William Haggas’ Nahaarr looking the obvious one.
MAHALE (2.50pm – Weatherbys Super Sprint)
A big field like you might expect for the Super Sprint where I ride Mahale for Mick Channon. She is a smart filly who was a good second at Windsor last time having found six furlongs probably stretched her a bit at Ascot. She is entitled to be bang there and I’m hoping she can run well. Whether she can beat the likes of Happy Romance and Get It remains to be seen, but we will give it a go. We are drawn close to those two leading contenders so hopefully we are drawn on the right side of the track.
FOX TAL (3.25pm – Steventon Stakes)
My best chance of a winner on the day would have to be Fox Tal who is looking to bounce back in the Steventon Stakes after a below par run at Royal Ascot. I’m hoping you can just put a line through that last run as he was so keen that day and threw his chance away by over-racing early – Ascot can sometimes do that to you. I know he’s a lot better than he showed that day and don’t forget he is still very lightly raced. The ground and trip look spot on for him and I’m hoping he will be tough to beat.
To finish the day, I ride another for Mark Johnston in Themaxwecan who carries topweight in the Marsh Cup over two miles. He is really solid and ran a cracker last time to finish fourth behind Fujaira Prince at Royal Ascot. The step up in trip should help him here and he should run well despite being higher in the handicap again. There are some smart types lurking at the foot of the weights so I guess its just whether he can give a stone and more to the likes of True Destiny. His stablemate Rochester House looks a threat too and gave me a nice feel at Ascot last time.