Delighted to have a winner on 2000 Guineas day with Chil Chil for Andrew (Balding) who really stepped up from her second at the course last month on her reappearance (pictured below). She picked up lovely for me in the closing stages and really enjoyed herself.
On Sunday it’s 1000 Guineas day at Newmarket and it will be lovely to wake up from home on Sunday morning. I’m normally up at around 5am most days to ride work but Sundays are a little bit quieter and I’ll aim to get up around 7am. We have some in-built alarm clocks in the shape of the kids so there won’t be much of a lie-in but it’s really nice for me as a jockey to have some time at home on a Sunday morning before travelling. It means I can have breakfast with the kids and some switch off time to think about things other than racing. I can then make the short journey to the track with a clear mind.
There hasn’t been much rain in Newmarket and little is forecast but despite the efforts of the clerk of the course to water, it looks like being quick ground again. I always think it’s best to have decent quick ground than it is to have testing at this time of the year.
I’ve got some nice rides to look forward to on Sunday, thoughts below and of course on the 1000 Guineas in which I don’t have a ride this year.
I’ve also recorded a Zoom Room with Bill chatting about the big race. CLICK HERE TO WATCH.
1.50pm RODRIGO DIAZ
My first ride of the afternoon is Rodrigo Diaz for David Simcock in the mile and a half handicap. This is a horse I don’t know too much about but he was in good form when we last saw him rattling up a hat-trick on the all-weather. As a result, his mark has risen dramatically and he is in at the deeper end here. He’s got a nice racing weight of 8-3 in a small field and if he can convert his all-weather form to the turf he will hopefully be competitive. The obvious one looks to be Mark Johnston’s Zabeel Champion who has been in great form this season and is loving his racing at the moment.
3.00pm QUEEN POWER (Betfair Dahlia Stakes Group 2)
My best chance of a winner on the day has to be Queen Power (pictured below) for King Power Racing and Sir Michael Stoute in the Dahlia Stakes. She finished second to Terebellum in this race last year which was a great run considering that one went on to finish a close second at Royal Ascot. She’s one that Sir Michael Stoute has always thought the world of. She’s the apple of his eye and he’s a master of giving these mares time. She’s another year older and hopefully stronger. I haven’t sat on her recently but by all accounts she seems in really good form and I’m hoping of a bold show with conditions all in her favour.
3.40pm Qipco 1000 Guineas Stakes (Group 1)
No ride for me this year but it’s a race of real interest with all eyes on the once-raced filly of Aidan O’Brien’s Santa Barbara. She has very much been the talking horse of this year’s race and the stable have so many good horses that it’s unlikely that she isn’t a potential superstar. But it’s still a tough task for a once-raced maiden winner to jump into a Group 1 let alone a classic and she’ll have to be every bit as good as they say she is if she is to win here. But of course if any yard can do it, Aidan O’Brien certainly can. However I still think the one to beat could be Alcohol Free who Oisin Murphy rides for Andrew (Balding). I was taken with the way she won the Fred Darling at Newbury and by all accounts she is taking quite a long time to come into her coat, so there is likely to be plenty of improvement to come. There is a question mark over whether she will stay this extra trip but if she does she will be a danger to all. Looking at the others you can make a case out for plenty and I expect Statement to run well at a big price for Martyn Meade. She gave Alcohol Free plenty to think about at Newbury.
4.15pm WAR OF COURAGE
It’s the turn of the two-year-olds where I am riding War Of Courage for Alice Haynes. He’s set to make a quick reappearance after a debut third of four at Ascot on Wednesday. He’s a nice type and would have learned plenty from that run. I’ve ridden work upsides him so I know he has ability but it’s just whether he can show it in a race like this so soon after his first start.