Without sounding like a scratched record, this weekend is another case of not being able to be in two places at the same time. I will be riding at Newmarket on Saturday but could have easily headed up to Haydock where Fox Tal takes his chance in the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes.
The beauty of being the retained rider for King Power racing is you get to sit on some quality horses. However, they tend to run all over the country which often means I can’t ride them all. We felt it best that I stay in Newmarket as I can ride three King Power-owned runners there. From a purely selfish point of view, that is a result for me personally as it means I won’t be stuck in the car all day! It also means I can have a bit of family time on Saturday morning after riding out. Although I am sure my wife Vicky is already drawing up a list of chores for me to complete before heading to the racecourse at lunchtime…
ARION FOX (1.40pm)
My first ride of the day is the King Power-owned newcomer Arion Fox, a daughter of Kingman. I have yet to sit on her but hear she has been doing everything well at home. Roger (Varian) and the team have done plenty with her and she makes her debut in what looks a pretty hot race. She is entitled to improve plenty for the experience, and it will be exciting to see how she gets on. All the big yards are represented here and this race will definitely throw up plenty of future winners.
Next up I ride Myboymax for the first time in the seller. I’ve never ridden him before and this is only the fifth start of his career. For whatever reason he hasn’t built on his second place at Chepstow back in June and if he can return to that sort of form he should be competitive in a race like this.
DUBAI FOUNTAIN (3.20pm – Sweet Solera Stakes)
The feature race of the afternoon is the Group Three Sweet Solera Stakes for two-year-old fillies where I ride Dubai Fountain for Mark Johnston. She was a good second at Sandown last time and has plenty of experience for a race like this. The obvious one looks to be Richard Hannon’s Fly Miss Helen who looked really good on her recent racecourse debut at Newbury. She will obviously have to step up to win a race like this, but she looked pretty smart last time.
FOX CHAMPION (4.00pm)
Things haven’t really gone to plan for Fox Champion this season and he looks to get back on track here. He finished in the middle of the pack in the Royal Hunt Cup and then wasn’t really suited by the step back down to 6 furlongs in the Chipchase Stakes on the all-weather at Newcastle last time. I guess the return to seven furlongs looks the right move now and can hopefully spark a return to form. He does have to carry a hell of a lot of weight though and it will be a tough task to beat the likes of Yoshimi and Ziggle Pops at the foot of the weights.
Toronto has his first start for James Given having left Aiden O’Brien’s yard. The son of Galileo was a pretty useful juvenile but lost his way a little. He hasn’t shown much in two starts this campaign so hopefully the change of scenery can spark a revival. It will be no easy task bouncing back to try and beat the likes of Evening Sun in a race like this, but we will give it our best shot.
GOOD BIRTHDAY (5.10pm)
My final ride of the afternoon is old friend Good Birthday who takes on four rivals in the 10 furlong handicap. This looks the perfect trip for him and he has dropped back down to his last winning mark. However, he still has to shoulder a fair bit here against some useful types. The three-year-olds Cognac and Emissary look massive dangerous in receipt of so much weight.