SILVESTRE DE SOUSA: Royal Ascot Saturday

They say that good things come to those who wait – well I had to wait four days for my winner but boy Art Power was a good winner. I was delighted with him in the opener on Friday.  He showed an exciting turn of foot to get the job done. It was great for King Power to get a winner at the Royal Meeting as they invest so much in the sport and I’m so pleased to see them get rewarded. We’ll just enjoy the win and then see where he goes. There’s a chance he could end up in a race like the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp.

Plenty to look forward to on the final day. I have five rides on the final day including Bielsa in the Wokingham. Thoughts below on my rides and also the Coronation Stakes and St James’ Palace Stakes.



VINTAGE BRUT (12.40pm Silver Wokingham Handicap)

It would be fair to say that Vintage Brut has been disappointing since starting off life as such an exciting two-year-old. Don’t forget he was sent off favourite for the Norfolk Stakes here a few years ago and he hasn’t really lived up to our hopes. He failed to fire last campaign and didn’t exactly show that much encouragement when reappearing at Newcastle earlier in the month. Ground conditions have come in his favour so we are hoping that will spark him into life although it’s hard to be confident. Swindler and Blue Mist look the obvious two.

ROYAL APPROVAL (1.15pm Queen Mary Stakes)

I’m really excited to have been asked to ride one for Wesley Ward in the Queen Mary. He has a great record at this meeting with his raiders and I’m hoping I’m on another speedball. I don’t know too much about Royal Approval but do know that most of these American juveniles prefer a decent surface. The ground was firm for her only racecourse appearance to date so conditions may be alien to her. Anyway, we will give it our best shot and have Aidan O’Brien’s More Beautiful to beat.

CHORITZO (1.50pm Coventry Stakes)

A big field for the Coventry Stakes as you might expect and it’s a race that usually throws up a good colt. I ride Choritzo for David Loughnane who booked his ticket here with a win at Wolverhampton last week. This looks a big step up and on paper this looks like the deep end! You never know and if I’m honest, I don’t know too much about him. Admiral Nelson represents last year’s winning connections and the Coolmore team continue in great form.

2.25pm Coronation Stakes

No ride for me in the Coronation Stakes and a lot will depend on how much the ground will dry out. I thought Quadrilateral would win the 1000 Guineas and she may just gain her compensation here with no Love in the field. She looks like she needs further than a mile in time, but it will still take plenty of getting on this ground.

3.00pm St James’ Palace Stakes

Again, a race I will be watching from the weighing room and all eyes will be on Pinatubo and Wichita as they battle it out again. However, look out for John Gosden’s Palace Pier who missed the Guineas and looks a proper talent.

SHINE SO BRIGHT (3.35pm Diamond Jubilee Stakes)

Another horse who could do with conditions drying out a bit is Shine So Bright who I ride for Andrew Balding in the Diamond Jubilee. He seems to run his best races when fresh and I’m hopeful of a good run if conditions improve. He finished fifth in the Coventry Stakes here as a two-year-old so the track holds no fears. This looks a hot race though with Irish raider Sceptical and One Master looking leading players.

BIELSA (4.10pm Wokingham Stakes)

It’s strange to suggest that my best chance of a winner on the final day comes in the 24-runner Wokingham Handicap, but I’m excited about riding Bielsa for Kevin Ryan. He was purchased by King Power hopefully as a long-term replacement for Donjuan Triumphant, so he has big shoes to fill! This would be a nice start though and he has handled bad ground really well. I spoke to Kevin who says that he has been away for a racecourse gallop and I’m hoping that would have put him spot on for this. At least there is one danger out the way as I thought Sir Michael Stoute’s Mubakker was impressive last time and looked to have a big chance but he is a non runner.