SILVESTRE DE SOUSA: Royal Ascot Thursday

It wasn’t the best day at the office on Wednesday with no successes but I was pleased with the way that Bangkok ran in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and he should be a fun horse to maybe travel with later this season. Although he faded away in the closing stages he has grown up a bit and showed promise. We saw a brilliant winner of the race in Lord North. Elsewhere, Group One Power ran a nice race in the King George V Stakes – despite us not getting much luck in running and he is another one to look forward to.

Onto the third day, Ladies Day, but sadly without the crowds this year. Hopefully it will be the day I have my first winner as I am very hopeful for Fox Tal in the Wolferton at 1.50pm. Thoughts on all rides below and in the Zoom chat with the lads.

THURSDAY

ROYAL ASCOT

FOX TAL (1.50pm Wolferton Stakes)

There isn’t a horse I’m looking forward to riding more at Ascot this week than Fox Tal in the Wolferton Stakes. He is a horse we are really excited about and his homework has been excellent. He is still relatively lightly raced and took giant strides last season when winning a nice conditions race at Doncaster and finishing the campaign with a close-up fourth at this track in the Champion Stakes. He showed that day that he can handle soft ground so if the rain does come that should be no bother to him. It is hard to win any race at the Royal meeting, and it is equally hard to be confident about winning one of those races, however, Fox Tal is my best chance of riding a winner here this week. I obviously have huge respect for the likes of Sir Dragonet and Regal Reality, not to mention Dubai Warrior and Mountain Hunter. However, I am really hopeful that Fox Tal can live up to our expectations.

MYSTERY POWER (2.25pm Jersey Stakes)

Next up, I ride Mystery Power for Richard Hannon in the Jersey Stakes. He won his first couple of races as a two-year-old and mixed it with the best towards the end of the season. He finished second to Pierre Lapin in the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury and finished off his juvenile campaign behind Pinatubo in the Dewhurst Stakes. He reappears here in a calmer waters and shouldn’t be far away. Obviously, I respect the likes of King Leonidas and Molotham, but I’m hoping my colt can run well.

MARCH LAW (3.00pm Chesham Stakes)

Only the nine runners in the Chesham Stakes where I ride March Law for Mark Johnston. All these two-year-olds have only run the once and are being forced to reappear quite quickly. My colt will have learnt a lot from his debut at Haydock where he gave me a nice feel. He will definitely step up from that run and I wasn’t overly hard on him that day when his chance had gone. Charlie Appleby’s Modern News looked really professional on his debut and sets the bar pretty high, but we will give it our best shot.

3.35pm Gold Cup

No ride for me in the Gold Cup, where Stradivarius (pictured right) bids to win the race for a third year in succession. if he is successful, it will be his fourth straight win at the Royal meeting having won the Queen’s Vase back in 2017. He just seems to love this time of year and this particular meeting. He made a pleasing enough reappearance at Newmarket a couple of weeks ago and that will have put him spot on for this. Technician, Cross Counter and even Nayef Road will try and put it up to him, but I’d be very surprised if they’re good enough to stop him winning his third Gold Cup. I suppose his biggest danger could be the weather if the heavens open.

SUN POWER (4.10pm Britannia Stakes)

The Britannia Handicap is always very competitive and it will be a tough ask for Sun Power to win it off topweight. He made a pleasing enough return to action at Lingfield in February and has had a nice break since. He has the best form on offer, but has to shoulder a lot of weight as a consequence. Don’t forget he was fourth to Pinatubo in last year’s Chesham Stakes. Whether he will be able to give weight away to the likes of Finest Sound or Enemy is the challenge, but fingers crossed.

ODYSSEY GIRL 4.40pm (Sandringham Stakes)

My last ride of the day is Odyssey Girl for Richard Spencer in the Sandringham Stakes. It’s not normally a yard I have an association with and I have never ridden her before, but she looks ultra-consistent and hopefully can go well for a stable that has won at this meeting in the past. If rumours are to be believed then we will all be chasing home John Gosden’s African Dream who looks extremely well-handicapped with just eight stone on her back. However, I’m looking forward to riding my girl though and hopefully the first time cheek pieces will help too.

SILVESTRE