Having got the first day of the meeting out of the way and I have to be honest and say it was all a bit strange. Arriving at the track without people will take some getting used to and it was particularly noticeable in one of the races when we swung back and caught a glimpse of the empty stands. However it’s great that we’ve got racing back on. Things didn’t go necessarily to plan on the track. Queen Power ran a good race in third in the Duke Of Cambridge but the rain that’s arrived just blunted her speed as she is a top of the ground filly. That’s not to take anything away from the good winner but the softer ground probably just cost her. Papa Power was disappointing in the King Edward and it’s back to the drawing board with him. We live to fight another day though and hopefully better luck on Wednesday when I have five rides – and I’ve also recorded another Zoom chat with the lads below.
GROUP ONE POWER (2.25pm King George V Stakes)
No ride for me in the first two races, with my first ride being Group One Power at the bottom of the weights in the King George V Stakes. He finished fourth at Yarmouth when stepped up to 10 furlongs on his reappearance having won twice over this winter. This represents a big step up in class and distance, but he has very little weight on his back and deserves his chance in a race like this. Speaking of which, it will be tough work doing just 8st 1lbs after lockdown! There are a whole lot of unexposed horses in here rated in the mid 80s and the likelihood is that there are one or two with plenty in hand. Kipps, who I beat at Haydock last time, and Win O’Clock look ahead of the handicapper.
BANGKOK (3.00pm Prince Of Wales’s Stakes Group 1)
It is great to have a ride in the big race of the day, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes where I’m aboard Bangkok, again for Andrew Balding and King Power. He ran a cracker at this meeting last year when second to favourite Japan who looks the one to beat again this afternoon. Bangkok is definitely better than he showed at Lingfield last time and is better judged on his efforts in the trial before that. Whether that is good enough in a race like this remains to be seen. This looks a real hot race with not only Japan, but also the likes of Barney Roy, Headman and Addeybb just to name a few with big chances. It should be great to watch and hopefully we will be competitive.
FOX PREMIER (3.35pm Royal Hunt Cup)
The Royal Hunt Cup in one of the races of the week for many and I ride Fox Premier right at the bottom of the weights. Again, he is trained by Andrew and is one we’ve always liked. He won a couple of races last season and chased home Forest Of Dean at Glorious Goodwood the last time we saw him run. He has been gelded since then and has had plenty of time off. The drop back to a fast run mile should also be spot-on and he must go there with a chance. Whether his draw in stall 24 is where you want to be remains to be seen, but there is pace around him. It is hard to pick out any one rival, but Andrew’s other runner Bell Rock looks to have a leading chance on his recent Newmarket win.
TENTH CENTURY (4.10pm Windsor Castle Stakes)
Next up it’s the Windsor Castle Stakes for two-year-olds where I ride Tenth Century for Michael Bell. I wasn’t on him when he was second at Lingfield last week and that was a pleasing start to life on the racecourse. However this is a massive step up in class and it looks like a red hot renewal. Wesley Ward saddles Sunshine City with Frankie Dettori in the saddle as well as Sheriff Bianco. He has a brilliant record at this meeting and all of his runners have to be respected. Speaking of respecting runners from a particular stable, there is no one to fear more than Aidan O’Brien in a race like this. Chief Little Hawk looked really good on his debut and with Ryan Moore in the saddle may just be the one to beat.
SHAILENE (4.40pm Copper Horse Handicap)
My final ride of the afternoon is Shailene, again for Andrew Balding. She is a lovely mare who finished fourth in a good race at Haydock on her reappearance. This step down in class will suit and I’m hoping she can be competitive. It looks as wide open as you would imagine. Andrew’s other runner Ranch Hand looks a serious contender as well as Roger Varian’s Fujaira Prince.
Enjoy the action.