This weekend is somewhat of a warm-up act for a monster five days of action next week. It will be strange having Royal Ascot behind closed doors, but I suppose we all just have to be grateful the authorities have managed to get it on at all. You have to say all those involved have done a fantastic job in getting things going again and with 35 races ahead I must have a better chance of riding a winner there than usual! I’ll be back every day next week to give you my thoughts on all my rides and also hope to do some Zoom previews if the technology holds up! Anyway, I’m at Sandown on Saturday with six nice rides to look forward to…
I get things started with a nice ride for Roger Varian in the Highclere colours. Ascension sneaks in here off a light weight and won a couple of times as a juvenile. He rounded off last season finishing fourth in a nice nursery at Newmarket and I’m hoping he can carry on where he left off. This looks a decent contest though with the likes of Well Of Wisdom and Impressor setting the bar high.
SUNDAY SOVEREIGN (Scurry Stakes 2.40pm)
The feature race of the afternoon is the Listed Scurry Stakes where I’m looking forward to riding Sunday Sovereign, again for Roger. He hasn’t been seen since disappointing when favourite in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer, but we know he’s better than that. I sat on him the other day and he gave me a real nice feel. This looks the perfect re-starting point for him and I’m hoping he can go very close. Obviously, the likes of Dream Shot and Lazuli have the benefit of a recent run under their belts, but we have always liked this colt.
I’ve not ridden Ian William’s Mustarrid before who takes his chance in the one-mile handicap. He didn’t seem to enjoy the step up to 10-furlongs on the all-weather last time, so will be better suited by this trip back on grass. He’s 8lbs higher than when winning well at Nottingham in October, so will need to step up again.
My third ride of the afternoon for Roger Varian and I’m looking forward to getting the leg up on Postileo on his debut. The son of Galileo was unraced last year but is beautifully bred and it will be nice to see him on a racecourse. The first Sheikh Obaid colours will be carried by Mambo Nights who brings some really strong form into the race and looks the one to beat.
Another one I’ve not ridden before is Roar in the staying handicap. He won’t lack for fitness as he’s been busy over the winter with three runs over hurdles and a couple of runs on the flat too. He actually won one of those jumpers’ bumpers at Wolverhampton in February so definitely has some ability. This looks a tough assignment though.
Finally, the second division of the staying handicap where I ride Flintrock for Neil King. Again, I don’t know too much about him, but he comes here fit from the jumps. The best of his previous flat form for Andrew Balding would give him a squeak here in a wide-open race. My eye was drawn to Jedd O’Keeffe’s Theatro who looks the obvious one.
Enjoy the action.