Racing fans are in for a real treat this weekend as the action keeps on getting better and better. After Saturday’s Investec Derby meeting at Epsom we move onto Sandown for the Eclipse meeting. This year’s race looks as good a renewal as I can remember and my mount Bangkok is up against it against the likes of Enable, Ghaiyyath, Japan and Deirdre. It promises to be one of the races of the season and I’m looking forward to it and my other five rides. I’ve also recorded another Zoom Room with the lads and you can watch that below …
CASPIAN PRINCE (1.50pm)
This looks a really competitive sprint and I had hoped to be riding Art Power. However, he misses this race as he headed to Naas instead on Saturday where he won a Group 3 in nice style. Instead, I am partnering old boy Caspian Prince who was a really impressive winner at Newcastle last weekend. It is remarkable to think that he is still competing at this level at the age of 11. Mick Appleby and his team deserve an awful lot of credit for keeping him sweet and he has been some horse for his owners. Whether he is good enough to win a race like this remains to be seen, but you write him off at your peril! He showed last weekend that he still retains plenty of ability and he still has plenty of speed. That said, it won’t be easy giving weight to some talented three-year-olds at the foot of the weights. I thought Liberty Beach ran really well at Royal Ascot and she may just be the one. Godolphin’s Lazuli was another impressive winner at this track a few weeks ago and also warrants plenty of respect.
Next up I ride Zwayyan for Andrew Balding and King Power racing in what looks a very competitive one-mile handicap. He’s not been seen on the racecourse yet this season and is having his first run since finishing fourth at this track last September. He has slipped down the weights a little so is inching towards a winnable mark. Whether he can win first time of asking in a race like this is the question, but we will give it a go. There are some in-form horses running here including the first two home in last month’s Royal Hunt Cup. Dark Vision won that day at Ascot and is a horse I know pretty well. He’s got plenty of ability and I was just touched off on him on his first run back at Newcastle last month. We got beaten that day by Sir Busker who has since gone on to land the Silver Hunt Cup. Dark Vision will run well again but may find it tough confirming the form with the William Haggas trained Montatham who is 3lbs better off after chasing him home last time.
BANGKOK (3.35pm – Coral-Eclipse)
I was delighted with the way that Bangkok ran in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and he takes his chance in the feature race of the day, the Coral-Eclipse. However, despite the fact that he has a perfect 100% record at the track, it will be a massive task to get involved in the finish here. We are taking on the likes of Enable, Ghaiyyath, Japan and Deirdre in a proper Group One. It looks like an epic renewal and I will be delighted if we can finish close-up. I think that Enable is in for a real test here and Japan could be the one to give her most to think about.
FOX CHAIRMAN (4.05pm)
My best chance of a winner on the day would have to be Fox Chairman, again for Andrew Balding and King Power racing. I guess you have to say he was a little bit disappointing last time in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot where the combination of trip and ring-rustiness probably just caught him out a little. The return to 10 furlongs and drop-in class will play to his strengths and I’m looking forward to riding him. He has always been a horse we thought the world of and I’ve been very excited about him as a four-year-old. Hopefully he can get back on track here.
JAMAICAN JILL (4.35pm)
If I’m honest, I don’t know too much about Jamaican Jill who I ride for William Muir in the fillies’ handicap. This is her first run on turf and she has plenty of form over further so has no stamina worries. It looks a tall order though with Mark Johnston’s Tulip Fields looking the obvious danger as she bids for a hat-trick.
INDIAN CREAK (5.10pm)
My final ride of the afternoon is Mick Channon’s Indian Creak in the seven-furlong handicap. He’s another I’ve never ridden before and this is his first outing as a three-year-old. He won twice as a juvenile and had plenty of goes having run 10 times. He ended off last campaign with a really good fourth behind Under The Stars in a big-field sales race at Newmarket. That was a really good run and he shouldn’t be far away if reappearing in that form despite his big weight. This does look competitive though with the likes of Campari and What An Angel looking the ones to beat.
THE ZOOM ROOM