As I am the retained rider for King Power racing, I am riding at Chester instead of York on Thursday. The rules at the moment stipulate that jockeys can only ride at the one meeting, so there was no chance of riding at York earlier in the afternoon. It is just one of those things, and I am incredibly grateful for the job I have.
It was great to ride a winner on the opening day of the Ebor Festival for Mark Johnston. I mentioned in this blog that I felt he must be a decent two-year-old to have won first time out despite getting loose before the start. He showed real tenacity to battle back to win the Acomb and is an exciting prospect.
Onto Friday’s action at York where the feature race is the Nunthorpe Stakes. I ride Art Power for the King Power team and we are taking on the mighty Battaash in what promises to be a great race. Here are my thoughts on his chances and my other five rides on the day and don’t miss the Zoom Room video below too …
MYSTERY SMILES (2.45pm – Gimcrack Stakes)
The unbeaten Mystery Smiles takes his chance in a competitive looking Gimcrack Stakes. He’s done nothing wrong in two starts winning on his debut at Windsor and then following up at Chester. There was plenty of cut in the ground on his debut run so if the rain stays around, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem for him. He deserves his chance upped in class in a race like this and we will know a lot more about how good he is after this contest. This is a pretty hot looking Group Two with the likes of Minzaal and Mowhawk King looking pretty useful.
ART POWER (3.15pm – Nunthorpe Stakes)
When Art Power bolted up in a novice race here last October, I’d have thought you mad if you said he’d be lining up as clear second favourite for the Nunthorpe less than a year later. Well, Tim (Easterby) has done a brilliant job with him and he has improved with every start this season. He has won all three starts including a lovely victory at Royal Ascot and another good win in Ireland last time. That latest win was over six furlongs so he is very versatile when it comes to trip. The key to his chances will be softish ground and a real test as he will be running all the way to the line when others may be tying up. The rain that fell on Wednesday was ideal and hopefully conditions won’t dry out too much. The only problem is a certain horse called Battaash who is one of the best sprinters of his generation. If conditions dry out too much he will be very hard to peg back, but if it becomes more of a slog we will have every chance of taking him down.
ENCOUNTER ORDER (3.45pm)
The Convivial is traditionally one of the hottest maidens of the season and I am riding a newcomer for Ismail Mohammed. If I’m honest I don’t know too much about this son of Siyouni, but he must have been showing something to warrant taking his chance in a race like this. Naval Crown sets the bar pretty high though.
ANGEL POWER (4.15pm)
Another ride for King Power racing with Angel Power stepping up to 10 furlongs for the first time in the fillies’ handicap. She’s done nothing wrong this season winning at Chelmsford and then finishing second on both of her last two starts. The latest of those came at Glorious Goodwood and she ran all the way to the line over the mile that day. There is every chance she will relish this step up in trip and I’m looking forward to getting back aboard her. The ultra-consistent Waliyak looks the biggest threat.
CLOUD DRIFT (4.50pm)
My final ride of the afternoon is one for Her Majesty the Queen. It will be great to put on those famous silks once again and partner Cloud Drift for the first time. He went up 6lbs for winning at Leicester last month and has since been touched off at Salisbury. Life will be tougher again off a further 3lbs rise but at least he comes here in form. He looks pretty versatile when it comes to ground too. Finest Sound is better than he showed last time and may have been feeling the effects of a hard race at the Royal meeting.