I‘ve mentioned before in this blog that you can’t be in two places at the same time and that problem has surfaced again this weekend. As much as I’d like to be riding at Ascot on Saturday, I’m now actually heading to York. The decision was made easier by the fact that I have no ride in the King George and with Fox Chairman being declared for the York Stakes, my retainer with King Power means I am York bound. In fact, I am booked to ride in nine races meaning I will definitely fall asleep in the car on the way home! It was good fun recording another Zoom Room with Bill and Johnny on Friday and you can watch that now CLICK HERE:
Here are my thoughts on those rides and on the King George itself…
GEAR UP (12.20pm)
First up I ride Gear Up for Mark Johnston on his racecourse debut in the opener. I used to ride out a fair bit for the Johnston team, but rarely get up there these days. That means I don’t know too much about this fella, but one thing I do know is that he will know his job. They are excellent at readying youngsters for their first day at school and I finished second on one of theirs last weekend on her debut. I’m looking forward to the ride.
SAMPERS SEVEN (12.55pm)
Only the seven runners in the five furlong handicap where I ride Sampers Seven for Mick Appleby. She has a nice light weight and comes here in form having run well on the all-weather and then when finishing third back on the turf last time. This looks a tougher assignment, but she is entitled to be competitive in a small field.
RUX RUXX (1.30pm)
She is a little bit frustrating in that she appears to have two ways of running. We were pleased with her reappearance run at Musselburgh earlier in the month, but then she disappointed last time at Beverley. We know she is better than she showed that day and hopefully she can run to the level of form she showed first time out.
Another ride for the Mark Johnston team in the shape of Freyja who is having her first run of the season in a competitive looking fillies handicap. She won two of her four starts as a juvenile and was only beaten on the two occasions she encountered soft ground. She steps up in trip again here but gets the sound surface she requires and will hopefully run well. It does look a really competitive race though with William Haggas’ Award Scheme looking the one to beat carrying the royal colours.
FOX CHAIRMAN (2.40pm – York Stakes)
As I said above, the reason I’ve headed to York is to ride Fox Chairman for King Power racing. He’s a horse we’ve always thought a lot of and were always very excited about seeing him race as a four-year-old. We started him off at Royal Ascot in the Queen Anne Stakes over a mile and that just caught him out a little. He was much better last time when closing all the way to the line over 10 furlongs at Sandown when just tapped the toe a little in a tactical affair. We meet some really good horses here in the shape of Elarqam, Telecaster and also Aspetar. Their presence makes this a tough assignment, but also means that we should go a good gallop which will help him. If everything goes his way, he shouldn’t be too far away at the line.
I am enjoying picking up plenty of rides for Mick Appleby at the moment and ride another one for him here in the shape of Barrington. He’s been running consistently of late having been placed on both his last two starts and definitely deserves his turn in the winners enclosure having not won for over a year now. He’s been second four times and third once since that last win, so hopefully today can be the day. I suppose the only problem is that the handicapper knows him pretty well and may need to drop him a couple of pounds before he wins again.
I’ve picked up the ride on Quanah for Liam Bailey in the second division of the six furlong handicap. He’s been busy since lockdown ended having won two of his five races since the beginning of June. One of those victories came on the all-weather at Newcastle and the other on soft ground at Hamilton. He found life tougher off his revised mark last time and may appreciate a bit of rain.
JULIE JOHNSTON (5.00pm)
Another ride for Mark Johnston, this time Julie Johnston in the nursery. She won at Chelmsford last month and is better than she showed at Bath last time having stumbled late on. She lines up here with a nice low weight and is another ride to look forward to.
BAY OF WHISPERS (5.35pm)
A marathon day at York comes to an end with one of my best chances on the card in Bay Of Whispers for the Richard Hannon team. She took a huge step forward from her debut run at Doncaster when a fine second in a good race at Newbury last time. A reproduction of that run should see her go very close in a race like this. The stable continue in fine form and she must have an outstanding chance.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (3.35pm Ascot)
There may only be the four runners but it looks a really good race. It looks sure to be a tactical affair, but Frankie is the ideal man for Enable and she looks the one. I thought her reappearance run in the Eclipse was rock solid and he wasn’t hard on her when her chance had gone. I expect her to strip fitter here and add another King George to her glittering CV. If for whatever reason she doesn’t perform then Japan will be there to pick up the pieces.
I’ll be back every day throughout Glorious Goodwood to update you on my chances…