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Crowley Calls It: “I’m hoping he’s got a good bit more improvement to come”

The Champion Jockey previews his Saturday rides at Newbury and reflects on last week’s July Meeting

I’ve had a quiet week this week by my standards. I must admit I’m not used to it and always get itchy feet when I’m not riding. I had an unexpected day off on Thursday. I was meant to be doing Leicester and Doncaster in the same day but it all fell apart at declaration time when the Sheikh Hamdan horses weren’t declared. So we just scratched the plans and I took a day off which was quite nice. The kids are off school now so we did the usual stuff, taking them out on their ponies, and went out for a bit of lunch. But I was glad to be back riding on Friday.

JULY MEETING REVIEW

It was great to ride a treble on the first day of last week’s July meeting at Newmarket. I was delighted with Roger Varian’s horse, Ekhtiyaar in the big sprint handicap. He put up a really good performance.  Beat The Bank looks a very good horse for Andrew Balding. It was a really nice few days. The only disappointment for me came in the July Cup on Tasleet. It was such a strange race. They just went no gallop. They go faster in a seven furlong or a mile handicap. If they had gone the right gallop, my horse would have settled, and I’m not saying he would definitely have won, but he would have run a much better race. That wasn’t his true running at all. Hopefully he’ll bounce back from that.

MUTAKAYYEF INJURY

I was absolutely gutted to hear that Mutakayyef injured himself at Ascot. He’s a smashing horse and was going really well this year with his second to Ribchester at Royal Ascot and the win in the Summer Mile on Saturday. He would have been one of those horses that would get on a plane and take you round the world. So it’s disappointing and frustrating that his season is over because of injury. Hopefully he’ll come back. Fingers crossed. He’s never taken a lame step in his life. Let’s hope he can come back as good as he was.

SATURDAY AT NEWBURY

1.50 – Rusumaat

He won the Silver Bowl at Haydock a few runs ago, and is a tough, durable, typical Mark Johnston trained horse. He seems to thrive on his racing and he should have a good each way chance in this. He’s a front runner, and enjoys being ridden prominently, a tactic that can work well at Newbury. It’s a good place to make the running. With Mark Johnston trained horses you can never write them off, and hopefully Rusumaat can bounce back and win again.

2.25 – Thikriyaat

He’s been a little disappointing this season compared to last. He had a problem at the back end of last year and has yet to recapture his best form this season. We are stepping him up in trip to 10 furlongs. Based on the way he ran in his last two starts it certainly looks worth a try going up in trip. He’s not guaranteed to stay the trip but he’s running like he needs it. We are coming here with an open mind. He’s a good horse but he’s not as good as he was last season on what he’s shown so far. Let’s hope this step up in trip can get him back on track.

3.00 – Eqtiraan

He loves quick ground and doesn’t want it too slow, so hoping the ground can dry out. It’s a tough little race, and he’s taking on a proven Group race performer in Magical Memory, and Koropick won a Group race last time out too. Eqtiraan will have to improve again but he could do. He looks like an improving type and is only a three year old taking on older horses. I’m hoping he’s got a good bit more improvement to come. They tried him over further but 6 furlongs looks to be his trip. He’s a strong traveller, is in great form and is open to progression.

4.10 – Alkhalifa

I rode him at Newbury last time when he was third in a novice stakes. He ran a really nice race that day on his debut. I’d be very hopeful that he’ll improve for that run. He’s a nice looking horse and the ground was quick enough for him that day, so he should get an ideal surface this time. He should have a good chance today.

4.45 – Lincoln Rocks

She won the Pipalong Stakes last time at Pontefract. She has top weight but she’s earned that. My agent was keen for David to run the filly, and hopefully she can win. She looks like she has a good chance. If she can carry the ten stone she should go close.

David’s number one jockey, Danny Tudhope, who won on Lincoln Rocks last time, is a great lad. He’s a really quiet guy. He doesn’t say much and lets his riding do the talking. He’s a really good jockey, and always has been a really good jockey, but because he doesn’t say too much, you don’t tend to see him get much of the limelight. He’s riding for a shrewd trained in David O’Meara, and they are a great team. He’s a very good jockey and you can see that from all the winners he’s riding this season.

5.20 – Star Maker

I rode this horse early on in his career and I quite liked him, but then he didn’t do too much for quite a while. It’s taken him a while to find his feet but he won last time out and has been raised 6 pounds. He looks like one of those horses that has been improving for racing. Sylvester is a good guy and a good trainer and hopefully Star Maker can run well.

Jim