Crowley Calls It: “I think my horse Eminent has a massive chance”
Champion Jockey Jim Crowley talks us through his weekend rides at Newmarket and previews the 2000 Guineas
In the opening race at Newmarket tomorrow at 1.50 I ride Next Stage who has got a great chance. He won nicely at Newmarket last time out. I haven’t ridden this horse before but he likes fast ground which he’s going to get. It would be a great way to start the day if we can win this race. Sir Michael Stoute’s horse Ballet Concerto will obviously be the danger. We also have Berkshire in the race who is a horse I know very well. He likes a bit of cut in the ground though and he could be doubtful as it might be a bit too quick for him.
At 2.20 I partner Muthmir who is a lovely horse. A couple of years ago he won the King George V Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. He lost his way a bit last season and didn’t get his head in front, but he has started this campaign well with a win at Bath on his seasonal reappearance. If he comes back to his best, he’ll have a decent chance in this. Obviously Profitable is a leading contender for the race and I also really like Marsha and Kimberella, who is improving all the time for Richard Fahey.
In the Jockey Club Stakes at 2.55 I am riding for the French trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre on board One Foot In Heaven. This horse was third in the Hong Kong Vase so he is clearly very good. It is great to pick up a spare ride for de Royer-Dupre and he looks to have a good chance. I think the one we all to have to beat is the Aidan O’Brien filly Seventh Heaven. Across The Stars is also a good horse but ultimately so is mine. They are not bringing this over from France for the good of its health. I am not sure the best way of riding it yet but I’ll decide that in the race. These are the types of ride you want to pick up. Being the reigning Champion Jockey helps and so does riding for Sheikh Hamdan.
In the Qipco 2000 Guineas at 3.35 I think my horse Eminent has a massive chance. I would not swap him for any other horse in the race. On paper Churchill has the standout form but he has not had a race this year. Eminent has run twice at Newmarket and won on both of those occasions. It was the fastest win in the Craven for 50 years and he wasn’t even fully tuned up. He only really hit top speed inside the final 100 yards and he also did that with me when he won his maiden. I remember telling Kieren Fallon last year that this horse is the real deal. I think he will improve again for the step up in trip. There is nothing worse than going into a race unsure that your horse can stay the distance and I know that my horse tomorrow will stay the trip. Whatever happens in the Guineas, we are hoping he can end up being a Derby horse.
I have ridden in both the 2000 Guineas and the 1000 Guineas many times, but to go into this weekend with a strong chance in both races is huge for me. It is not easy to get rides on leading contenders in these races because they are often dominated by Coolmore horses and the major owners, but now I’m riding for one of the biggest owners in Sheikh Hamdan. I won’t be nervous tomorrow, I’ll just be very excited. It is like waking up on Christmas Day with a nice present to open but you don’t know what is in it. I’ll approach it exactly the same as any other day.
I thought Barney Roy was impressive in the Greenham. I was third behind him but I would have been disappointed if Eminent hadn’t won that race in the same manner if he’d run in it. The French horse Al Wukair has some good form in France but there has to be some doubts about whether he can handle Newmarket and the trip. It is going to be an absolutely fantastic race so I am really looking forward to riding in it.
In the handicap at 4.10 I ride Eqtiraan. He was a really nice horse last season. He is dropping back down in trip here. I rode him at Lingfield last time where he showed a high cruising speed but just didn’t finish off the race there. I am hoping the drop back to 6f will help him.
Mustajeer is my opening ride on Sunday at 1.50. I went up to Newcastle to ride this horse last month. He was slowly away in that race and if you don’t make a good break at Newcastle from a low draw, you are in trouble. He will improve for that run and Newmarket will suit him better. It is a competitive race but I am hoping he can run well.
In the Qipco 1000 Guineas at 3.35 I am riding Talaayeb, who is the most inexperienced horse in the race as she has only had the one run. That said, she won her maiden really well. She absolutely loves fast ground. We had a gallop at the track before the first day of the Craven meeting and I was delighted with how she went. It was a really impressive piece of work. I have no doubt she would have won one of the trials had she run in one, but it was wise not to run her as she might have left her race behind. The lad who rides her out, Frankie McDonald is a great judge. He is really looking forward to her running and is very hopeful that she can go close. It is of course going to be a tough race. The one with the form in the book is Rhododendron. Daban won the Nell Gwyn but I am not sure the form of that race is strong enough for her to win this. There is a doubt about whether Fair Eva will stay the trip. With my horse, we are going into the unknown. She has a great temperament though and I’d be very disappointed if she did not finish in the first three. She has always been held in high regard. If we did not believe she was good enough she would not be going into the 1000 Guineas on just her second start.
I ride Qaaraat in the Maiden at 4.10 for Ed Dunlop and he should improve for his first start two weeks ago. Most of the field haven’t raced before and are well bred types from big yards so it’s hard to assess the opposition.
My last ride on Guineas weekend is Bin Battuta in the 5.20. He is a really nice horse and he is well thought of at home. He was third last time at Doncaster. We wouldn’t want too fast ground for him but hopefully he can run well here.