Crowley Calls It: “I’m really looking forward to riding this one, I think he’s a massive price”
The Champion Jockey previews his day one rides at Glorious Goodwood and looks back on Saturday’s King George
Looking back on Saturday’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Ulysses gave me a terrific ride, on ground that didn’t suit, and giving a stone to a top class filly in Enable, it really was one hell of a performance from my colt.
She is an exceptional filly, and with everything in her favour on Saturday, I was delighted to finish second, and I’d say he improved again from his Coral-Eclipse win. Sir Michael Stoute is a genius with these older horses, and looking ahead, the Breeders’ Cup Turf in California would be tailor-made for him.
Saturday was only the third time I’d ridden the horse, but I noticed the difference in him, how much more relaxed he was since the first time I rode him at Royal Ascot, and wherever he goes next, he’s an absolute pleasure to ride. He’s a top class horse and there’s definitely another big race or two in him, so wherever he goes, I hope I’m with him!
I begin a busy week on Khairaat, who was disappointing when a beaten favourite at Royal Ascot. He was slammed by the handicapper for his win at Chester the time before, and it just didn’t happen for him at Ascot, he was a little bit keen and the pace was a bit stop-start. We’re drawn wide at Goodwood, in 16, and some of the other fancied horses are drawn high with us, UAE Prince in 15 and Garcia in 12, so imagine I’ll take my time with him and hopefully come with a late charge.
The draw is important at Goodwood, particularly in the 7 furlong and mile races, with big fields, and of course the pace of a race is key too; if they go fast you can come from off the pace, but if you’re held up and they go steady it’s harder to make up ground, so it all depends on the pace of the race.
My ride in the Group Two Qatar Vintage Stakes, Watheer, won last time out on the all-weather. He’s a nice horse but he’s going to have to step up a lot here, it’s a solid race as you’d expect and he’s in at the deep end, taking on the likes of Seahenge and Expert Eye. I hope he’s one for the future but he will need to step up to take a hand in the finish here.
I have a lovely ride in the Qatar Lennox Stakes, on a horse I know well, Dutch Connection. He’s a smashing horse who gave me a Royal Ascot win a couple of years ago, and he won this race last year, but he wouldn’t want the ground to get much slower, on good to soft or softer he may not even take his chance as he’s a proper good ground horse. Limato is in the same boat as us and won’t want any more rain, while the likes of Librisa Breeze and Home Of The Brave won’t mind it so much.
It is a track that does dry out quickly, so with a breeze and a dry 24 hours, hopefully he’ll take his chance and do himself justice.
In the Qatar Goodwood Cup, which is now a Group One, I have my first ride for Willie Mullins, something I never managed when I was riding over jumps! Wicklow Brave is another lovely ride to pick up, a high-class hurdler who has also run some big races on the flat, including an Irish St Leger win over Order Of St George, and that horse would be favourite or close to it if he was running here, so I do think my fella is overpriced.
It’s a very good race, as it should be, and Big Orange is clearly the one to beat, but after him it’s wide open and I’m really looking forward to riding this one, I think he’s a massive price.
I didn’t ride Alrahaal, my ride in the maiden, when he was second at Goodwood on his first run, but he looks a nice type of horse, and Marcus Tregoning’s two-year-olds are running well. These Glorious Goodwood maidens are always competitive, but he’s got a lovely pedigree and having had that all-important experience of the track I’m hoping he can step up.
My final ride of the opening day is Ghadaayer for Sheikh Hamdan. She was a winner at Newmarket last time, and although it’s another tough looking race, Sir Michael Stoute has her going the right way and she could well improve again out of a decent looking draw in 5.
Looking ahead to later in the week, I’m really looking forward to riding Battaash in the Qatar King George Stakes, and I’ve also picked up a terrific ride on Queen’s Trust in Thursday’s Qatar Nassau Stakes.