Crowley Calls It: “He’s got the best form in the race,hopefully we can give the weight away”
The Champion Jockey gives you the inside track on his Saturday rides as well as his Prix Jean Romanet ride on Sunday
I kick off a busy weekend on board Doctor Bartolo for Charlie Hills. He was a course and distance winner in June, and connections have been waiting for decent ground for him since, so hopefully Newbury won’t get any more rain. He’s a nice horse to start the day with.
Ventura Knight’s trainer Mark Johnston trains for Sheikh Hamdan so I ride quite a lot for him, and through that link I do pick up other rides and have generally been quite lucky on his runners. This fella ran up the hat-trick before he was beaten at Ascot on ground that was too soft for him, so again, better ground at Newbury will be in his favour. He looked quite progressive until Ascot, and you can never rule out a Mark Johnston horse, so hopefully he can bounce back.
I’ve picked up a great ride in the Geoffrey Freer, Frontiersman for Charlie Appleby. He was second in the Coronation Cup, and filled the same spot last time at Newmarket behind Hawkbill, but I felt the winner got the run of the race that day, and as a result Frontiersman ran a good race to finish second. He’s got the best form in the race finishing second to Highland Reel, but I do fear the 3-y-o Defoe, who we’re giving lots of weight to, and the form of his Hamilton win has been franked by the runner-up that day, Frankuus, who has since won the Rose Of Lancaster. I don’t see any of the others being good enough, so I think it’s between my mount and Defoe, and hopefully we can give the weight away and beat Defoe.
I’ve not ridden Graphite Storm before, but Clive Cox is a great trainer to ride for, and this horse looked useful when a close second at Ascot in May. However he hasn’t troubled the judge in two runs since then, so I can only be hopeful that he puts a good run together again.
In the feature Hungerford Stakes I ride Massaat for the boss. He was runner-up in last year’s 2,000 Guineas, so is clearly a high-class colt, but he didn’t stay in the Derby and then disappointed in the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury a year ago, since when he’s been absent. I’ve ridden him in work and he’s had a racecourse gallop, but he’s bound to be a little bit ring-rusty after the time off. I’m hoping there’s something there still from his Guineas run last year, as he’s a very good horse on that form. This 7 furlong trip might be a touch short for him as he gets the mile so well, but it’s a good race to start him off in, and hopefully he can show us that there are plenty of good races still to be run with him.
I could have ridden Ibn Malik instead, but while he’s a nice horse, he would need to improve from his last run behind Jungle Cat, and that one has since been well beaten at Goodwood, so I’d rather take a chance on Massaat, who is still relatively unexposed and a potentially exciting prospect.
In the maiden I’m on Ancient Longing for Roger Charlton. He ran very nicely on his debut at Salisbury, that was an encouraging run and he can be expected to improve from that first run, so I think he has a good chance.
My final ride is Boycie. A winner at Sandown in May, he’s been a bit disappointing on his last couple of runs but clearly has ability and if he bounces back is capable of a decent run.
I travel to France on Sunday to ride Smart Call for Sir Michael Stoute in the Group One Prix Jean Romanet. Formerly trained in South Africa, she wasn’t quite tip-top in Ireland last time, but I think she’s got a good chance at Deauville and I’m really looking forward to riding her, and obviously it’s great to have another chance of bagging a Group One!
I’ve got lots to look forward to at York next week, with Ulysses and Battaash particularly exciting, but there was some sad news this week when Santry was fatally killed on the gallops. He was probably the best 2-y-o I’d ridden so far this season, and with a better draw I think we’d have won the Norfolk Stakes, and the horse that beat us at Royal Ascot, Sioux Nation, has gone on to win the Group One in Ireland, so that tells you how strong the form was. It’s a real shame for the owners and trainer Declan Carroll to lose such an exciting prospect.