Jim Crowley on seven great chances at Newmarket on Friday
Jim likes his ride in the Old Rowley Cup today…
Champion Jockey-elect Jim Crowley spoke to Coral’s very own Simon Clare ahead of his seven rides at Newmarket this Friday. Below, Jim gives you his exclusive thoughts on all his rides on day one of the Dubai Future Champions Festival.
I’ve really been enjoying the battle for the Jockey’s title, and both mentally and physically I am holding up quite well. Obviously we are in to the last ten days now and I have a bit of a cushion on Silvestre but it’s not a huge amount and I certainly can’t rest on my laurels. I’m not going to take my foot off the gas at all. In fact quite the opposite we are going to try and put more pressure on ourselves and get some more winners over the next few days. I’m not even sure where I’m riding next week as I’m jocked up all over the place, but Tony Hind, my agent, is determined to get some more winners on the board.
When I spoke to Tony Hind last year about him possibly becoming my agent, he asked me what my hopes were for the season, and I told him that I hoped to finish in the top three. He responded “that’s no good to me mate, I want a champion”. So I said “ok well hopefully you can make me champion”, and we went from there. He’s been absolutely fantastic. He wants this championship just as much as I do. When you’ve got him in your corner it’s a massive help.
He’s put so much work into this. He starts at 4am every morning, he’s a total workaholic. He handicaps the races himself, and he tries to get me on the best horses possible. Sometimes you have to stay loyal to the people who are being loyal to you, and turn down the opportunity to ride the horse with the best chance, and Tony gets that as well. We’ve been lucky enough to be working with Hugo Palmer a lot this year, and wherever his horses run they are never running for the fun of it. They always go there with a good chance.
Friday Newmarket rides
In the first today at Newmarket at 1.35 I ride Prince Of Lir for Robert Cowell. He’s a cracking little horse, that won the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot beating The Last Lion, and he’s gone on to Group One glory. He has a 5lb penalty for that win, and he might prefer a bit more juice in the ground, but he’s a good little horse. Robert thinks so much of him so hopefully he can run a big race.
In the Oh So Sharp Stakes at 2.05 I ride Unforgettable Filly for Hugo Palmer. She’s a really nice filly and her maiden form is good. When she won at Newmarket it wasn’t the strongest of races but she won it by seven lengths. She was second last time out but she had to do most of the donkey work and she just got nabbed on the line. This is a bigger field and I’m hopeful of a good show from her. I think there’s plenty of improvement in her.
I ride Gifted Master in the Challenge Stakes at 2.40. He likes Newmarket and he will appreciate coming back to seven furlongs from a mile. He loves to be on the front end. The only fly in the ointment would be the fact that the horse drawn next to him, First Selection, is also a front runner. So it might not be easy but hopefully he can be in the shake-up.
I’ve ridden at almost every track and in every grade of race this season but riding in Group races like I’m doing today is what it’s all about. Bidding to be Champion Jockey is great but obviously it’s the big days that jockeys strive to be a part of so they have a shot at winning the big races. When I was with Ralph Beckett I rode in plenty of good quality races. I’ve ridden in all the English Classics now, and I’ve hit the cross bar in two, being second in the Oaks and the St Leger. I’d love to win an English Classic, and like all jockeys I want to ride on the World stage as well, not just in your own country.
In the Group One Fillies Mile I ride Fleabiscuit for Hugo Palmer. It’s nice to see the Lucayan Stud colours back on the racecourse. She’s a lovely filly by High Chaparral and she could be an Oaks filly next year. She’s very highly thought of. We are chancing our arm running her in this but she’s certainly got plenty of ability. She won very well on her only start at Haydock and she’s still very unexposed. She could run a big race but if she doesn’t it isn’t the end of the world as she’s going to be a next-year horse.
I’m on Saunter in the 3.45. I like this horse. It’s obviously a competitive race. I’ve also ridden the favourite, Sixties Groove. I think Saunter could progress into a Group class horse. He came from France. I won a maiden on him at Goodwood and he then won nicely last time. He’s uncomplicated and I think he’s got an outstanding chance. I’m hoping he can go on and make into a Group horse.
In the 4.20, the Maiden Fillies Stakes, I ride Alouja on her debut. She goes very well at home and is a half- sister to a decent horse called Magic Artist, who was trained by Andrew Balding. She goes well but this is a typical Newmarket maiden as you don’t know quite what you are up against. She’s well thought of. If Hugo Palmer’s two year olds don’t win first time out they run very well, and then nearly always win second time out. He’s got some lovely two year olds, and obviously he can then get a good benchmark from them working against each-other.
Hugo is brilliant to ride for. He always says as he’s never been a jockey he will leave it very much up to me how to ride the horses. That’s great really. Obviously if a horse has a certain issue or characteristic that means they need to be ridden a certain way, he’ll tell you, but other than that he leaves it in my hands. He’s been a brilliant supporter this season. For the first couple of months I didn’t have a stable behind me, but then we got talking and Hugo asked me to come and ride out, and it’s gone from strength to strength ever since. We’ve been a good team this year.
In the last at 4.50 I ride Laganore for Tony Martin. The last time I rode for Tony I rode a horse called Dun Doire back in 2005 who went on to win at the Cheltenham Festival. I won on the horse at Wetherby and Haydock, and he then won the Three Mile Handicap Chase at Cheltenham later that season. I spoke to Tony yesterday afternoon and we were hatching a plan on how to ride Laganore. He’s a very shrewd operator. He thinks she’ll run really well. She was just touched off last time in Ireland and he thinks she’ll go well. He thinks a lot of her and he isn’t sending her over for the sake of her health. We are hopeful of a really good run from her.
Hugo Palmer has a horse called Evergate that runs in the opener at York. He was unlucky last time around Chelmsford and he will go very close in this.
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