Crowley Calls It: “He’s a Royal Ascot winner who will love this trip”
The Champion Jockey previews his rides on day three of the Ebor Festival and reflects on his Juddmonte win
1.55 – Sky Bet Handicap
I won on Fidaawy at Doncaster earlier in the season, and then last time at Ascot we were badly hampered and lost all chance. We’re drawn in 11 here and I’d like to be quite prominent on him, Sir Michael Stoute’s horses are in good form, he’s a nice, straightforward horse who would have each-way chances but could find one or two too good for him here.
2.25 – Lonsdale Cup Stakes
I’ve picked up a lovely ride in the Lonsdale Cup, on Thomas Hobson for Willie Mullins. He’s a Royal Ascot winner who will love this trip, we look to have Dartmouth to beat, that one’s trying two miles for the first time so we’ll have to see if that suits the Queen’s horse. Dal Harraild is another decent rival, Sheikhzayedroad is a solid horse but hasn’t shown his best form this season so far, and I’d have to think my fella has got a really good chance.
3.00 – City of York Stakes
Rusumaat was a winner for us at Newbury last month, that was on soft ground and he’s got winning form on quicker ground as well, so we’ve no going concerns here. He’s a tough horse, and over 7 furlongs or a mile, he’s versatile trip wise as well.York should play to his strengths and I’m hopeful he’ll run a big race.
3.35 – Nunthorpe Stakes
The big one on day three is the Coolmore Nunthorpe, and I’m really looking forward to riding Battaash. If any more rain came, I don’t think it would be a problem for him, as he won on soft at Goodwood, but he’s also won on good to firm. Our main rival, Lady Aurelia, would love it really quick, so any rain would only enhance our chances. Everyone is looking forward to this, it promises to be a great race, and while it looks to be between us and Lady Aurelia, it would be dangerous to write off top class horses like Marsha and Profitable, although we have beaten both of those.
I’m really looking forward to this, riding these top class horses in the Group Ones is what this job is all about, and it would be lovely to win this for the boss, Sheikh Hamdan, in the first year of me riding for him. I wouldn’t swap this fella for anything else in the race!
4.15 – Maiden Stakes
In the very valuable maiden I ride Gabr for Sheikh Hamdan. I haven’t ridden him in a race, he’s only had the one run, when he blew the start at Newmarket, but I’ve ridden him in work, he’s a nice horse and I’d like to think he’ll progress a lot from that debut run, where he would have learned plenty. He’s got a lovely pedigree and I hope he can make into a nice horse.
4.50 – Nationwide Handicap
My final ride of the day is Mojito for William Haggas. He’s won his last two so is on a lovely upward curve, and has won on soft and good to firm, so he’s another one I have no ground concerns for. He’s a progressive horse who should have a favourite’s chance, so I’m very hopeful of ending the day with a winner.
Juddmonte Interantional Review
Looking back to Wednesday’s Juddmonte International, and what a fantastic ride Ulysses gave me. It was probably the race of the season, and beating horses of the quality of Churchill, Barney Roy, Cliffs Of Moher, in the way he did, he just showed how good he is.
He’s trained by an absolute genius, and Sir Michael [Stoute] has got this horse to keep improving.To be travelling on the bridle in a Group One, against horses of that calibre, really is a bit special.
It was the fourth time I rode him, we’ve got a great rapport now, I’ve got confidence in the horse now and know what he’s capable of, and that’s really important, as I know that I can sit and wait in the race, and when I do press the button, I know what’s there.
This time last year I was racking up the winners as I went after the championship, this summer I really feel like I’m reaping the rewards of all that hard work, with wins in some of the biggest races of the summer. My agent [Tony Hind] said to me, we’ve won the championship, now let’s take it to the next level and ride the big horses in the big races, that’s what it’s all about as champion!