The Fallon Factor: “I know the lads at Ballydoyle fancy Idaho”
The multiple Champion Jockey previews Saturday’s fantastic card at Ascot
The King George is one of the best races of the year and the race this year looks a cracker with the likes of Enable, Highland Reel and Idaho lining up.
The only place to start is Enable. She’s a filly I’ve always liked and she’s the one they all have to beat. The fact Frankie Dettori is getting down to near his minimum weight to ride her shows how highly she’s regarded.
It’s horrible and hard getting down to your minimum. It’s not just that you’ve not eaten the day before the race, you’ve not eaten for the week before and you’re just picking, picking at bits and pieces. You are slightly weaker, but when you get out there on the horse everything changes. Adrenaline takes over and you don’t feel any hunger, but you get so thirsty after the race
The mental challenge is the main thing as it takes so much to get there. It’s not nice but that’s why you do it for the best horses. That’s why Frankie is doing it for Enable. So the task the others are facing to beat here is a big one, but there’s no value in her price and a couple of others appeal to me. Anyone that’s read my blogs this year knows how much I love Highland Reel. He appealed to me before the rain came and the ground is going to be an issue for him, unfortunately.
Instead his brother Idaho is more interesting. I know the lads at Ballydoyle fancy Idaho and even though Ryan Moore is on Highland Reel, Seamie Heffernan gets a great tune out of Idaho. He’s a really interesting horse against Enable.
I really like our horse Benbatl too. He won the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot last time on ground he didn’t like last time – he hates fast ground.
The three-year-olds get a big weight allowance and Benbatl is in stall one which is good as he’ll be able to save ground all the way round. He’s has done nothing but improve, he’s won on ground he doesn’t like and will love it on Saturday. Saeed Bin Suroor’s horses are flying at the moment and he looks an absolutely picture – he couldn’t look better. He comes out well on the figures and I think he’s well overpriced.
Having dismissed his chances in the Coral-Eclipse, I better mention Ulysses as well. I was very surprised Ulysses was able to beat Barney Roy at Sandown, but he’s a typical Sir Michael Stoute improver. Stoutey is so good with these horses and that’s because he gives them time and let’s them mature. He targets races a long way off and he only ever enters horses in races he thinks they have a chance of winning. If he manages to win this I’ll be surprised again.
The other big race on Saturday is the International Handicap and it features a horse I really like in Fastnet Tempest. He was unlucky in the Royal Hunt Cup and is ridden by Ryan Moore. I’d say Ryan would’ve had the pick of pretty much any horse in this race, so you have to take that as a big clue to his chances.