Jamie Spencer looks ahead to his Saturday rides at Newbury
Looking back at the Dante I was really pleased with Arod’s run. We had decided to drop him in, and get him relaxed but after 100 yards I was kind of half kicking myself that we hadn’t gone forward and dropped right behind Ryan on The Great Gatsby because I felt he was kind of asleep with me out the back. What I liked about Arod is that he had to make up all that ground just to get into a challenging position and then there was a period he was a bit green but when I gave him a backhander I was really surprised at the way he picked up. He made up so much ground and was only beaten ¾ length. I couldn’t have been happier with him. After the Dante we now know he’s a good horse, we know he can settle, we know he’ll be a lot better on faster ground, and whilst everyone wants to win, there were a lot of positives to take from the performance.
I haven’t spoken to Peter Chapple-Hyam or Sheikh Fahad since about it but I presume all roads will lead to Epsom unless the Sheikh chooses to go elsewhere. I can’t see why the horse doesn’t deserve to go to Epsom and he probably wants further than the Dante trip too. True Story had run in The Fielden which was a proper educational race for a horse and The Great Gatsby had run in races like the Champagne last year, the Racing Post Trophy and the 2000 Guineas. Arod had only had a run around in a maiden last year, and then won a maiden last month comfortably and yesterday was the first time he’d ever had a smack in his life and I was slightly surprised by how well he responded to it. York is hard to make up ground especially when the ground is loose like that. He’s a very good horse. Is he good enough to win the Derby? I don’t know but I’d hope he’ll run a very big race.
In the Middleton I had a feeling Ambivalent would be hard to beat. In Dubai she was third just behind Cirrus Des Aigles and Gentildonna which is top class form for a filly. We were going to hold up our filly, Secret Gesture, but I had a chat with the boss and we decided instead to go forward and use Ambivalent as a lead horse and see where that takes us. The race worked out well we just couldn’t get by her. She’s not a very big filly and the ground all comes alike to her and in her defence it was her first run of the season whereas Ambivalent ran in Dubai seven weeks ago and would have been pretty fit. We were certainly happy enough.
Looking ahead to my rides at Newbury today, I ride two debutants for Ismail Mohammed. They like New Story in the 1.30 Newbury but it’s his first time out and he’ll need the run. It’s a watching brief and they’ll just be looking for him to run well. He’ll certainly improve for it. The same comments apply to Jailawi in the 4.25 Newbury. It’s a watching brief, just having a look at him and we hope he’ll run well.
I ride Mount Athos in the Aston Park Stakes (2.05 Newbury). It looks a hot race. I thought Battalion might be hard enough to beat. He was very impressive last time out at Ripon but Mount Athos is the form horse. He ran well in Dubai in the Gentildonna race only beaten 3 lengths. He’s got stronger form than Battalion but Battalion has lots of potential. I’d like to think Mount Athos can go close.
In the Lockinge Olympic Glory has the best form and only ran disappointingly twice last year when he was drawn out in the car park in the French Guineas and at Santa Anita when the ground was firm and he was probably over the top. But he ran in lots of Group 1s and always shaped up well and though he wears blinkers he’s very genuine. It will be interesting to see what Aidan’s horse Verazzano will be like. We don’t know how good he is. Chopin ran very well in Germany on his first start this season. We were very happy with him. He needed it as it was his first run since Royal Ascot last year. He probably has Olympic Glory to beat. But my fellow has had a run, he won’t mind the ground and is in good form so we’ll see where that takes us”.