Jamie Spencer dreaming of Derby glory on Deauville
I ride High Grounds in the first at 2.00pm. He has a nice draw and he obviously ran in a couple of classy trials after winning his maiden. He was third at Sandown behind Midterm and Algometer on soft ground which probably wouldn’t be his surface. Then he went to Chester in what turned out to be an inconclusive race. They went very slow and he didn’t really settle. It was a messy race and he got messed about in it. Now back in a handicap off a rating of 93 you’d have to say he has a chance. Poet’s Word looks a big danger and he’s drawn beside me. But then he’s just won a maiden so it’s probably quite an open race.
In the second race I’m on Merry Me for Andrew Balding at 2.35pm. She’s basically just going to try and pick up third place. It’s a tough enough race for her against a couple of decent French fillies, particularly Sayana.
I’m back on Second Step in the 3.10pm, the Coronation Cup. This looks a very competitive race. I rode Purple Moon for the owner Craig Bennett and also won a Group 1 on Second Step for him last year in Germany. This looks a tough race. I’m under no illusions. Craig would be delighted if we could nick third. He bred the horse as well and has the dam so a Group 1 placing in this contest would benefit the family from a breeding perspective. The ground will play an important part in this race. Postponed only just beat Eagle Top in the King George on softish ground, which suggests he may have limitations when the ground is on the soft side. Softish ground would suit Simple Verse. I thought she would be hard to beat.
Aidan rang me on Wednesday to tell me I was riding Deauville in the Derby. I was on the way to Nottingham when he called me and said that Ryan had chosen US Army Ranger and that I was going to ride Deauville. It’s worked out well and I’m looking forward to it.
He was a high class two year old. He won a Group race at seven furlongs, and then he was second in the Royal Lodge after a couple of months off. Then he was bogged down in the Racing Post Trophy but he came back and ran a career best in the Dante. He came from an outside stall too. Ryan said after the race that he would have liked the leader in the Dante to have carried him a bit further, as he was left in front two and a half out. He would ideally have been given a lead for a furlong further. That was the way the race panned out and he got run down by Wings of Desire. He has to make up a bit of distance with Wings of Desire but I hope all that experience as a two year old will count. It was also his first run of the season and Wings of Desire had already had two runs. That neck between them isn’t much given all of that. My biggest concern is that I’d like to see the ground drying out a bit. He’s out of a Danehill mare and is a beautiful mover so ideally he’d like drier ground.
I’d rather be drawn out a bit, then in 1 to 4. If you are on the inside your die is cast and you have to make use of your horse or you get shuffled back, so an outside draw is better. I’ll have a chat with Aidan and Ryan and Seamus and the lads and see what everyone’s thinking. It’s exciting to be riding a horse that’s so close to the front of the market in the Derby. It’s a very open Derby and so I’m tickled pink.
The Derby is the biggest Flat race in England all year, so it would be nice if he ran a big one. I think he can, I can’t see many chinks in him. The weather is the main thing to keep an eye on.
In the 5.15pm I ride Ladurelli for Paul Cole. He’s a lightly raced horse that won a maiden at Chelmsford towards the end of last year. He then ran OK in his first start in a handicap which is never easy. It’s his first start of the season and he goes there with a nice racing weight. He’s a little bit inexperienced but they are happy with him and it’s a nice place for him to start.
Then in the last race at 5.50pm I ride George Bowen. He’s a six and a half furlong horse really so he might lack the pace for Epsom down the hill but he will be coming home good. He’s crept up the weights which won’t make it easy for him but we’ll give it a shot.