Jamie Spencer excited about his big race rides in Dubai
Looking ahead to the season, I’ll be riding for the same people as I did last year, David Simcock, Michael Bell and Kevin Ryan, and with Jim Crowley no longer retained by James and Fitri Hay, I’ll be riding a lot more for them as well. I’m in good shape physically. I’ve been training hard for the last two weeks to be ready for this meeting and the start to the main Flat season, and I’m feeling fit and ready.
If days like today didn’t get you excited then nothing would. I look at today as the start of the season, and then Doncaster next weekend kicks it off in England, and it just starts rolling after that.
Dubai Gold Cup – Big Orange
I ride Big Orange in the Dubai Gold Cup. Obviously you have to respect the top horse, Vazirabad, as he’s unbeaten in his last five starts. He’s meant to be getting 6lbs from me but on Super Saturday Christophe Soumillon did a pound overweight when riding at 9 stone so it’s not going to be easy for him to do 8 stone 8lbs today. I’m guessing he’s going to do a little bit of overweight on him.
I think Big Orange has less to prove than Manatee and Vazirabad. He’s gone well on fast ground, he’s won a couple of Group 2s at a mile and a half, and two miles. We know he stays and we know he can travel as he flew to Melbourne and ran a huge race there. So my horse has less to prove but then maybe Vazirabad is in a different league so we’ll just have to see how good he is.
Big Orange ran an absolute blinder in Melbourne. He was badly handicapped really in Melbourne and got more weight than he deserved, when you look at weights given to the other European runners. But he got an easy enough lead, and ran a blinder coming back again at the finish. He would have been fourth in another few strides.
This race today looks an easy race for me to ride. He’s drawn nicely in seven and the only other pace in the race is Certerach in six, so I can decide after a furlong and a half whether I’m going to lead or sit second. It should be nice and straightforward tactically.
The turf course is very fair. It’s a big galloping track with a two and a half furlong straight, so it gives every horse a chance. Big Orange needs a big galloping track, he needs to get rolling. He’s not going to win a sprint. You have to ration out his stamina and this track should suit him perfectly.
Dubai Turf – The Corsican
I’m really looking forward to riding The Corsican in the Dubai Turf. I think he’s gone in a little under the radar. When you look through his form over ten furlongs he’s only been beaten twice, once when he had trouble in running in the Prince of Wales but still wasn’t beaten far, and a second time on the soft ground in the Champion Stakes which didn’t suit him but he still didn’t disgrace himself either. I like to think he’s improved and we are really happy with him. He did a good gallop at Kempton and he’s been working well.
You have to respect Tryster but on all known form the horses he’s beaten in the two trials here wouldn’t be up to a whole pile. Yes he’s been really impressive but I’d be disappointed if The Corsican couldn’t do the same to those horses. Intilaaq is very lightly raced and has obviously got loads of potential, but he needs to step up on what he’s shown so far.
The nine furlong trip shouldn’t be a problem. The Corsican’s dam did all her winning over nine furlongs so even though he’s by Galileo there’s a lot of speed on his dam’s side. David said to me a few weeks ago that he felt The Corsican was a quicker horse than some of the other good ones he’s had, that he has more pace than Trade Storm, and more pace than I’m A Dreamer. The distance just isn’t something I’d worry about.
With Intilaaq coming back from ten and a half furlongs to nine, and with connections also having Ghaamer who always front runs in the race, I’d be surprised if they didn’t want to set a really good even gallop for Intilaaq. What Tryster does best is to quicken off a slow pace, so it will be interesting to see if he can quicken as well off a fast pace.
At the end of the day The Prince of Wales run when The Corsican was fourth beaten just a couple of lengths is really high class form, and if he ran to that level of form today he’d be really competitive, and I’d like to think he’s a better horse now than he was then.
In the Godolphin Mile I think Marking is superior to Sloane Avenue. I beat Sloane Avenue last time out at Kempton and, while I know he needed the run, for me he’d need to step up a good bit on that performance.
In the UAE Derby I think this trip is the outer limits of Polar River’s stamina. She wasn’t very impressive last time out. Doug O’Neill has brought Frank Conversation over and he wouldn’t have done so unless he seriously thought he had a good chance of beating her. I spoke to his assistant yesterday and they are pretty confident of a big show from him. Polar River may well have overweight as well as Pat Dobbs won’t be able to do 8 stone 5lbs.
Al Quoz Sprint
I’ve been really impressed with Ertijaal, the favourite for The Al Quoz Sprint. I rode in the race when he broke the track record here earlier in the season. If he can pitch up in that kind of form I think he’ll be very hard to beat. You have to respect Sole Power. He’s last year’s winner and has run well here on many occasions and is probably the big danger.
X Y Jet is very consistent. He just wins so that’s a good sign. But I was very impressed with Muarrab last time and if he got a good start he could give them all a big run for their money.
Like everyone I’ve been really impressed with Postponed. He looked amazing on the gallops when I saw him the other morning. He’s had a prep run which is a big help and he’s been over here a while, and based on the great shape he’s in, he’s clearly acclimatised really well. You have to respect Duramente and Highland Reel, it’s between those three, but I just think Postponed has the strongest form and has the perfect profile. The fact that he was winning on soft ground last year when he wants fast ground shows how good he is.
Dubai World Cup
I think the draw is a big help to California Chrome. A lot of people will look at his draw in eleven as a negative but I don’t see it like that. I think it means Victor Espinoza will be able to force William Buick’s hand early. It will be interesting to see how William plays the race because you know Victor is going to have California Chrome really handy on the outside. Last year it went against him because they went a really hard gallop down the backstraight and he was four wide and they all basically softened each-other up for the winner Prince Bishop to come through and take the race. The horse has had a different preparation this year and had a run here so we know he’s hard fit. I just can’t see him being beaten by Frosted. The rest of the field have plenty to find. I’m a full blown Chromie.