Jamie Spencer gives his verdict on six strong rides at York
Winning the Victoria Cup on Saturday on Speculative Bid was great. He’s a good horse. He’s gone up another 10lbs for winning the race but he’s improving very fast and he was scintillating on Saturday. It’s a thrill riding a winner of a big handicap. A lot happens very quickly. He was last at the two furlong pole and he was in front at the furlong pole, so you need a lot of luck to be able to weave your way through. The luck went my way on Saturday but when you’re travelling well it seems to happen a lot slower than it looks watching on TV.
David Elsworth is a horseman first and foremost and when I went out he said that the ground might be an issue but as we were racing uphill it might be ok – generally when the ground is firm it’s racing downhill that causes the damage. So he told me to see how he was handling it and if the horse wasn’t liking it and wasn’t performing don’t be too hard on him, but if the horse is going well then take it as it comes. I thought he would run a big race as he was at the right end of the weights and I didn’t think he got to show himself in his best light at Kempton the time before.
David was thrilled with the win because it’s been a long road with the horse. He got injured last May and it took a long time to get him back. He’s improved significantly since his first win, and I think when the ground’s on the soft side you’ll see a way better horse.
Today I ride Edmaaj in the first at York at 2.10pm for JP McManus. I’m going for the job! He’s had quite a long time off. He did well for David O’Meara a couple of seasons ago. It’s probably a watching brief for him. I think this is a very, very good race. Whatever Mahsoob has done in a previous life he obviously did something bad to whoever hands out the draws at the BHA because he was drawn out in the car park last time at Newbury and he’s the same again today. He looked a horse full of promise last time and I think it will take a while for the handicapper to catch up with him. Satellite was disappointing late on last season but he’s been gelded since and has the hood back on so could be a well handicapped horse if William Haggas has got him settled down over the winter.
I’m on Bogart in the 2.40pm. He has good track form. He ran well at Beverley on his first start this year coming third. Hopefully he’s improved a little bit and off a mark of 94 he’s well handicapped on his old form. He looks to have a great chance. I thought Polybius would be the danger if fully fit but some of David Lanigan’s have improved for their first run so the fact that Bogart has had a run should give him a good chance in this. You can put a line through Blaine’s last run. He’s run twice at Newmarket and come last both times. The ground was too quick last time so he’s back on easier ground here. Amy Ryan gets on really well with him, much better than I do. I could get a donkey to run faster than I can get Blaine to run!
In the 3.15pm I ride Astaire. He’s a nice ride. He won well last time out at Newmarket. He was a Group 1 winner as a two year old. He was just beaten in this race last year, so the form is there for all to see. He has an obvious chance but I think it’s a very competitive race. Lightning Moon was a good horse last year and Muthmir looked really good in the Portland. But I just thought Naadirr would be extremely hard to beat. He gave Astaire 3lbs and a length and three quarters beating last time, so Astaire will have to have improved a good deal since then, and that’s if Naadirr hasn’t improved too. They are both rated 111 so it will be a tight race and Naadirr will be hard to beat.
In the Musidora I think Star of Seville will win. She’s a big strong galloping mare and she gets the trip really well. I can see Frankie letting her really bowl along and keep stretching. Together Forever won the Fillies Mile so she’s no mug but she’s giving 4lbs to Star of Seville who has had the benefit of a run already will be a tough task for her. The Oaks is wide open. The thing about Found is that while she’s by Galileo she’s out of Red Evie who I used to ride and won two Group 1s at a mile but I always thought was better at seven furlongs. So Found wouldn’t be rubber-stamped to really stay. I know Ryan loves her but the Oaks is definitely very open at this stage.
I’m on Mount Tahan in the 4.20pm. He won his maiden well at Wetherby last time. He was gelded over the winter which settled him down a bit as he was a bit flighty at two. He won his race by four and a half lengths pretty easily so off a mark of 84 from the inside draw he looks to have a chance. There doesn’t seem to be many unexposed horses in the race and he’s one of the least exposed so he ought to have a good chance.
I ride Areen on his racecourse debut in the 4.50pm. I haven’t sat on him but I know Kevin Ryan likes him. Obviously it’s a tough race for a first start but Kevin likes to introduce horses at York. Firstly, because it’s just down the road and secondly, it’s a nice track. He does tend to introduce his nicer two year olds there too. I think Frankie’s horse Dheban will be hard to beat. He ran well at Newmarket getting tired late on but for an inexperienced horse he did well to rally the way he did.
In the last the 5.20pm I’m on Bogardus. It’s over from Ireland, and looks to have OK form. It hasn’t won over as far as this but has won a couple at around a mile and a quarter. It will be interesting to see how he runs. I’ve never ridden for the trainer before and I’ve never ridden the horse so I’m kind of in the dark.
It’s a busy day with six rides most of them with good chances but it’s very competitive racing so if I can just get one winner on the board I’ll be delighted.