Jamie Spencer in with a chance of third consecutive Abernant Stakes success aboard Maarek
Terentum Star won well. I was a little bit worried about the draw as he was drawn away from the action but he overcame that. He was always going to win from the two pole. He was one of those horses that was helped by being gelded and he’s a good bit lighter.
Dream Of Dreams ran really well yesterday. They went really fast and he was a little bit lost in the early part of the race. It was only really when we came out of the dip that I was able to really get after him and he made up a lot of ground late. He’s a horse that’s going to improve a huge amount and is one to look forward to.
I was thrilled with Brando’s win. He’s a typical Pivotal as he was a big two year old, showed plenty of speed but never really quickened up. Then last year he won two from three, and he’s got stronger again over the winter. He was smart out of the gates and had the race put to bed at the two pole. He’s a horse that’s going to keep improving.
David Simcock has only had one runner this week and Michael Bell hasn’t had any, so rides have been a bit thin on the ground as you only ride for your main trainers at these early season meetings. So it’s good to have still ridden a couple of winners this week. Kevin’s horses are clearly well forward, and are healthy, so it’s a good start to the season.
I thought Nathra did well in the Nell Gwyn as up until then the horses were winning on the pace. Frankie had to do plenty of racing on the filly in the middle part of the race to get into a position where she wouldn’t get locked in and to make sure the other fillies didn’t get away from her into the dip. She was second last at the half mile pole and upsides the leader at the two pole, so she used plenty of energy between the four and the two poles and then picked up again. I think it was a very good performance and was far superior to the field. On a different day I think you’ll see her in an even better light. Frankie said he’d like to ride her a bit more patiently which is a hard thing to do on the Rowley Mile. There are a lot or ridges out there and if you miss one they can get away from you. She’s improved from two to three, but if there’s one thing she needs it’s a bit of juice in the ground. It was soft on the first day.
In the 2.10 I’m on Perfect Madge for Kevin. He likes her and she’s been going well. We’re all in the same boat as none of the fillies have had a run. The Mark Johnston horse, Camargue, is the obvious starting point when looking for the main danger and she has a reasonable pedigree. David Brown’s filly Quantum Field is another likely type and he’s had two year old winners at this meeting before. But my filly has been training well and I’m hopeful she’ll run well.
I ride Maarek in the 3.55. He ran well last time and the run won’t be lost on him. I’ve won this race for the last two years so hopefully I can make it three years in a row. He’s got a chance. I was riding work this morning and it was drizzling. I wouldn’t mind a bit of rain to kind of freshen the ground up as much as anything else. It was getting a bit tacky yesterday.
Maarek acts on the course. He won on Guineas day in 1946 or something like that. There’s only one way to ride him. You just have to leave him alone in the first half of the race. If you boot him out of the gate and get him travelling up with the pace he just flattens out, and just doesn’t finish his race. But if you leave him alone he then comes good a couple of furlongs out. That’s the way to ride him best. Ideally I’d like a good pace in the race to aim at. We’ll just have to see if we get pace. That would be my only little worry is that there doesn’t look like a huge amount of dash in the race. Stepper Point is fast but he’s never won beyond five and a half so I doubt they’ll be ripping on him.
Maarek is a grand horse and has been good to me over the years, and I just think with the run under his belt, that should set him up.
Monteverdi, my mount in the last at 5.40, won well at Newbury first time out last year. He’s a big strong horse. It’s hard to know where we are with the handicap, as he was given a mark of 86. It’s a tough starting point first time in a handicap against more experienced horses.
Jamie Osborne likes him and we came here, rather than go to Newbury over seven furlongs, because the ground would be a little bit better for his first start of the year. The Martyn Meade horse, Acclaim, was well fancied when he won at Kempton just before Christmas so he’s a danger and the Godolphin horse Yattwee also won well first time out. There are plenty of form horses in the race but hopefully my horse can out up a good show and build on it over the rest of the season.
The ground has gone heavy at Newbury so I’m only riding a couple there tomorrow. David Simcock was going to run quite a nice filly there but didn’t want to start her on testing ground so she’ll wait for nicer ground.
I ride Jet Setter for Brian Meehan in the first at 1.45. I don’t know much about him. Brian has two in the race and the owner used to have Crowded House who I rode so that’s probably why I’m riding him.
I then ride Argocat for Nicky Henderson in the 4.05. Apparently he’s been going well. He’s rated 75 and is 150 or so over fences, so if he can bring some of that jumping form to this that will help. They’ve changed this race to 2m 2f which is a long way and a jumper will win this. He’s had a run so he must have a squeak. We’ll see how he goes.