Jamie Spencer says both his have squeaks on opening day of the Craven
I have a couple of rides on the first day at the Craven. Even though it’s my local track at Newmarket, I can never really remember the Craven meeting being hugely exciting for me. That said I usually always manage to ride a winner, in fact I had a couple of winners at last year’s meeting, so hopefully I can ride a winner this week.
Both my rides are trained by Kevin Ryan and will need to step up a bit on form to win. I haven’t been up to ride at Kevin’s yet but I will pitch up and ride out once we get to Guineas time as we’ve got the York Dante meeting and the like to prepare for.
Terentum Star in the 3.20 will like the ground. He has a nice draw and has won at Newmarket before on the other track and is only 5lbs higher than when he won. He’s been gelded and he’s a heavy horse, so the gelding will hopefully have knocked a bit of weight off him. We’ll see how he pulls it all together. He should have a squeak. I thought the big danger would be Desert Force. I think he could be quite hard to beat. He wasn’t a bad horse last year and seems well enough handicapped.
I ride Ashadihan in the Nell Gwyn at 4.30. She was second at Royal Ascot last year and then got badly hampered in The Lowther after which she was simply never going. Kevin said she then did a lot of growing throughout the summer so she actually went a bit weak after being a strongish enough early two year old. So he gave her loads of time. He’s happy with her. She worked quite well last week and it’s a good starting point for her.
It looks a warm race. I thought Frankie’s filly, Nathra, back to seven furlongs and with some juice in the ground, would be hard to beat. She looks a nice filly. You can never discount Aidan’s, Coolmore, or the filly of Richard Hannon’s, Illuminate, that did all the winning last year. I have half a length to make up on Illuminate from Royal Ascot, but it all depends on which one’s done best physically since then. Illuminate was strong and precocious and she went to the Breeders Cup which is never easy for any horse, so we’ll see. Maybe my filly has made up the ground with her. We’ll have a crack anyway.
This week there are plenty of breeze-ups so I will be keeping an eye on that too. I rode 37 of them two weeks ago and a few of them went up to the sales this morning. I was pleased that the four I liked were in the top ten of the breeze up times, so just rubber-stamping what I thought of them. It’s an area that really interests me. The last time I dabbled in buying and selling was two years ago, which went really well but then I didn’t have one last year or for this year. It just didn’t happen. I went to the sales and looked at them but I’m a little bit finicky and they have to be almost too perfect for me to buy. I’m a bit careful. When the right horse comes, I’d buy it. I bought one for 55,000 euros and made 750 grand two years ago so you don’t need to rush back in a hurry. I’d rather just keep my powder dry until the situation arises.
So I’m just keeping my hand in. A friend of mine set up a syndicate where the members buy eight two year olds and they all get sold at the end of their two year old career, and I helped them out a little with that and gave them my list of which horses I did, or didn’t like, so it will be interesting to see how that all works out. It’s a rich man’s game that’s all I can say.