Jamie Spencer says The Grey Gatsby’s big heart gives him a big chance
In the Coral Charge at 2.00pm I’m on Salt Island. He ran really well at Royal Ascot in The Commonwealth Cup. Obviously that was a Group 1 so dropping back to Group 3 is a help. He’ll run very well just as long as the ground stays fast, he needs fast conditions. I can’t see the dropping back to five furlongs being a problem. It’s a new thing for him but I can’t see it being an issue. He ought to have a good chance. Waady of John Gosden’s has been winning well at Sandown. I think he’s won three times at the track already in a pretty light career. He’s three from six at Sandown. So he looks the one to beat. Salt Island has definitely got his chance. He’s uncomplicated and he can race close to the pace. He’s drawn alongside Stepper Point and there’s not a huge amount of pace. It might pay to be handy in the race and that’s the plan.
You need a lot of luck at Sandown on this five furlong sprint track because it’s kind of on a slant and when horses start getting tired they roll onto the rail rather than off it. So it’s often hard to get a run. You need plenty of luck in running. Sometimes they spread out a bit when they cross the pathway just at the furlong pole so that’s a help, but you always need plenty of luck.
The Commonwealth Cup felt like a good Group 1 race but Salt Island didn’t surprise me as he’s always felt like a good horse. You know he’s just needed a bit of luck. He’s one of those horses. Things haven’t quite gone right for him. The ground wasn’t right for him at Haydock and the time before at Newbury nothing went right and he came home well to be third. So I think he got to show his true potential at Royal Ascot and hopefully he can step up again.
In the Coral Challenge I ride Fire Ship for William Knight. He’s a consistent horse. Always runs well and gets in the placings but he has no secrets from the handicapper. It’s that type of race. When you get into these open handicaps they are all decent horses so he’s got his chance. He has a nice draw in nine as he likes to race close to the pace, so that should help too. Front runners go well at Sandown as there are a lot of ridges up the straight and the home bend is quite tight so it’s one of those courses where you need a lot of luck. It’s tough for horses to make up ground up the straight. It just seems to suit front runners especially when the ground’s fast as you stay over against the far rail.
In the Coral Distaff I’m on Hundi for Charlie Hills. She won her maiden over six furlongs and then she stepped back up to a mile at Royal Ascot and she ran well enough in the Sandringham finishing sixth. She’s got a chance but she’s got plenty of ground to make up with Jellicle Ball, and on the ratings will probably struggle to beat her. Hopefully she can get a bit of black type and a finish in the first three would be great.
I’m really looking forward to riding The Grey Gatsby in the Coral-Eclipse. It’s obviously going to be a very tactical race so it will be interesting to see what happens when the stalls open. Cougar Mountain’s got blinkers on first time and Golden Horn’s won the Derby over a mile and a half so he won’t want a crawl so I think how the race is run tactically will be as interesting as anything else.
Looking back at The Prince of Wales I was just pleased that The Grey Gatsby showed his form. You are always just hoping to get that little bit of luck and we didn’t. He ran great at Ascot but obviously he’s giving 11lbs to Golden Horn who’s a big mature three year old. It’s a lot of weight to give away. Hopefully he’ll go there with a big chance. It’s the first time the three year olds are meeting the older horses so it will tell us where we are with regards to the Derby form.
The Coral-Eclipse is traditionally the first time the classic generation meet their elders so it’s always a poignant part of the season. It puts down the marker for the three year old generation as a whole. You just have to find out how good they are but I was really impressed with Golden Horn when he won at Newmarket earlier in the season. Obviously The Derby he was impressive but when he won at Newmarket on only his second start, what he did that day was spectacular. You have to seriously respect him and obviously John Gosden’s string are in tip top form. So it won’t be easy but we’ll be doing our best to beat him.
The big thing about my horse is that he has a big heart and a big will to win. That’s a big help to start with. With a bit of luck he can give Golden Horn a run for his money. It’s hard to predict whether he’ll beat him but you go out mentally saying yes I can beat him, but until the race happens you can never be sure. It would be nice to win it again.
In the Coral Marathon I ride Forgotten Voice for Nicky Henderson. He was good on his first start this season just behind Aussie Reigns. I fancy him to turn the tables on that horse. Havana Beat ran a good race in the Ascot Gold Cup. He was only beaten five lengths so he looks like he’ll be tough to beat. He ran well the time before at York too. I wouldn’t be surprised if Forgotten Voice put up a good show. It doesn’t look the strongest race. He’s not without a chance.