Jamie Spencer thinks Jack Hobbs will be hard to beat in the Irish Derby
Although I’m not riding in the Irish Derby at the Curragh today, the horse I would want to be on is Jack Hobbs who is a worthy favourite to win this Classic for John Gosden. I think the only danger to him is the ground if it does end up too firm. It’s a small select field and Jack Hobbs has done nothing wrong on his last two runs behind the Derby winner Golden Horn. I would expect Giovanni Canaletto to get closer to him this time but he has a lot to make up on the favourite.
Over at Newmarket, I ride Strathearn in the opening race (1.45pm). I’ve seen him in the field on a gallop and he looks a big horse for his age. He will probably need the run today and I expect him to learn from the experience. Hopefully he can run a good race on debut though. I think John Splendid is the one to beat following his opening start at Newbury where he finished second. The horse that beat him has since come out and won at Salisbury so that form has worked out well.
In the 2.50pm, I’m on White Bullet for Kevin Ryan. She ran a great race first time out in a Listed contest where she finished third, coming home well in the final furlong. It’s been just over six weeks since that outing and Kevin thinks she will come on from the run. We won the race 12 months ago with Calypso Beat and looking at the contest this year from the outside, it does not look the strongest of Listed races so hopefully we will have a strong chance. The top horse Bournemouth Belle is the obvious danger but I think my filly has the best form coming into this.
It’s the Group Three Criterion Stakes at 3.25pm and I board Outback Traveller. He made a good start to the season when finishing second on his opening run of the campaign. He was beaten by Speculative Bid but was giving the horse 14 pounds, which is no easy feat so he ought to have a chance today. He would not want the ground too firm though so any showers would not harm his chances. The big danger is Hors De Combat who ran very well first time out at Ascot. He then featured in the Lockinge so today’s contest is a big step down in class for him.
My ride Tahira will have to defy top weight of 10 stone in the fillies’ handicap at 4.00pm but she has earned that mark as she has been very consistent. I think Urban Castle will have a good chance in this race and is a worthy favourite but Tahira is more than good enough to beat her rivals.
Finally, in the 4.35pm I am riding Chancery who won well on his opening start of his season. You can never discount David O’Meara, as we saw at Royal Ascot last week. It does not look the strongest of races so we are in with a chance. There appears to be a lot of pace in the contest so it might just suit us as he will be staying on late in the race when others may be tiring.