Jamie Spencer gives his views on Sandown, Belmont and Monmouth
Grade 1 Belmont Derby – Belmont Park Saturday
In the Belmont Derby Toast Of New York races on turf for the first time since his debut and that’s the one unknown. But we’ve always thought he would go on turf it’s just the way things have panned out that he hasn’t been running on it. He’s done a lot of work on turf and has been to Newbury galloping and his work has been good. Of his opponents Adelaide ran really well at Royal Ascot. He’s out of a Queen Mary winner so maybe the mile and a half at Ascot stretched his stamina. Eagle Top beat him comprehensively but maybe it was the trip that beat him. I think a mile and a quarter going left handed will suit him a lot better. I wouldn’t swap my fellow though.
We are going to be very positive. Bobby’s Kitten ran in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf last year and he did 22 seconds for the first quarter and then got run down by Outstrip. He’s clearly a fast horse. But he’s the only one that looks like it might put pace to the race. From memory the owner went berserk at the jockey at the Breeders Cup so maybe he won’t go so fast here. Ideally I’ll be positive on my horse and sit in the first two or three, and see how it pans out. He’s made the running three times and the only reason we didn’t lead in Dubai was because there was pacemaker in the race for the Godolphin runner. He’s adaptable in that way and what you need in American turf races is to be able to sit close to the pace because there’s generally not a strong pace in the East Coast races. I’ve ridden a few times round the track and won on Cape Blanco a couple of times here. It’s a very straightforward track maybe a bit bigger than most US turf tracks so generally they don’t go as fast there. My horse has a huge big stride on him and I’m looking forward to riding him.
Grade 1 United Nations – Monmouth on Sunday:
Side Glance runs in the United Nations at Monmouth. It’s a very open race and obviously it’s a one mile and three furlong race which is the furthest Side Glance has ever been. That will test him but he ran well in Singapore, he ran well in Dubai, not so well at Royal Ascot but that was a mile and against good opposition so you can forgive him that. It looks a good spot for him. We know he travels well and whilst I’m not saying he’ll win, it looks an open race and he has a chance. He’s a seven year old in a Grade 1 race so I’m under no illusions that it’s a tough task but he ought to have a good chance.
We are hoping that with the distance it will give him a chance to travel, and as it’s a US Turf race he should be able to get forward easily enough and sit close to the pace which he likes to do. The problem back home is that they go fast from the stalls and he gets outpaced at the start of the race and gets in a position you don’t want to be in. Being out here in America should suit. He was quite unlucky in the Arlington Million when he finished third and got hampered by Little Mike at a vital stage. On pedigree Side Glance wasn’t even bred to get a mile and a quarter that strongly but he’s kind of a unique type of horse, he just keeps going and is very genuine. I think he wasn’t really stopping over a mile and a quarter in Australia so hopefully we’ll get a good draw and a nice clean run and he should have a chance.
The more you do these US trips the more used to them you become. I’ve been coming to Belmont now for 10 years so I know most of the riders and it’s something I look forward to and obviously when you’ve got a chance it helps!
A lot depends on the weather first and foremost. I think for The Fugue drawn one will mean it will be a difficult race for William as she likes to sit close to the pace but if you get stuck on the rail at Sandown, as Ouija Board did a few years ago, it can be a nightmare of a track to ride. It will be interesting to see what tactics William uses on The Fugue. I imagine his priority will be to get off the rail and ride his race from there. Night of Thunder on pedigree should stay. An interesting one might be Trading Leather back at ten furlongs. He’s a high class horse Trading Leather but he was very disappointing first time up.
If the rain comes though the one you’d have to be on is Kingston Hill. I can’t believe he is such a big price versus Night Of Thunder given his run in The Derby. Sandown is a very stiff track and you know he’s going to stay the trip well. The three year olds look a decent crop on ratings but they’ve all still got to go to beat The Fugue. But then you’ve got to remember that last year The Fugue ran at Royal Ascot and then completely bombed out in the Eclipse. No matter what Championship race you run in you never have an easy race so it will be tough for her. It will be run at a very strong pace as you’ve the pace maker Somewhat and Mukhadram, who I’m sure they’ll make plenty of use of. It will be a true run race and you’ll need to get the trip well, and The Fugue will as she’s got good mile and half form but also plenty of pace for a mile and a quarter. If she gets a smooth trip then the rest of them have a bit of ground to make up to beat her. Basically if it stays dry I think she’s the one they all have to beat but if it rains then Kingston Hill will be equally hard to beat.
Stepper Point has the form in the book but something always seems to come by him. He’s drawn out a bit wide so he may have to work a bit hard to get to the lead. He’s still the one they all have to beat on ratings but I wouldn’t be surprised if something ran him down late. Wind Fire won at the track last time out. She likes Sandown and is 2 from 2 there and should go well. It’s a very open race, and you could probably have a few stabs at it. Stepper Point found plenty at Ascot as I got to him on Hot Streak but he rallied and held on for second so you’d have to respect him on that showing.
Gabrial’s Kaka ran well in the Royal Hunt Cup and he’s another who would be helped if it rained. This isn’t the strongest of races and you know he gets the trip well so I thought he’d have a really good chance in this. The strength and depth of this race isn’t near the Royal Hunt Cup so he really ought to go well. He is still a very reasonable price. Stoute’s horse Russian Realm is not really a glutton for the trip. He’s basically been running 7 furlongs and has been beaten at both Sandown and Ascot over a mile. I think seven furlongs may be the best trip for him.
Queen Catrine has an obvious chance on the form book. It’s a different test for her as there are just six runners and she won’t get a strong pace compared to Royal Ascot where she did get a strong pace to run at. I don’t think there’ll be as much between her and Crowley’s Law this time. I liked Crowley’s Law before Ascot and thought she just raced too keenly, and given the strong pace she paid for it. Queen Catrine is probably the best filly in the race and should be hard to beat
Domination was very impressive at Ascot and came from a long way back. There was obviously a strong pace there but he was a worthy winner. This is a different task today having gone from running in a handicap over two and a half miles to running in a Listed race over two miles but he’s a classy horse and even over jumps he’s shown a turn of foot which will suit Sandown. There’s not stand out horse in the race. He’s got a few pounds to find with Whiplash Willie and Havana Beat but I thought Domination would be quite hard to beat.