Jamie thinks Maarek can go well on first start at Donnie
Big Orange ran a great race last week in Dubai. It was run at a true pace which suited him. I think the weight for age worked out pretty fair as we gave Vazirabad 4lbs, as Christophe put up 2lbs overweight. All the horses were breathing down my neck when we turned into the straight and we ended up pulling five lengths clear of the third. I think it was a career best for Big Orange. Vazirabad is already a Group 1 winner, and to win the Prix Royal Oak as a three year old, he has to be a decent horse to do that. He’s a typical Aga Khan horse, always improving, so everyone connected with Big Orange were delighted with his run.
The Corsican got messed about a bit after a couple of furlongs in the Dubai Turf, and that probably cost me a place. The trip was probably a little on the sharp side for him but he ran a good race and looks like he’s going to have a good summer ahead of him. He covered the last furlong quicker than any other horse, and was finishing strongly.
The start to the Flat season in the UK is a bit ‘stop-start’ but I’m looking forward to Donnie. There’s then ten days to the Craven meeting which is a bit of a wait.
In the 2.15 the Spring Mile I ride Examiner. He goes up and down in distance between nine and ten furlongs so a mile might be on the sharp side. But the ground is testing so that should help him. I thought Keystroke, who I’ve ridden, looked interesting. He’s a nice horse and will like the soft ground. Also the William Haggas horse Predominance looked a promising horse last year so should go well.
In the Cammidge Trophy at 3.20 I ride Maarek. If he is fit and ready to go, he could go well. He’s got the strongest form in the race. Jack Dexter has only won one race in the last three years. Maarek generally needs his first run but he did run well at Naas last year first time out and the ground wasn’t soft enough. So if the ground is soft tomorrow and they have overnight rain forecast, then it should suit. The David O’Meara horse Suedois is a bit of an unknown so be interesting to see how he goes. I found out last year that there is plenty of life left in Maarek. He’s an interesting horse to ride. I just leave him alone in the first half of the race and he then comes home strongly in the second half of it. We’ll see how fit he is. Evanna only has a small string so she doesn’t have much to work him with. He usually needs a race or two to find his peak form.
I’m on Calling Out in the Doncaster Mile at 3.55. He looks to have it to do at the ratings against Belardo and Muwaary. I thought Muwaary was very interesting. He hasn’t run for a couple of years and looked a really nice horse in the French Guineas and the fact that they’ve kept him in training and he’s ready to start this early in the year is a positive sign in itself.
The Lincoln looks wide open as always. A lot of it boils down to how good Lord of the Land is first time out for David O’Meara. On pedigree he doesn’t look a glutton for a strongly run mile on soft ground. Udododontu looked a promising horse last year and did well in Dubai. He should go well.
Then on Sunday I ride Swift Approval in the 1.50 for Kevin Ryan. He’s a nice horse and was unfortunate not to win last year. It took me a while to learn how to ride him. He likes to be dropped in. Kevin’s horses are in good shape and he would have an each way chance.
I ride George Cinq for George Scott who was assistant to Michael Bell a few years ago. He got the horse from Michael Bell’s and this six furlong trip will be a bit sharp. He generally needs a run or two to pull himself together, especially as he’s getting older. It’s a watching brief but hopefully he’ll run a nice race.