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Kirby Calls It: Lingfield and Kempton

Our new Champion columnist Adam Kirby is determined to win the All-Weather Jockeys’ Championship for the third successive year, but has a new target in his sights this winter. His quest begins this afternoon at Lingfield and continues later this evening at Kempton. Here he shares his thoughts on today’s eight rides.

Lingfield & Kempton
The road to the All-Weather Championship finals next April gets underway this afternoon and so does my attempt at a hat trick of jockey’s titles. I rode 91 winners when I won it in 2012 and 90 last winter so I’m going to have a go at reaching the century this time. It won’t be easy but I’ve been close in the past two years. It’s all about getting on the right horses, staying fit and injury free and avoiding suspensions.

I’ve got eight rides today and hopefully I have a few chances among them. It would be nice to kick start the new season with a few winners! The first one I ride is Hills And Dales. I haven’t ridden him before or sat on him in Mr Appleby’s but I’d be hopeful of a good run. This is his fourth run in a maiden. He was green on his first start but improved and ran well on his second start when he was second at Leicester. I’m not sure if anything came to light after he was beaten favourite on his last run but I’d like to think he’s a lot better than that run. To be honest it doesn’t look a very strong race. The  John Gosden horse was second first time out but has disappointed since and apart from that there isn’t really much else in it. It’s hard to know what to make of the Sir Michael Stoute horse, so we’re going there hopeful rather than very confident.

I ride All Talk N No Do for Seamus Durack in the 2:20 and I’m hoping the horse doesn’t live up to his name! He’s got bits and bobs of form but it’ll be a learning curve. Although, a real plus for him is that he has a got a good draw. You need a good draw over a mile and a quarter at Lingfield so we’re hoping for the best. The top horse Leonard Thomas won first time out and has had a long break but if he’s fit he’d have every chance, but it looks a very open race.

Tearless runs in the 2:50 and she’s a lovely big filly. She ran very well first time out when winning at Goodwood. She went on to win impressively at Salisbury. I rode her that day and I really liked her.  We then stepped her up in trip at Salisbury in a Listed race but between one thing and another she just didn’t fire on that day. She’s a big girl and maybe it all happened a bit quick for her, but we’d be more hopeful on a sound surface and back in trip today. It’s a competitive race but she’s probably my best chance of a winner at Lingfield.

Although that’s not to say Speckled isn’t without a chance either in the 3:20. She won the race last year and is going there well in herself. She’s had 103 days off but she’ll be turning up fit but she has a very bad draw from stall 14. But if we overcome the draw and get a half decent position, you never know she has plenty of ability and should run well.

After that I’m off to Kempton to ride four. I’m riding Major Attitude in the 5:00. It’s over 6 furlongs but unfortunately we have a poor draw here again in gate 10. So he’s going to have to improve and overcome the draw to run his race. I’m on Mission Approved for Mr Cumani in the 5:30. I haven’t ridden the horse before but he’s very consistent, has some decent pieces of form, a good draw and tomorrow could be his day!

In the 6:30 I have one for Mr Appleby. Billingsgate is a nice big framed horse; he’s very strong and has won at the track. I won on him at Doncaster in June when he showed a nice turn of foot but unfortunately he has a bad draw tomorrow night in stall 11. So again we’re going have to play it by ear but hopefully he’s good enough to get us out of trouble. My final ride of the evening is for Mr Dixon. I haven’t ridden Wimboldsley before and it’s his first run on the All-Weather so I don’t know too much about him. He won 3 starts back but has been a little disappointing since, is drawn in the middle, however I don’t know where I am with this horse so we’ll just have to play it by ear and let’s hope he runs well.

Adam

Next Week: Adam gives his ‘Ten to Follow’ throughout the All-Weather Championships.