Jamie Spencer’s views on the Investec Derby and his mount Arod
I’m convinced that Arod would have won the Dante had James Fanshawe’s horse Saab Almanal not been in the race. For the first half mile of the race I was afraid to light my horse up so I just stayed tracking him, but he took me out of the race. All of a sudden I was six lengths off the horses tracking the pace so basically I had to move between the 6 furlong pole and the 4 furlong pole and used a good bit of energy to get into position. Then all of a sudden three out I thought he was in trouble and got after him and I was really surprised at how tough he was. It was the first time he’d got a smack in his life and he really took off. That race will be the making of him and I’ve ridden him since and he’s really come forward. He’s a horse that’s doing really well physically. I’m not saying he’ll win but I think he’ll put up a big show. He’s drawn three and when you’re drawn inside you have to take a position. You have to jump, make your horse go forward. With Arod that’s a little bit difficult as he’s a pacey horse and you don’t want to light him up. The good thing about Epsom though is that the first four furlongs are uphill so it’s very rare that a horse will run too keen against the incline. In essence everyone jumps and goes really, really fast until you get across to the inside rail and then the race settles down. The first three furlongs is all about getting your position and then getting into a good rhythm. My guy’s a good breaker so I’ll be looking to get a position in midfield with a bit of cover and just settle down. There’s a lot of fancied horses drawn high so you’ve got to take them into account. I’ve watched the Derrinstown Stud Stakes loads of times and I have a sneaky suspicion that Geoffrey Chaucer could be a very, very good horse. He’s a half-brother to Shamardal so he’s bred to be good. He’s by Montjeu and these ‘Montjeu’s’ just light up when they race over a mile and a half. He’s got a lot in his favour. He’s got a nice draw, he’ll be able to get into position ‘a’. Everyone is going to be watching Australia and that could make it easier for horses drawn inside. Australia is clearly a very good horse. He ran in the best trial which is the Guineas and if the ground is good then he’ll stay the mile and a half. The other horses may have to step up to beat him but he doesn’t deserve to be the short price he is. It was last September they were saying he was the best horse to ever be at Ballydoyle but that’s a long time ago and he needs to go and do it now on the racecourse. I think Pinzolo could get a freebie at the front. He’s got a good draw and will go forward so at a huge price it wouldn’t surprise me if he got into the first three or four. Geoffrey Chaucer and Australia are the two we have to beat. In the Investec Woodcote Stakes, the 2.05pm, I ride a nice two year old Lightning Thunder. He was a big price when he won last time out because he doesn’t show a great deal at home. They went very fast at Leicester and he came through and won well. The extra furlong should suit and I think he’ll go well. I thought Red Icon was the one to beat. He ran an eye-catching race at Chester and then won well at Haydock. I ride Chooseday in the last, the 5.25pm, but he’s drawn horribly in sixteen so will struggle from out so wide.