Crowley Calls It: “I really like this horse and I go there thinking he’ll run a massive race”
Champion Jockey and Coral Racing Ambassador Jim Crowley talks us through his 10 rides at Newmarket and Doncaster this Saturday
I have a busy Saturday to look forward to, with four rides at Newmarket in the afternoon, and another six in the evening at Doncaster. There’s been plenty of rain across the country, so we’re running on different ground to recent weeks.
My first ride of the day is on Call To Mind for the Queen. He was well touted first time up, and has the Derby entry so they clearly always thought highly of him. I spoke to Ryan Moore, who rode him in his maiden and he thinks he’s a nice horse, and being by Galieo out of a Dancehill Dancer mare he should handle the softer ground.
I really like Taamol in this seven furlong Listed race. At one stage we thought he could be a Guineas horse, and he ran in a nice race at Newcastle on Good Friday. He was the last horse off the bridle that day, he had them all beat, but he didn’t quite stay, so he’s dropping back to seven furlongs, he’s got form on soft ground, so I’m really hopeful of a good run, I really like this horse and I go there thinking he’ll run a massive race.
Eqtiraan was gelded over the winter, and on his reappearance ran over a mile at Lingfield and didn’t stay, so we dropped him back to six furlongs next time out and he ran an absolute cracker to finish second. He’s got top weight in this, but he does have form on soft ground, which will help. I’d be most fearful of another of the boss’s runners, Ekhtiyaar, who carries 8-5 and could be well handicapped. I can’t do that weight, so Silvestre De Sousa is on board, if he pips me to the title by one at the end of the season I’ll be gutted!
My ride in the fillies’ novice stakes, Tajaanus, is a lovely filly. I rode her in work at Richard Hannon’s, and on her breeding she shouldn’t mind a bit of cut in the ground. She’s going nicely, showing the right signs at home, is ready to run, and if she doesn’t win first time up she’ll go close next time.
It was my first time riding out at Richard Hannon’s yard, and I’m really enjoying seeing all the different yards, how they work, as all trainers have different routines, and I’m really learning from the experience.
From Newmarket I hot-foot it up to Doncaster, where I start on Our Man In Havana. Two winners have come out of his first race at Lingfield, and Tom Dascombe’s two-year-olds are running well. I always like riding for Tom, I’ve known him for a long time as we were jump jockeys together, he always likes to stick me on a winner when he can, and hopefully he’ll run well.
I then have a couple of rides for David Simcock. Hopefully High Hopes will live up to her name in the fillies’ handicap. I rode her when she won very easily at Ffos Las, and she then went back and won there on very soft ground. This is her first run of the year, but she looks progressive, and off a mark of 86 I still think she could have a little bit in hand. She’ll like the ground and it looks a good opportunity for her to complete the hat-trick.
My second ride for David is Ahlan Bil Zain. I rode him in the Epsom Classic trial, and he didn’t quite stay that day. He’s a nice horse dropping back in trip, but this is a competitive little race. I’ve won on Colibri for Hugo Palmer, and also on City Of Joy, who I think could be the one to beat here, while Marco Botti has a nice one in Mandarin, so it’s a tight looking race.
I haven’t ridden Alaadel in work, but he’s got a beautiful pedigree, and I know they like him. It doesn’t look the strongest of races, and if can show his ability he should go close. At this time of year, when I’m riding a lot of horses for the first time, and they have such great pedigrees, there’s always the hope that there is a star or two in the making, it’s an exciting time.
Musawaat won first time out on soft ground at Newbury, but then disappointed in the Horris Hill. He hasn’t run since but I know they like him, and Charlie Hills’ string are in good form. He has top weight here though so I’d be hopeful rather than confident.
My final ride of the day is Tanasoq, who I’ve ridden once before, at Yarmouth last year on fast ground. He’s been gelded since and finished second on his first start this season. He should come on for that run, although most of his best form has come on better ground he does have bits of form on soft which gives us hope he’ll run a decent race.
Although I have ten rides at two meetings on Saturday, I’m not flying all over the country on a regular basis at the moment, as it is a long season and you can burn yourself out. If I go to a meeting I want a decent book of rides, and that means a mix of rides for the boss, and some outside rides. My agent Tony Hind is well aware that I’d like to give the championship another go, and it’s certainly not impossible that we could do it again.
We’ve had all the major Derby trials now, and the Epsom picture really is still wide open, there hasn’t been a dominant performance from any one horse that has made you sit up and think, there’s the Derby winner. A lot will depend on whether Churchill runs or not, if he does he sets the standard, but that looks far from certain. One I liked from the Dante was Crystal Ocean for Sir Michael Stoute, who ran an eyecatching third, but it seems they are not keen to go for the Derby with him.
The horse I rode in the Guineas, Eminent, should appreciate the step up in trip at Epsom. He actually didn’t run too badly in the Guineas considering he probably had a harder run in the Craven than was first thought, when he ran the fastest time for fifty years, and the Guineas came quickly after that. He’s only run three times, and all at Newmarket, so he goes to Epsom for Breakfast with the Stars on Tuesday morning to go somewhere different and have a look around the place. He’s a well-balanced horse so I’d expect him to handle the track, and I’m looking forward to having a spin round on him.