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Crowley calls it: “Battaash in great shape for clash with Lady Aurelia”

| 18.06.2018

Coral ambassador looks ahead to Royal Ascot

I haven’t been able to see much of the World Cup sadly. I watched Brazil draw against Switzerland which was a good game.

I would love to watch as man matches as possible but by the time I’m home each evening the matches are all but over.

I’m really looking forward to the week ahead. I’ve had a nice few winners in recent days, banging in a winner a day over the last few days, so feel in good form coming in to Royal Ascot.

I’ve got a nice set of rides over the five days, but it’s a very tough place to ride winners. Last year I had three or four seconds so hopefully this year I can bang a few in.

Royal Ascot – Tuesday

2.30 Queen Anne Stakes – Beat The Bank

I think he’s going in a little bit under the radar. He needed his first run of the season badly in the Lockinge. We also thought he’d gone over the top in the Champion Stakes at the end of last year.

So he’s very interesting based on his form last season. He’s apparently in good form at home. I’m very happy where I’m drawn as I should get a nice tow off Deauville.

I think he’ll run a big race. I don’t think it’s as strong a Queen Anne versus previous years. He’s well worth a second look at a big price.

3.40 Kings Stand – Battaash

I’m really looking forward to riding Battaash. We’ve got to see how he handles all the preliminaries. He’s only had the one run at Ascot and he didn’t run great there but that was when he was a colt. He has been a lot better this year.

I’m drawn one away from Lady Aurelia and Kachy so I think we’re in the right place. Battaash is a very good horse but arguably his best form has been with a bit of cut in the ground. However he has won on Good to Firm as well.

He is in really good form. I have ridden him in work since his win and he feels in great shape. It was the first time I’d sat on him since the Abbaye last year. I was really surprised at how much he’d filled out and grown.  

Lady Aurelia is a very good filly. Her last couple of runs haven’t been so good but she seems to come right at this time of year and she enjoys the straight track at Ascot so this will be a close race.

4.20 St James Palace Stakes – Gabr

Gabr has never had the chance to run on fast ground. That wasn’t though design it’s just that every time it came to declare him the ground had gone soft.

He worked unbelievably well on good to firm ground. He’s been waiting for this ground. I think he’ll put up a really big show.

He was only just behind Without Parole and we needed a run that day. He will come forward for that run and appreciate the faster ground.

I’m surprised Without Parole is such a short price. I think if Tip Two Win was trained by Aidan O’Brien it would be the favourite.

It’s an open race. The draw has been kind to Gabr in stall five and I think he has a very good chance.

5.00 Ascot Stakes – Cleonte

I rode him in this race last year but he wasn’t quite right that day. He didn’t finish out his race very well. He’s shown bits and bobs of good form this year and so we’ll just have to wait and see.

You have to respect the Willie Mullins horses in this race, and pay close attention to all the jump trainers. I enjoy riding in this long distance races.

They always tend to go quite quick in them so it often suits the hold-up horses. 

5.35 Wolferton – Larraib

He would have been one of my best chances of the week and he still could be, but I’m just concerned about the draw. In fact I nearly asked Ascot to give me an extra car park pass for the horse as he’s out in fifteen of sixteen.

It just makes life a little more difficult as over a mile and a quarter you are straight into the bend. Laraaib is a big, galloping horse who wouldn’t want to be too far back.

So it all depends on how he breaks and the pace of the race. He’s a very good horse. He ran just behind Poets Word last time.

This is now a Listed level weights race rather than a Listed Handicap, so it’s perfect for him. Hopefully we can overcome the draw, and if he can, then he’s got a massive chance.

I would give Muntahaa a squeak. He could be a surprise package as he’s been gelded this year and things didn’t pan out for him at Chester where I ended up making the running on him.

He’s an extremely good work horse at home. I think it’s a good idea to bring him back to a mile and a quarter. He’s probably been running over a trip too far. He has the ability to run well at a big price.


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Jim Crowley

Jim Crowley began his flat racing career as an amateur before switching to National Hunt racing, where he landed approximately 300 winners. He then returned to the flat to ride for sister-in-law Amanda Perrett. After years of hard work, Jim was finally rewarded when we won the 2016 Stobart Flat Jockey Championship with an incredible 148 winners. That was followed by a lucrative retained partnership with leading owner Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum, for whom he is the no.1 jockey. Now, the reigning Champion Jockey gives you an exclusive insight into all of his big rides for the 2017 season, courtesy of Coral.