Crowley calls it: “I’ve never seen a horse looking as well as Battaash.”
Champion jockey previews his Friday rides
Friday – York
I begin the day on Reshoun, a nice horse trained by Ian Williams. I won on him at Doncaster last season, and he only just missed the cut for the November Handicap.
If he had got into that race I would probably have ridden him rather than Saunter, who ended up winning the race!
He’s not been in such good form so far this season, but I think that can be put down to the ground, as he does like to get his toe in a little bit, so the current good to firm is probably not ideal for him and he will have to step up on what he’s shown so far this year.
In the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup I ride Red Verdon for Ed Dunlop.
Clearly Stradivarius is the one to beat as he goes for the £1 million bonus, but this is a really good spare to pick up, he is second favourite and the step back up in trip after a couple of really good runs over shorter should suit him.
It was a good run to finish second behind Mirage Dancer at Goodwood last time, he seems to be getting better so if the favourite does have an off day, my horse could go close.
It has been a brilliant effort from the Stradivarius team this year, I think the £1 million bonus is a great idea, and while the staying division may not be the strongest, he has been top dog in it this year, but we’re taking him on and you never know.
I’ve been looking forward to riding Battaash in the Coolmore Nunthorpe all week. I went to see him recently and he looks a million dollars, I’ve never seen a horse look so well.
He’s obviously coming here in great form, he’s not ground dependent in any way and it was good to firm at Goodwood last time when he was so impressive. I’m also happy with the draw, in stall 14, and I just can’t wait to ride him.
This day last year I knew just by looking at him in the paddock he was in bad form, but last time at Goodwood I had no concerns at all. I think he’s more grown up this year, he might be boxed across from the stables, and at Goodwood he was saddled on the lawn outside the stables, which suited him.
He’s seven pounds higher than any of his rivals on the official ratings, but it’s a top class race and it won’t be a pushover, and I take nothing away from Blue Point who beat us at Royal Ascot.
I couldn’t have ridden him any differently at Ascot, he’s not a horse you can drop out as he would just fight you, so you just have to sit where he’s happy, whether that’s in front, or second or third, you just don’t pull him around, as the more you pull, the quicker he goes.
He’s happy leading and he’s happy taking a lead, but whatever goes with him, he just breaks their heart, and I would be confident we can turn the tables on Blue Point.
I get such a thrill riding this horse. My kids don’t normally come racing, but I told them to come to Goodwood last month, as I was quite confident they might see something special, and it worked out like that. You actually don’t realise how fast he’s going, and that’s the sign of a very good horse, he’ll be doing a half speed and everything else will be off the bridle.
PJ McDonald came in after the Goodwood race having ridden Havana Grey, and said “mine’s fast but you’ve just made him look like a three mile chaser!”
Hopefully we can see more of the same here, and it’s also great for racing to have these really good horses, it’s what people want to see.
The team at Charlie’s have done a great job with him, and if we can keep a lid on his temperament here, I’m as certain as I can be that we won’t have any problems with him. Put it this way, it’s a lot more fun riding this horse than it was riding those three mile chasers!
My final ride of the day is on Corrosive, and this looks to be another nice spare to have picked up.
He started the season with a couple of wins, and has since run well in some decent handicaps, and with Hugo Palmer’s horses in good form, I’d be hopeful we have an each-way chance.