Jim Crowley: “Pat was not just a brilliant jockey, he was a top, top man”
Coral ambassador remembers Pat Smullen and previews his Saturday rides
There was extremely sad news earlier this week, when we heard Pat Smullen had passed away. I rode against Pat, but I was also fortunate enough to call him a friend, he was just a top, top man.
Not only was he a really nice guy, but he was a brilliant jockey as well, always in the right place in a race, a tough man to beat.
I was riding at the Curragh last year when he staged his charity race day. It was an unbelievable day, an atmosphere that you rarely get at Irish flat racing.
To get the likes of AP McCoy and Charlie Swan back in the saddle, that shows you the high regard they all held Pat in, and as a result of that day, an enormous amount of money was raised to carry on the fight against pancreatic cancer.
Pat’s passing certainly puts things into perspective. We’re all competitive and we all want to win every race, but losing a horse race isn’t the end of the world. All our thoughts are with Pat’s loved ones at this sad, sad time.
Newbury 13.05 – Zuhair
I begin a busy day on Zuhair. I haven’t sat on him at home so don’t know too much about him yet, but Marcus [Tregoning] does have some nice two-year-olds, so hopefully this son of Showcasing is another of them.
Michael Stoute’s Aerion Power looks the best of those with racecourse experience, but we’ll find out more about our fellow here.
Newbury 13.40 – Tinto
Tinto’s best run of the season so far was his third place behind A’Ali in the Coral Charge in July, so running over that five furlongs trip here won’t be an issue for him, and he ran OK over six in the Stewards’ Cup at a big price.
There are no superstars in here, Equilateral deserves to be favourite dropping back into a Group 3, but if Tinto can repeat that Sandown form, he would have place chances here.
Newbury 14.15 – Maydanny
Maydanny was a very convincing winner at Glorious Goodwood, absolutely hosing up, so he did obviously take a hike in the weights for that.
The ground was then too soft for him at York after that, he didn’t see out his race, but being back on good ground here will be in his favour, although carrying top weight in a competitive handicap won’t be easy.
Newbury 14.50 – Elarqam
Elarqam ran a lovely race first time up this season, finishing second to Lord North at Haydock, but he then didn’t get the trip over a mile and a half in soft ground at Royal Ascot.
Since then he’s disappointed at York when favourite for the York Stakes, so he does need to bounce back here. He has ability for sure, and this looks a good opportunity for him if he does fire, but there is a slight question mark against him now.
Newbury 15.25 – Alkumait
Alkumait was another impressive Glorious Goodwood winner, the second that day [Tawleed] has won since to give the form a boost.
He’s a horse I like a lot, he really did it nicely at Goodwood – he missed the break, sat last, and we passed the field to win going away – although clearly this is a big step up in grade for him. As I say we think a lot of him, and I’m sure there will be improvement to come from him.
Newbury 16.00 – Ensyaaby
Like Zuhair in the opener, I haven’t sat on this one at home, and we’ll find out more about him here, but whatever he does on debut I’m sure he’ll improve for the experience.
It’s an exciting time of the year, there’s always one or two nice surprises among the juveniles, horses to look forward to next season and beyond, and we’ve still got plenty more to come.
Newbury 16.30 – Baashir
My final ride is Baashir in the seven-furlong handicap. He lost a shoe last time, having run keen as well, it just didn’t happen for him, but before that he’d looked quite progressive, second at Haydock and then winning at Salisbury on his second start.
He does need to bounce back, but that last run was almost too bad to be true, and there were excuses, so hopefully he can come on again.