Jim Crowley: “This is a great opportunity for Regal Reality to get his head in front”
Our man looks back on the first two days at Royal Ascot and ahead to Thursday’s rides
I knew I had a strong book of rides going into the first day and it was great to start off with a winner.
I fancied Motakhayyel but we had a few runners in the race and it was important that I chose the right one. It was down to me to choose and when I saw Daarik going off the 3/1 favourite, and Mutamaasik nearly second favourite, it surprised me but I was sure I’d make the right choice. Then the rain came which put some doubt in my mind, but luckily I had made the right call. So it was great to kick off with a winner.
I went from hero to zero as I really fancied Mohaather in the Queen Anne and it just never happened for me.
I got squeezed a little at the start, and I wanted to be on the wing of the field but they formed two groups early on and then moved to the stands rail and I was knackered, I didn’t really have any options. I just had to hope the gaps came and they didn’t.
It was a shame and he ran a good race, and I know he’s as good as I think he is. I had to regroup a bit after that as I was quite annoyed, like a golfer making a triple bogey.
Battaash was brilliant. I’d love to have got a lead but there was nothing quick enough in the race to lead him. I was trying to get him to the last furlong before I went for him. I was so pleased for the horse and for Bob who looks after him, and who has worked for Charlie Hills for 30 odd years and never led up a Royal Ascot winner until then.
Nazeef toughed it out really well. She’s improved with every run and was race fit after her win at Kempton, and she needed to be as she really stuck her neck out to win.
I was thrilled to ride Owen Burrows’ first Royal Ascot winner today on Hukum. He is a horse we like, and we had taken him away for a gallop last week and he went very well. It worked out really well.
13.15 – Cepheus
I rode this horse in the 2,000 Guineas. He was very inexperienced that day and was all over the shop. He probably found the pace of the race a bit quick.
He’s going up two furlongs here in trip, has a decent weight on his back and a reasonably kind draw. I think he could improve again, and he has to, but at his price it wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world.
Brian Meehan is well known for pulling one out of the bag from time to time and he wouldn’t be running him if he didn’t think he had a chance.
13.50 – Regal Reality
This is a lovely ride to pick up. He’s been campaigned at a really high level and has been placed in a Coral-Eclipse and a Juddmonte International.
He’s dropping back down in class, but that said it’s still a good race with Sir Dragonet probably the one to beat. He’ll has a good chance. It’s a really good opportunity for him to get his head in front.
14.25 – Molatham
He is a horse that beat Wichita last year in the Flying Scotsman at Doncaster. His only poor run was at the back end of the season on soft ground so I’m praying there’s not much rain. He’ll get away with Good ground and probably wants Good to Firm. He’s a good horse. If the rain doesn’t come I think he’ll win.
15.35 – Mekong
This is one tricky customer. He is not an easy ride at all, but he has bags of ability. If I can get him to relax early on then he could run well.
It’s a very open race. If the rain comes it won’t suit Stradivarius whereas it will suit Mekong. He will relish softer ground. If he can relax then he’ll stay the trip. I’ll be riding him cold out the back.
16.10 – Khaloosy
He is a smashing horse. With his pedigree he shouldn’t mind some juice in the ground even though he is yet to run on it. He’s by Dubawi, and they always seem to grow a leg when there’s soft ground.
He won well at Wolverhampton and clocked a good time. He’s drawn 19 which looks a good draw based on the races so far at Ascot.
16.40 – Huboor
She disappointed on her only run this year but she has some decent form in the book so I’m hoping that run blew the cobwebs away. She has won on good ground and though she hasn’t won on softer ground, Mark Johnston’s horses often act well on it. It’s a bit of an unknown with her.