Jim Crowley: “Ten Sovereigns will be hard to beat”
Crowley gives his thoughts on Guineas weekend and the Jockey’s title race
My opening ride of the weekend, Encore D’Or, has a bit to find with the market principals here, but in his favour is some decent all weather form, and he’s trained by Robert Cowell, a master with the sprinters.
I’m a big fan of the Prix De L’Abbaye winner Mabs Cross, who also won this race last year, and I think she’s the one we all have to beat here.
It was disappointing to lose Mohaather from the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, as he gave me a lovely feel when winning the Greenham, but he’ll be back and hopefully there will be other big days for him.
I’ve picked up a good spare in Set Piece, who would have an each-way chance following a good third in the Craven, his first start on turf.
I’ve got a good draw in stall four, alongside the favourite Ten Sovereigns, he’ll have the tongue tie on for the first time which can make a difference, and trainer Hugo Palmer has won a Guineas with Galileo Gold, so wouldn’t be running him in this race if he didn’t think he had a chance.
Sheikh Hamdan runs Madhmoon, and he looks like he needs every yard of the mile, and will probably stay further, and this quicker ground will suit him better than the soft ground at Leopardstown he ran on last time, so he’s got a very good chance.
I was also very impressed with Ten Sovereigns last season, I finished second to him in the Middle Park on Jash, and although he’s not certain to stay on pedigree, the way he saw out his races last season, and the way he relaxes, I’d say that if he does stay the mile trip, he’ll be hard to beat.
Moyassar was a bit disappointing first time up this season, he was slowly away which meant I had to try to make up some ground in the middle part of the race, and as a result he didn’t quite see it out. However he’s a nice horse, as his form from last year showed, and so I’m happy to put a line through that first run and be hopeful of a much better run here.
I won on Spirit Ridge at Leicester last year, he’s a lovely big type who should improve as this season goes on. His form from last year looks decent, he’ll like the quicker ground, and in time he should stay further than this mile and a half as well, so I think he’ll run a nice race here.
I don’t have a ride in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas, but if I could choose one to be on in what looks a wide open race, I’d have to side with the favourite Qabala. She looked really good when winning the Nell Gwyn, she should improve again for that, and it’s great to see a young jockey, David Egan, given the chance to ride a Classic winner.
Her stablemate Mot Juste should improve for her run behind Qabala as well, so Roger Varian has a very strong hand, while if there was some juice in the ground the Fred Darling winner Dandhu would have a chance, but I don’t think she will get her ground.
I really like Maqsad, my ride in the Pretty Polly. She won last time out, and is stepping up two furlongs in trip here, which will tell us if she could be an Oaks filly. She is a lovely filly with plenty of scope to improve from that first run of the season, and this race has been won by the likes of Lah Ti Dar and Talent in recent seasons, so I’m hopeful this filly could be in that class.
I’ve not ridden Aspire Tower before, and he’s having his first start for Steve Gollings here, but he was a consistent sort last season so in what looks a tight little race hopefully he can run another nice race.
The Jockeys’ title race gets underway this weekend, I’ve been champion before and I would obviously love to be champion again, but as retained jockey to Sheikh Hamdan I do have different priorities now, I won’t be going flat out from the word go chasing winners.
That said, I would have one eye on the title, and would always try to take as many outside rides as I can, and if later in the season, say around Glorious Goodwood, I was in touch with the leaders, my agent and I would look to give it a go, while always putting the retained job first.
It looks to be between Silvestre De Sousa and Oisin Murphy. Silvestre has his new job with King Power Racing, which could have an impact on his title defence, although I have no doubt he won’t give up without a fight, while Oisin has plenty of supporters and is young and hungry enough to give it a good go, so they are worthy favourites for the championship.
Whoever wins it will need that bit of luck too, you need to stay injury free and avoid suspensions, but it promises to be an interesting contest.