It’s been a quiet week as you’d expect following the excitement of Royal Ascot but it’s also been a terribly sad one following the tragic death of Campbell Gillies.
I only met him at The Lesters, and he seemed like a really nice guy. It’s heartbreaking to read all the tributes, and while he was a Jumps jockey, it deeply affects everyone in the weighing room and puts everything into perspective. My condolences go out to all his family and friends.
I ride Hallelujah for James Fanshawe in the conditions race at Newmarket on Friday. She is a really lovely filly to look at and one I do like a lot. She has only been beaten once in her four starts, finishing second the other time.
I rode her to win by a neck from Moretta Blanche last time, who she reopposes here. While the winning margin may be small I think she was value for a bit more than that and she won a shade cosily.
A lot of the top trainers are represented but she’s second top-rated and seems to have as good a chance as any.
Pick of my weekend rides is Dandino, who lines up for the Fred Archer Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday. He was only beaten by a head by Sea Moon last time at Goodwood, which reads as excellent form if you take it literally, given the winner’s impressive performance at Ascot last week.
However Ryan Moore, who rode Sea Moon, wasn’t happy with having to make the running, and I think we might have been flattered to get so close.
That said the run showed he is clearly in good heart as he is certainly up to winning at this level. Goldophin’s Khawlah, who won the UAE Derby in Meydan last year, could be the one to beat if she shows her old form.
For what it’s worth I can’t see Camelot having any problems winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. I hope he does and that he can meet Frankel somewhere down the line – although there would only be one winner in my mind. Sorry Aidan!
Rishi Persad recently came down to my gym to get an idea of how I train to keep fit and stay at the top of my game.
It’s great to see someone who has achieved so much in the sport still as hungry and driven as he is. To see what it meant to him said it all. Frankie played down all the stories and rumours about his standing at Godolphin
afterwards, but it couldn’t have been better scripted, could it?
I would have Frankie around Ascot ahead of any other jockey in the world. He’s a class apart.
Bronze Angel ran a blinder to come third for me in the Britannia Stakes yesterday. It was a shame he had no-one with I’m for the final furlong. I’m not saying he would have beaten the winner, who looked well-handicapped, but it would have helped to have been drawn on the far rail where the action was. At least he has shown he can make his mark in the big handicaps this season.
Hopefully we will be able to put a line through Momentary’s run. She got a bump around Swinley Bottom and never was in a rhythm. As for Margot Did, she never got going, and it’s difficult to put your finger on why she hasn’t shown the form of last year.
On to today, Primaeval was very impressive at Goodwood last month. It was his first win on turf since 2009 and I had a very slight concern that he may be better on the all-weather, but that doubt was firmly put in its place with the comfortable win.
There was talk of going for the Royal Hunt Cup over a mile, but I think the seven furlongs of the Buckingham Palace Stakes will suit him better as he has so much speed. James Fanshawe hasn’t had much luck so far this week but hopefully
it will all go to plan today.
If I don’t win, I hope Tariq Too does for my good friend Amy Weaver, who trains him. I think this fresh soft ground will really suit him, rather than the sticky ground he encountered last time at Ascot. I think he’s got a real chance.
I remember saying in the blog that he was very highly regarded by the team, and was well handicapped for his last run, so I don’t think his victory came as a big surprise. He stayed on well that day and there’s no reason why the step up to a mile and six furlongs should pose a problem.
I have one ride on Saturday – King Of Jazz in the Wokingham, who was third in the Victoria Cup on soft at Ascot last time. He’s in good form at home. The stiff six furlongs and big field will suit him.
I, like everyone else, can’t wait to see Black Caviar run and I think she’ll win. She could have most to fear from Society Rock, who is trained by James Fanshawe and I understand he’s in good form at home. He likes Ascot and I’d love to see him run well for James.
I’ve got two bullets left to fire for Royal Ascot – otherwise I am going to have to wait another 12 months to see if I can ride my first winner at the meeting.
There really is a noticeable lull between the Derby and Royal Ascot and it’s almost as if everyone’s going through the motions waiting for next week.
I should have some nice rides at the Royal meeting, which I’ll touch on later, but I really want to play it all down and treat it as any other fixture.
Business as usual
The attention around the Derby ride was all a bit much really, and I’m not blaming the media or anyone else, I was just naturally excited to have a ride and I probably let that come across too much. I’d like to think I’ve got to a stage in my career now, where I will get the odd big ride and it shouldn’t be a massive deal for everyone – including myself.
I’ve got two rides at York this afternoon and I think The Betchworth Kid might be good value to sneak a place. He used to be with Michael Bell and is now with Alan King, but the owner Henry Ponsonby kindly let me keep the ride.
I won a Listed race on him last year and also rode him to come 11th in the Ascot Gold Cup, when I just don’t think he stayed. Things didn’t always go right for him after that but I think the ground and trip will suit here, and I get on well with him so I reckon he might run better than his 20-1 odds suggest.
On to Saturday and I think Spirit Of The Law should run well in the opening handicap at Sandown. I think this drop back in trip will be in his favour, as will the ground, and Ed’s horses have been running consistently well all season.
I think Bouncy Bouncy should run another honest race in the five-furlong handicap, and she has been pretty consistent all her career. She’s been dropped 1lb by the handicapper but I think he still has a hold over her, and she might find it hard to win off this mark at the moment. Anjomarba on the other hand is on a winnable mark and runs at Lingfield. She has a good draw and is a better horse on turf so she could run well in the six-furlong handicap.
Ascot rides taking shape
On to Royal Ascot and Margot Did will be the highlight for me on the opening day in the King’s Stand Stakes. I haven’t sat on her since she came last at Newmarket. There weren’t any excuses for that performance – unfortunately sprinters don’t always run to the formbook and can be very in and out and I think it was just an off-day for her. The guv’nor says she’s really coming to herself now so hopefully she’ll be on a going day!
I think I ride Boom And Bust in the Royal Hunt Cup, who hasn’t been out since winning under me at Glorious Goodwood. I was at Marcus Tregoning’s this week and one horse really caught my eye. I asked Marcus who he was, and he said, “Boom And Bust”. He looks awesome and will be ready to go come Wednesday.
Obviously it will be an absolute honour to ride The Queen’s Momentary in the Ribblesdale on Thursday. The form of her win at Newbury has worked out really well, with the runner-up Shirocco Star going so close in the Oaks. We certainly think she’s up to this level.
Bronze Angel is set to for the Britannia. I haven’t sat on him since we won at Doncaster but he’s been in great form. He keeps a bit up his sleeve and takes some knowing, but I do know him and I think we can conjure up another consistent run.
Primaeval is likely to go for the Buckingham Palace Stakes on Friday rather than the Royal Hunt Cup, and I think James Fanshawe is right to go for the seven furlong race, rather than the mile, as he has so much speed. I put the finishing touches on him this morning and he felt great, although I can’t take any credit, it’s down to Nick there who regularly rides him.
It’s been a slightly more routine few days compared to last week, when I won a Glamour Award and then had my first ride in the Derby.
I attracted a lot of attention for being only the second female to ride in the Derby, although I have to say it was more from the non-racing people, and wasn’t such a big deal for the people in the industry.
Ultimately Cavaleiro just wasn’t good enough on the day but it was a great experience for me. It taught me that you have to blank out all the hype and buzz and ride every race the same, whether it’s a seller or the Derby.
Frankel still the one to beat
As for Camelot, he’s certainly a very good horse. After all, he made up a lot of ground to win the race and did it all very easily. That said, it’s difficult to weigh up the opposition and it might not have been the strongest of Derbys.
If Camelot and Frankel were to meet over 10 furlongs and I was given the choice of rides – it would be a very easy decision. I’d choose Frankel every time. Quite simply, Camelot would not get near Frankel.
Turn of the two-year-olds
It was good to get back on the scoresheet on Tuesday, when Amazonas won very impressively for Ed Dunlop. It rode like a good race, and she’s a nice progressive filly who will improve from the race when she no doubt steps up in class next time out.
Another two-year-old to keep an eye on is Shrewd, who makes his debut at Goodwood tonight. He’s been going well at home, is well regarded and we’re expecting a big run from him in the six-furlong maiden.
I’m at Windsor on Saturday for five rides, including my old favourite Efistorm in the six-furlong seller. I think he’ll run a big race. He’s won three times over the course and distance, will appreciate a drop in class, and won’t mind a bit of juice in the ground either.
I ride a nice two-year-old called Spiritual Girl for the guv’nor (Michael Bell) in the fillies’ maiden. She showed a lot of speed on her debut at Lingfield a fortnight ago and that run will have done her a lot of good. It’s obviously difficult to rate her chance given the nature of the race, but you’d think she’d be in with a shout.
Hinton Admiral is a winner of 16 races, and I think the drop back in trip for this six-furlong handicap will certainly work in his favour. Conor Dore’s horses have kept me going all winter though, and they owe me nothing.
Coming to a Racing UK screen near you…
Finally, look out for a Racing UK feature on me coming soon. I had the Racing UK crew in the house from 7am today, and Rishi Persad was asking the questions.
I think we all enjoyed it, which is the main thing, and Clarkey the cameraman said it was the first time he’d ever been cooked breakfast by a jockey! How rude of all the other hundreds of jockeys he must have filmed!
We also filmed my boxercise class, and Rishi couldn’t wait to have a go. So he donned the gloves and had a little session with my trainer. I think Rishi reckons he’s quite stacked, but my trainer said on a scale of one to 10, his power registered a one, and I’m not joking either. Hopefully Clarkey got it all on camera!