I don’t think I’ve ever felt this fresh at this time of the year. The horrible weather has accounted for a fair few fixtures and non-runners, and has obviously restricted a lot of top-of-the-ground horses from running.
It’s been a very frustrating stop-start season, but it’s the same for everyone and at least the weather is set fair for the weekend – although I could do with a little more rain for Saturday, but more on that in a moment.
I’m at Haydock on Friday and have two rides for Tom Dascombe in the shape of Daliance and Juno The Muffinman. I’ve only had two rides for Tom this season and did ride a winner for him at the beginning of the season.
It only lasted 15 minutes though as the Musselburgh stewards decided to demote Bear Behind and me to second! Hopefully I can have better luck for Tom here, and Richard Kingscote, who is Tom’s stable jockey, rates the pair, although I am not sure if Daliance runs as he was due to run at Epsom last night.
My other ride is Dubai Sunshine, who runs in the six-furlong handicap for the ‘guv’nor’ (Michael Bell). He’s shown us a fair bit at home but hasn’t progressed how we thought he might on the track. This sort of race should be winnable but he’s not the most consistent of horses so he can’t be followed with any huge confidence.
I am looking forward to getting on Set To Music again as I haven’t ridden her since we won at Nottingham a year ago. She’s since gone on to win the Listed Warwickshire Oaks, and was then third in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock a fortnight ago.
She’s back down to Listed company in the Newsells Park Stud Stakes at Newmarket and we know she’s up to winning at this level, and she will love the ground. In fact, I must be the only one hoping for rain this weekend! She’s got to have a chance although Bible Belt may prove tough to beat. She boasts some great form, having finished second to Dancing Rain on QIPCO Champions Day.
I ride my old favourite Bouncy Bouncy in the opening handicap over six furlongs. Again, she’ll love the ground and she’s an ultra-consistent filly, who thrives on her racing. Unfortunately she’s been creeping up the weights as a result, but will run her usual honest race.
Keep the Dream alive
The big contest of course is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and it looks an absolute cracker. I remember people saying the race had lost some its lustre over the last few years, but the line-up is one to really savour and fully justifies the £1million in prize-money.
I think the forgotten horse is Danedream who demolished the Arc field last year, and had two of her rivals this Saturday, St Nicholas Abbey and Reliable Man, well beaten that day. She will relish this trip and ground and must rate an excellent each-way prospect.
Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed the Racing UK feature on me –I was pretty open about everything Rishi asked, maybe too much (!) but I think it made for a good interview. You can see it again at racinguk.com/hayley – a new page set up by Andy, the Racing UK web guru, which has photos, videos, stats and blogs and is well worth a look.
Get in touch
Finally, please email any questions for me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will answer a selection of them in next week’s blog.