Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle takes the ride on a big-priced outsider in Saturday’s Group One Lockinge Stakes, headlined by William Haggas’ unbeaten Baaeed.
Busker better than price suggests
I’m thrilled to get a ride in the Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (3.20) at Newbury on Saturday and I’ll be approaching the big race in the belief that SIR BUSKER can defy some pretty fancy odds.
The unbeaten dual Group One winner Baaeed is clearly the one we all have to beat and hearing his trainer William Haggas say he could be even better this year is a little daunting, to say the least.
But as the old adage goes, anything can happen in a horse race and Sir Busker is tough and talented and, if you take Baaeed out of the equation, he has a genuine chance in an otherwise open race.
I actually thought his neck second to New Mandate in the Listed Paradise Stakes at Ascot last time on the back of some big runs in Dubai was rock solid, yet that re-opposing rival is a much shorter price.
Dream alive with Oaks entry Nashwa
I couldn’t have been happier with NASHWA when she made a winning return over a mile in a Haydock Park novice last month, winning by over six lengths.
Imad Alsagar’s daughter of Frankel remains a work in progress after only two lifetime starts but looks ready for the step up in class and distance in the Listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes (4.30).
Her trainers John and Thady Gosden already have the Cazoo Oaks favourite Emily Upjohn – a very impressive winner of the Musidora at York on Wednesday – but the Epsom Classic could still be on Nashwa’s agenda, too, if this trial goes to plan.
Ground the key to Rizg
RIZG, who like Nashwa was bred by my boss Imad Alsagar, also takes on better opposition in the Listed BetVictor Caernarfon Stakes (1.35) after two promising runs in novice company for Roger Varian.
He overcame greenness to win on fast ground at Yarmouth back in August and will be sharper for his comeback in a similar race at Doncaster last month, when he was second to the race-fit Lethal Nymph.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this big colt acquits himself on a more sympathetic surface. His dam Azenzar won her maiden on good to soft and his father No Nay Never was a Group One winner in France with cut in the ground.
Outbox could be tough to peg back
The Group 3 Al Rayyan Stakes (2.10), formerly the Aston Park, looks an ideal assignment for Hambleton Racing’s popular money-spinner OUTBOX.
Newbury’s long straight suits him ideally, as he showed when finishing a solid third in the Group Three John Porter last year, and I can’t see any reason why he won’t acquit himself well in this 12-furlong contest.
It’s a tough enough race and he has something to find at the weights, but this gelding is full of surprises. He doesn’t mind making the running and could be tough to peg back if we find ourselves out in front.
His trainer Archie Watson was delighted with his performance in the Group Two Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket on Guineas weekend when he finished third to Living Legend and Yibir, picking up another good prize for his proud owners.
Big run expected from Big Stuff
I rode MR BIG STUFF when he finished second in a ten-furlong handicap at Nottingham on his first start of the year and he can build on that effort in the BetVictor London Gold Cup (2.45).
Richard Spencer’s colt was a bit fresh at Colwick Park but still travelled well at the business end of the race on his first try at the trip, before giving best to a race-fit rival.
He’s been nudged up 3lb for that handicap debut but despite the fact he’s still a maiden remains unexposed and felt in great form when I sat on him in Newmarket the other day.
TOP SECRET gets weight from all his rivals in the competitive Connect It Utility Services Handicap (5.04). He’s entitled to come on for this first run of the season and would probably prefer quicker conditions, but the straight mile suits him well as he showed when only just failing to win over course and distance last summer.
Jumbly can step forward in French 1000
I head to ParisLongchamp on Sunday to ride Harry and Roger Charlton’s lovely filly JUMBLY in the French 1,000 Guineas, the Group 1 Emirates Poule d’Essai Des Pouliches (2.15) – live on Sky Sports Racing.
Last Sunday I went to Beckhampton to sit on the daughter of Gleneagles, who is entitled to have come on for her seasonal reappearance behind Wild Beauty in the Fred Darling.
She’s much stronger behind than she was last year, and the signs are she will appreciate the step up to 1m at ParisLongchamp.
While she clearly needs to improve again on what she’s shown so far, she’s entitled to take her chance against some classy fillies including George Boughey’s Qipco 1,000 Guineas winner Cachet, who is ultra-tough and sets a good standard for all her rivals to aim at.
Angel chasing valuable Black Type
INTERNATIONALANGEL‘s form has received a timely boost ahead of her step up to Listed class in the Prix Maurice Zilber (4.35) at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.
Highfield Princess, who beat her in a driving finish to the Fillies’ and Mares’ Championship on All-Weather Finals Day, was an impressive winner of the Group Two Duke of York Stakes this week.
Jane Chapple-Hyam has done a fantastic job with this mare, who looks capable of proving herself at this higher level and gaining some valuable black type in the process.
Jane is very clever when it comes to placing her horses and this looks an ideal assignment.
Ground puts Trueshan plan on hold
The absence of the word ‘soft’ from the going description at York put paid to Trueshan’s intended appearance in the Group Two Yorkshire Cup.
There was no point in Alan King declaring his star performer when it was pretty obvious he wouldn’t get his ideal conditions.
Thankfully Alan ran him in the Listed Barry Hills Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham last month, where he won impressively, so at least he won’t be heading to the Ascot Gold Cup in a few weeks’ time without the benefit of a pipe-opener.
My other Group One winner Glen Shiel was just a bit ring rusty when he was beaten on his first start in seven months at Haydock Park last weekend, but he has come out of that conditions race very well.
The Greenlands Stakes in Ireland has been mentioned as another possible stepping-stone to the Platinum Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot but that will depend on the ground, as like Trueshan he does need some juice underfoot to show his best form.