Looking back at the opening day of the Chester meeting, I was impressed with both Epsom trial winners.
Medhaayih looked good when winning the Cheshire Oaks, and she’d have to be respected if her connections supplement her for the Investec Oaks, although Maqsad gave me a great feel when winning the Pretty Polly at the weekend.
No decision has been made on where she goes next, she has the speed to go back over a mile, she could go to France for the Prix Saint-Alary, and obviously Epsom is another option. Wherever she goes she’s a filly to follow.
Sir Dragonet was just as impressive when bolting up in the Chester Vase, and I’m not surprised he’s now favourite for the Investec Derby.
He’s not currently in the race either, but I’m sure he will be added to the field, and although there are more trials to come at Lingfield, Leopardstown and York, he sets a high standard.
We might see Too Darn Hot at York, but he’s such an exuberant runner he might turn out to be a mile and a quarter horse, with something like the Coral-Eclipse his race later in the summer.
This Saturday I have four rides on a mixed flat and jumps Haydock card, and I’m looking forward to catching up with a few of the jumps boys I rode with in the past.
The likes of AP McCoy and Noel Fehily have obviously retired since I switched to the flat, but Tom Scu and Dickie Johnson and a few others are still around, so it will be a fun afternoon in the weighing room.
I’m glad I’ve only got my flat licence now, otherwise my agent would be trying to get me a ride in the Swinton [Handicap hurdle], and those days are behind me!
Although I do think there are only a couple of UK tracks that I haven’t ridden a winner at, Exeter being one of them, so maybe I’ll have to get my licence to ride in bumpers and complete the set!
I start the day on the topweight Sharja Silk in the stayers’ handicap. He’s a beautifully bred son of Dubawi who shouldn’t mind the soft ground he’ll get here. He’s been knocking on the door in his recent runs, will get this trip well, and should give me a very good chance of starting the day with a winner.
Shabaaby was a highly promising 2-y-o, but then he just lost his way last year. He’s been off since, has been gelded, and I know Owen Burrows has been keen to get him back in action. He’s been working well at home, and will love the soft ground. You can put a line through his last run of last season as Chester wouldn’t be his type of track at all, and if he can show some of his 2-y-o form he should run a big race here.
In the six furlong Listed race I ride Mankib for the boss. He’s a proper horse, and has been working very, very well. He’s got the speed for this trip, and I won on him at Newbury on good to soft so the ground won’t be a problem here.
I still think he’s a highly progressive horse, he was highly thought of when trained in France, running in the French 2,000 Guineas. It didn’t quite happen for him at Newmarket last October, and when he ran in France on his final start last year he may have just been past his best for the season, but on his work this spring I’d be disappointed if he doesn’t go close here.
I end the day on a nice spare ride in the shape of Politicise. He shouldn’t mind the ground, he’s had a run this season so will be fully primed for this and there should be more improvement to come from this son of Camelot, so he’s another really strong looking ride.