Look back on the season
It’s been a great year for me. Obviously last year was exceptional, winning the likes of the Juddmonte and the Coral-Eclipse and other big races, but this year has been fantastic too, with the highlight winning the Commonwealth Cup for my boss, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, at Royal Ascot.
We’ve had lots of Group race winners, and we won the Ebor with Muntahaa, and I won the Wokingham on Bacchus too. I finished third in the Jockey’s Championship and tipped over the £3 million prize money earnings mark the other day, so I’m really happy with the way it’s gone.
I’m really enjoying riding for Sheikh Hamdan. We are always looking to improve, and we are searching for the next star, the next Taghrooda. Battaash has been very good on some days but very disappointing on others. We have some nice young horses for next year. I was really impressed with Jash. He is going to be a top level horse. And the boss has been bust at the Sales this week, so we are already planning for next season.
Melbourne Cup – Muntahaa
I ride Muntahaa in the Melbourne Cup. He’s over in Australia already. The Ebor has been a very good trial for the Melbourne Cup, and he won the Ebor well. He’s a Group horse and a highly talented one at that. He’s a big strong horse who will be able to hold his own round there, and he’s got form from a mile and a half up to two miles. I’m planning to head over early to ride at some of the meetings in the lead up to Melbourne Cup day and then also in the earlier races on the card. For a race of this calibre you really need to cover all bases.
SATURDAY – CHAMPIONS DAY
2.00 Ascot – Tasleet
It hasn’t happened for him this year. He ran early on in Ireland and the ground was too quick for him. He didn’t really come out of that race as well as we had hoped. He then had some time off before he went to Haydock for the Sprint there. He ran okay but I was bit disappointed. To be fair to the horse he had been off the track for a while. I rode him last week at Newmarket on the Rowley Mile and he worked really well. He was second in the race last year. He beat most of these bar Libriza Breeze last year. So he has to bounce back to form but he’s more than capable of doing so. It’s an open race.
3.15 Ascot – Beat The Bank
We could have done without Roaring Lion turning up. It’s a very good race. I thought Beat The Bank was very unlucky when we ran at Royal Ascot. I just couldn’t get the gap at the right time. He’s won at Group 2 level. He needs to come on again. He is a decent horse but whether he’s good enough to win this and beat Roaring Lion, I don’t know? He does have good each way chance.
I’d be more worried about the ground for Roaring Lion than the trip, but at the same time the ground just may help him with regards the trip. Ascot is a stiff mile so it should play to his strengths. He’s the one we have all got to beat.
Cracksman – Champion Stakes
The ground will be a massive plus for one. I’ve always thought Crystal Ocean was best on good to firm ground. Cracksman was very impressive last year, and although he hasn’t been at his best this season, he should win.