The Jim Crowley column: My Berkshire monster

We are delighted that top jockey Jim Crowley is the Bet4Causes Flat Racing Brand Ambassador. Each Saturday, you can read Jim’s exclusive columns here and in the Racing Plus newspaper…

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GOODWOOD is close to my heart and close to home – it is always a pleasure to ride there and I have a decent book at the West Sussex track this afternoon.

I’m obviously thrilled to once again partner the Paul Cole-trained Berkshire (2.15). He is a very exciting horse who has only run five times in his life, winning three, including winning the Chesham and Royal Lodge as a juvenile.

As a three-year-old, I went into the Greenham thinking he would win – he was that good – but something was wrong with him that day. Afterwards, he had six months off before coming back to win a Group Three standing on his head.

He is an absolute monster (pictured below) and while he has not run since October 2014 and is now five, apparently he has been going well at home and should enjoy any ease in the ground. If he replicates his form in the Listed Festival Stakes, he will take a world of beating.

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Bateel (2.50) was a little unlucky last time, when she got stopped in running here when bidding to remain unbeaten. Trainer David Simcock likes her and she looks as though she has a chance in the Listed Tapster Stakes. She is a nice ride to pick up.

Mark Johnston’s Dawaa (3.25) is a front-runner who was not beaten far at Doncaster last time over a similar seven-furlong trip and is a fair horse. Mark has a great record at Goodwood and is one of the easiest trainer’s to ride for. You know how his horses have to be ridden – don’t push, don’t pull – and you know they will always be ready to do the job.

Chica De La Noche (4.00) makes her debut for Simon Dow in a six-furlong novices’ race. She is a nice filly and has worked very well, but it is hard to gauge how good she is, because it is her first run. By Teofilo, she has a nice enough pedigree and is a sister to 5f and 1m winner Upward Spiral. Whether she will be good enough to win first-time-out I don’t know – but she is certainly a filly for the future.

Not having ridden Scrutinise (4.35), I don’t know too much about him. He won a handicap off a mark of 87 here last September and may have needed the run at Epsom on his seasonal return, but he runs off the same mark of 93 today. Ed Dunlop’s runners have been going well, though.

There is a veteran’s handicap after that. These races are a wonderful idea, especially for sprinters, who tend to get better with age.

I’ve seen geldings win races such as the Prix de l’Abbaye and when they get older, the last thing you would do with them is chuck them out in a field and expect them to have a life as a hack. Good luck if you try – they are used to doing 0-60 in two seconds!

Keep It Dark (5.10) is only seven, so hardly a veteran, but it is a really good idea to have more races of this nature for ‘veteran’ sprinters like him.

Finally, Sweet Dragon Fly (5.45) would appear to hold a good chance in the seven-furlong fillies’ maiden. She was second on her Wolverhampton debut to a decent type in Ian Fleming. On good ground, she’d nearly have a favourite’s chance.

No doubt we’ll all try and see what happens at the Curragh. Air Force Blue will bid to show his Newmarket run was all wrong when clashing with Galileo Gold (5.40) (pictured below, far right) again in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, but I’d be surprised the latter is turned over.

Tomorrow, Ballydoyle (1.55) can go one better in the Irish 1,000 Guineas than in the English version and Found (3.40) looks a good thing in the Tattersalls Gold Cup. She was very impressive last time and she would be my weekend banker.

Galileo Gold.jpgAlgometer for Epsom?

ALGOMETER passed his Classic Trial test in the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood on Friday.

It was a workmanlike performance and I knew it would be. Trainer David Simcock wanted me to get a lead and they went no great pace, so it turned into something of sprint, but he found plenty for me to win by half a length on ground that would have been plenty quick enough for him.

A stronger pace will suit him and the further he goes the better he will be. I think he would come into his own on slower ground.

In fairness, it was a good performance against three rivals. People half expect you to go and win by five lengths, but a horse can still be impressive when not winning by a wide margin.

Goodwood Races

Connections have not ruled out the Derby for Algometer (above, centre).

Mr Simcock and owner Kirsten Rausing will keep an eye on the weather and I think his main objective will be the St Leger.

However, if the ground was not rattling fast and he did turn up at Epsom, I think he will do himself justice.

I’d love him to go there – there is only one Derby – but it is not up to me. Even so, there are plenty of nice races for him and he is a horse who is sure to progress.

Vote for Chappers

I AM just about old enough to remember World of Sport and old ITV Seven accumulator.

John Rickman, Bough Scott, John Oaksey and Derek Thompson were the presenters, and the commentaries were brought to our living rooms by John Penney, Raleigh Gilbert and Graham Goode. All were exemplary and you thought of them as you’re your friends.

Their enthusiasm shone through and the presenters taught the layman the intricacies without ever making it seem a high-brow sport or talking down to their audience.

Matt Chapman.jpgChannel 4 has done a great job promoting this great sport of ours since 1985 but, after 31 years, it will soon be back on ITV.

We all have our favourites and while I have rarely had the opportunity to talk to him, Matt Chapman (right) should have been given the opportunity long ago to front mainstream TV racing.

While Marmite to some, the At The Races presenter is a character who is always honest and outspoken with his opinions. He calls a race as he sees it and, whether he is right or wrong, it is refreshing to see someone with so much passion for the sport introducing it.

There is no doubt Matt is someone who connects with the public – and that’s what presenting is all about.

Thrilled with First Selection

IT HAS not been a bad week. We Are Ninety won her Listed race at Newbury last Saturday and is likely to head to the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, while Monks Stand scored at Lingfield on Tuesday, despite trying to bury me on the way to post.

He needs to mature mentally and will be a decent horse when he does.

Sandwiched in between was a trip to Deauville and while we did not win the Group 1 Poule D’Essai Des Poulains, I could not have been happier with the Simon Crisford-trained First Selection.

While a good horse in his own right, having won the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown last season, he is pretty one-dimensional and is a free going sort who likes to be on the front end.

I’d pretty much made the running on him when seventh to Galileo Gold in the English 2,000 Guineas, when we went hard – and that’s what was so impressive about Galileo Gold, who laid up with him. At HQ, we’d set very strong fractions.

But in France, sent off a 50/1 shot, he did not get any competition for the lead and he settled well, so I was able to go through the gears on my terms and that made all the difference. He finished a fine second to an exceptional colt in The Gurkha, who is now joint-favourite for the Derby.

I’m not sure where First Selection will go next. He would have penalty in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, or connections might tilt at windmills and chuck him in the St James’s Palace Stakes.

We were lucky that everything went well, but if you take the winner out, there were still some fairly useful horses behind him.

As he is by Diktat, I would like to see him run on soft ground, as he might improve for a bit of cut.

Either way, I could not have been more thrilled with him.

This Sunday promises to be a little different. I am at Nottingham to ride a couple and Atalan (2.50) would probably be the best of them. He is a nice, big, staying type and the 1m6f will be ideal for him. Hughie Morrison’s horses are running really well and he had a double there last week.

Atalan is nice horse and is one of those where you only get out what you put into him. He takes a bit of stoking, but he could progress this season.

I will be busy at Windsor on Monday and Frozen Force (6.45) should be one of my better rides. He won well at Brighton last time and is nice stamp of a horse, despite being a bit of a thinker. Amanda Perrett’s are running well, so he should give me a good spin.

Dutch Masterpiece (7.15) could also have a squeak – he’s not a bad little horse on his day.

Hopefully, they will all run well. Fingers crossed!

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