The Jim Crowley Column: Algometer? No pressure

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, in the Racing Plus newspaper and on the Yahoo Sports UK website…

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By Jim Crowley

ALL ROADS lead to Epsom next weekend and the Investec Derby. Will he or won’t he? David Simcock isn’t saying.

Not because he does not want to – it is because he genuinely doesn’t know.

Algometer gave me a good feel at Goodwood when landing the Cocked Hat Stakes, formerly known as the Predominate Stakes.

In pure form terms, I would not read too much into his half-length win. There were only four runners and it was a bit of a muddling affair. Everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong.

However, Algometer did all that was asked and while the team will do what is in the best interests of the horse, from a purely selfish point of view, I hope the unsettled weather forecast is right and we have a drop of rain next week.

At the Breakfast With The Stars gallop on Tuesday it rode good to soft and if it stayed that way, I don’t think we’d complain.

For now, just as Dermot Weld is doing with Harzand, we are playing a waiting game.

David Simcock said yesterday: “He has come out of Goodwood in really good form. There was a lack of pace, but he came out of it with plenty of credit, and was given probably less credit than he actually deserved.

“We know he will stay the trip and he will look better the further he goes. What he does have is a very willing attitude and it is fair to say that he is not a horse you are likely to get to the bottom of.

“Will he run at Epsom? He will be left in the race on Monday and we will keep an eye on the weather. If Epsom produce good ground, then the Derby will certainly be under consideration.”

Algometer (below), who is 25/1 with Bet4Causes, reminds me a touch of Silver Patriarch, who went so close to winning the Derby for John Dunlop and Pat Eddery in 1997, before going on to land the St Leger. Not just because he is grey, it is that he has the same tenacious attitude and, should he run, he will certainly be staying on at the finish.

There is work to be done before that, however. This evening I have a fair book of rides at Salisbury.

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Second Thought (5.50) will make his debut for William Haggas in the five-furlong novices’ event. He does not have the best draw, but has a nice pedigree and the dam was out of a half-sister to the smart 1,000 Guineas winner Sky Lantern.

Vincenzo Coccotti (6.20) was a little bit free in his races last year but did not appear to relish the heavy ground at Newbury in a 6f handicap in August. He has his first run since September in a six-furlong handicap against rivals who will all have a fitness edge.

Similarly, Malakky (6.50) is making his seasonal debut for Brian Meehan, having run in a hot Newbury maiden last June, a race that has produced plenty of subsequent winners. Brian has hit the post with a few lately at big prices, so I’m hopeful he’ll go well.

I have not ridden the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Doesyourdogbite (7.20), who had been running in France prior to his first run in seven months at Windsor, where he was beaten a long way. I wouldn’t read too much into that. He might have half a chance in the 1m6f handicap.

Author’s Dream (7.50) will improve for going up in trip now that he has his handicap mark. I’m hoping he will run very well and he looks the type to make progress. He will get two miles in time and he would not be without a chance.

At Chester today, Gunnery (4.35) is my nap of the weekend. I think he will take a bit of beating in the 1m4f handicap.

While at Haydock, Home Of The Brave (3.10) can follow up his comfortable Leicester win in the John Of Gaunt, and with Hugo Palmer in such good form, Gifted Master (3.45) looks the one in the Group Two Sandy Lane Stakes.

On Monday, I am at Windsor and Lady Macarpa (4.05) looks the pick of my rides. She is a very quick filly and we are on a bit of a fact-finding mission in the 5f Sprint Series Handicap.

She is quite useful. The ground was probably a bit too lively for her in a very good race at York, were she showed a bit too much speed, so I think I’d like to try and drop her in if I can.

Finally, don’t miss the Lucy Wadham-trained Minstrels Gallery (7.40 Wolverhampton) on Tuesday. He is on a three-timer and I’d be disappointed to see him beaten. He still looks on a decent handicap mark of 75 compared to his hurdles mark of 129.

Sammy Jo will be back

FALLS are part of racing. We have all had them from time to time, some more serious than others.

When you see the injuries sustained by Sammy Jo Bell, it brings into focus just what a dangerous job this can be sometimes.

Sammy Jo fractured her pelvis at Carlisle a week ago when her mount Royal Duchess reared leaving the parade ring and fell on top of her, fracturing her pelvis.

She has had an operation to have a plate inserted and apparently will spend the next six weeks in a wheelchair before she can begin rehabbing.

Richard Fahey’s apprentice is one of the best female riders to come along for years. All of us in the weighing room hope that Sammy Jo (below) makes a full recovery and will soon be able to continue her burgeoning career.

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Winners galore

IT HAS been a rather productive week with four winners in five days, so I can’t complain.

Hughie Morrison’s Atalan won nicely at Nottingham last Sunday and could make into a nice staying horse. He could be quite progressive.

Hard Toffee won a seller at Lingfield on Wednesday for Conrad Allen. He’s a big horse and wasn’t suited by the slow pace in a quartet of bumpers. Having ridden over the jumps, I’ve never did quite understand why they often went so slowly in bumpers. He enjoyed the better ground and he’ll continue to pay his way on the Flat. He’s a bit better than selling standard.

I’m pleased to say I had a double at Chelmsford on Thursday thanks to Kindly and Lady Lunchalot. As hoped, Kindly built on the promise of her Lingfield debut and we made all to win a 6f maiden. Simon Crisford sees her as similarly progressive and she should make her mark in handicaps.

Lady Lunchalot settled well in her 10f fillies’ handicap and she enjoyed going past her rivals. She likes going left-handed and she stayed on nicely. She’ll get a bit further and she won off a 4lb higher mark last season.

Let’s hope we have a few more to talk about next week. Fingers crossed.

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