The Jim Crowley column: Poet sounds good

Having ridden 15 winners in the last 14 days, there is no jockey hotter than Bet4Causes Brand Ambassador Jim Crowley.

In his exclusive Racing Plus newspaper column, Jim gives the insight for his Saturday rides and looks ahead to Glorious Goodwood…

Brighton Races

By JIM CROWLEY

WHILE four of the five Classics have been run, when you are lucky enough to ride good horses, sometimes you can dare to dream.

On Wednesday evening I rode a colt who could be anything. Best Of Days, who made his debut in the seven-furlong maiden at Sandown Park and scored by six lengths, is trained by Hugo Palmer.

By Azamour and out of a High Chaparral mare who was a Listed 1m winner, he should develop into a decent middle-distance performer. He has a good stride on him, showed a lovely change of gear to pick them up and if he had run over a mile he could probably have won by 20 lengths.

Hugo won the 2000 Guineas with Galileo Gold and while it is too early to say if Best Of Days will develop into a Classic contender, he is by far the best two-year-old I have sat on so far this season and is certainly one for the notebook.

These really are the best of days at the moment, as I’ve been fortunate to be riding for some in-form stables and having a few winners over the last couple of weeks.

Today I will be at both Ascot and Salisbury and start the day aboard Poet’s Princess (2.45) in the Group Three Princess Margaret Stakes.

I rode her first time out and liked her a lot. She didn’t have a hard time because she was quite nervous and Adam Kirby won on her at Newbury next time when I had to be elsewhere. It is a competitive race today against a few who look quite smart. She deserves her chance to run and hopefully she will run well.

It will be good to get back on my old mate Manson (3.20) in the mile handicap. He was beaten by Von Blucher at Newmarket last time when drawn away from him and didn’t get enough cover.

If he could have followed Von Blucher, he might have run a bit closer. Manson is also 7lb better off for that two-and-a-half-length defeat by that rival today, so I’m hopeful he can win.

His trainer, Dominic Ffrench Davis, still has designs on going to the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington next month and this stiff mile on a hold-up track should play to his strengths. I just hope the rain stays away and we get nice ground.

While this is a competitive handicap run over a mile, the Secretariat, for which you have to receive an invitation, is over 1m2f but there is every evidence to suggest he would get that trip. He ticks plenty of boxes and hopefully we can keep the dream alive.

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Balty Boys (3.55), who has a string of duck eggs to his name, runs in the International Stakes. However, he is a fairly decent animal and has been dropping down the weights.

Balty Boys (above, right) was fourth in the Royal Hunt Cup last year and in these cavalry charges, you need to be drawn in the right place and around the right horses. It is an open race but it will be nice if he runs well.

It is off to Salisbury after that. Attest (5.50), trained by Amanda Perrett, is a big horse whom I really like. Owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, I rode his first time out here when third to Wave Reviews. He ran a lovely race and has been working really well at home. I’m hopeful of a big run in the 1m2f maiden.

As I have not sat on him, I don’t know much about Eolian (6.50), who will hopefully show a bit more than he as in his first two starts.

Catchment (7.20) is a nice little filly who has been second on her last two starts and she has been working well at home. Amanda’s horses are in good order and it doesn’t look a strong maiden. I would like think she has a decent chance of getting off the mark.

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Algometer in Goodwood test

IT WAS not a great surprise to see Derby winner Harzand not entered for the St Leger. Owned by the Aga Khan, he will likely take his chance in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe instead.

It is rare that Derby winners take their chance at Doncaster. Horses are bred more for speed than stamina these days and winning the final British Classic is seen, sometimes incorrectly, as doing little to increase their value at stud.

Could that leave the door open for Algometer (below, centre), who was seventh at Epsom? I hope so. I’ve always thought a lot of the David Simcock-trained colt, who is likely to head to Glorious Goodwood next week.

Close to home, it is a track where I’ve been lucky enough to have ridden some good winners in races such as the Goodwood Cup, the Lillie Langtree and the Glorious Stakes.

Hopefully, I can add the Gordon Stakes to that list on Wednesday with Algometer (3.25) and there are a few potentially nice rides on Thursday, including York winner Pamona (3.45) in the Lillie Langtree, who must have a fair chance if replicating her last run.

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Before that, at Windsor on Monday, I ride the Hugo Palmer-trained Evergate (6.25), who drops back to six furlongs having run a bit too free at Newmarket last time. He obviously thought that was what was required of him as he had previously jumped out and tried to make all at Leicester.

At Newmarket, there were only two horses who’d had previous experience, so all the debutants were either slowly away or didn’t want to lead, so he ended up running with the choke out and got no cover as he was drawn on the outside.

He will be a better horse when he gets a bit of cover and is held up.

Ed de Giles’ horses are on fire at the moment and Prendergast Hill (8.00) bids to follow up his win here last week in a slightly stronger handicap. There is no reason why he shouldn’t follow up.

I have not yet sat on the Ralph Beckett-trained September Stars (7.30), who was runner-up in an extended 1m1f Wolverhampton maiden last time, so don’t know much about him other than what the bare form states. However, if Ralph ran the stable cat, it would probably give you a good run for your money, such is his string’s form.

The five-day Glorious Goodwood festival starts on Tuesday (below). I ride Pleaseletmewin (2.35) for Ralph Beckett in the 7f Group Two Qatar Vintage Stakes. I haven’t ridden him before but he won at Newmarket under Ryan Moore last time and he has had just the four runs, so hopefully he is still learning and will improve again.

Qatar Goodwood Festival - Day 5

Arch Villain (3.45) goes in the 1m6f Summer Stakes. I got too far back on him at Newcastle in the Northumberland Plate when he was bidding for a hat-trick. He has won previously at Goodwood and with Amanda Perrett’s horses in great order, he should go well.

Musical Comedy (4.20) will have to improve a little on his first two runs of the season if he is to have a chance in the 5f handicap. He may just have needed those runs after a long lay-off and to be fair, he was not beaten far by Bashiba at Windsor last time.

Sea Shack (4.55) will hopefully have learned from his debut at Ascot behind Seven Heavens but I don’t know much about him, having not ridden him before.

I would hope that Desert Haze (5.30), a winner at Carlisle and Sandown earlier this season, would have a squeak in the mile fillies’ handicap. She has only had six previous starts and still looks on the upgrade.

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As well as Algometer on Wednesday, Hugo Palmer runs a nice filly called Bithynia (4.20) who was made favourite for her debut when third at Sandown under James Doyle. The daughter of Kodiac cost 210,000 guineas earlier this year and while the 6f fillies’ maiden will no doubt be competitive, she would hold a fair chance.

I am at Sandown Wednesday night where I ride Pensax Boy (7.35) for Ian Williams. He won at Newcastle then was fourth at Newmarket last time, but was not beaten far and he still seems to be improving.

Crowning Glory (8.10) is a tough filly. Trained by Ralph Beckett, she was suited by a strong gallop at Windsor when I won on her last week. She steps up to 1m1f this time and that should be fine for her in what looks a competitive fillies’ handicap.

Readers of this column will know I hold the Lucy Wadham-trained Pumblechoock (8.40) in high regard and he is down to run in a 1m6f handicap. However, he needs some cut in the ground and will not run unless he gets that.

I hope that has given you a little insight into my rides this week. The good run will have to come to an end at some point, but I intend to enjoy it while it lasts.

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The Jim Crowley Column: I’m Berk-ing mad!

Having ridden nine winners in the last six days – including doubles on each the last two days – there is no jockey hotter than Bet4Causes Brand Ambassador Jim Crowley. In his exclusive Racing Plus newspaper column, Jim gives the insight for his Saturday rides…

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By Jim Crowley

HAVING had just two runs in two years, Berkshire (3.00 Newbury) is a horse who now has to answer a few questions following a couple of below-par runs.

Going into this season, the five-year-old was a very capable horse who had only run five times in his life, winning three, including the Chesham and Royal Lodge as a juvenile.

I have always held him in high regard. He was very fresh at Goodwood in May when he was having his first run since October 2014, although that would not have been his track at all.

He was held up on the Polytrack at Deauville last month and disappointed there under Gerard Mosse.

He runs in the Listed Steventon Stakes today and obviously, if he came back to form, he would have a great chance.

I’m hopeful of a good run. It is always hard to be dogmatic about horses who have been on and off the track with issues. In fact, when you are dogmatic, usually it blows up in your face.

He has run twice in the best part of a year for Paul Cole but he has had time to get over both. It looks a winnable 10-furlong race and there would be nothing in the field I would be worried about, if he came back to form.

Berkshire (below) just wants nice ground and he is likely to get it. He sports blinkers for the first time, so I’m hoping they will galvanise him and help reveal his true ability.

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Raucous (3.35) is dropping back to six furlongs for the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes. I rode him over seven in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Trained by William Haggas, he ran respectably when behind Ribchester and finished in mid-division. He was third in the Mill Reef over today’s curse and distance (again behind Ribchester) as a two-year-old over six furlongs.

It does look a hot race and you’d have to be more hopeful than confident.

Golden Stunner (2.30) is on a hat-trick, having won her maiden at Nottingham at the sixth attempt and following up on her handicap debut over a mile at Newmarket a month ago. She has gone up 5lb for that, but Ralph Beckett’s horses are on fire at the moment, so you would anticipate her having a favourite’s chance.

 

Tim Easterby has won the Weatherby’s Super Sprint three times since 1998 and he saddles Ventura Secret (4.10) and Hope Solo in a hugely competitive renewal.

I ride the former, who has had just four starts, but won on his third at Musselburgh before finding the easy ground and a 7lb penalty a bit too much to overcome at Beverley last time.

This is a race in which a lot of horses are only running because they are qualified to do so, but in truth, a few of those probably shouldn’t be running. Hopefully that is not one of mine, but as I have yet to sit on him, I can only go by what the form tells me. It is a very open race, but I would hope I have a chance.

Unfortunately, I have just one ride at Lingfield this evening. Prince Of Islay (6.40) is trained by my sister-in-law Amanda Perrett and will wear a visor for the first time in the 1m6f handicap. He carries top weight and is stepping up in trip. Her horses are running well and even though there are horses with a higher official rating in the field, hopefully this one can win. I can’t get much more dogmatic, can I?

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On a roll

A JOCKEY’S confidence is everything. Any evidence to suggest otherwise is more anecdotal than empirical. Yet it is true, as it is in any sport – any top athlete will tell you so.

A winner gives you a lift and it can snowball. Winners get you better rides and therefore a better chance of riding more winners.

In terms of the number of winners I had hoped to achieve, this season as a whole has been a bit disappointing, but we are getting into the thick of summer now and it is starting to get rolling.

I turned 38 on Thursday (cake was off the menu, sadly), so it was good to celebrate with a brace at Chepstow.

Fortunately I have had a good week or so, with further doubles at Epsom, York and Nottingham, and treble at Windsor.

Last Saturday’s York brace was tempered somewhat by Spanish Squeeze being a non-runner in the John Smith’s Cup. As it turned out, he was well beaten at Yarmouth on Wednesday.

Other than that, everything ran well. Richard Fahey’s juvenile Lucky Mistake ran a stormer first-time-out and was beaten three-quarters of a length. That will be a horse worth following.

Magic Circle looks as though he will keep progressing and may well be a horse for the Cesarewitch.

Pamona was a bit of a revelation. She wasn’t fancied at all. The instructions were “get as close as you can”. She looked to have plenty on her plate in the John Smith’s Silver Cup and she not only surprised me, but also her trainer.

She had been placed in the Ribblesdale last season but had lost her way a bit and on this first run for Ralph Beckett (below), she won quite well.

Doncaster Races

She will now probably go for the Group Three Lily Langtree Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, although having picked up a two-day ban on Wednesday, it will rule me out of one day of that meeting. I’m not sure if I will miss the Wednesday or the Thursday yet. But all in all, it is a bit of a pain.

I was pleased Against The Odds won at Windsor, because he had disappointed twice and I’ve always said he was a decent animal. He is going to be a nice stayer and is one to keep on the right side of.

Let’s hope to keep the roll going!

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The Jim Crowley Column: Squeeze-y does it!

In his exclusive Racing Plus newspaper column, Bet4Causes brand ambassador Jim Crowley looks ahead to Saturday’s big meetings at York and Newmarket. He also pays tribute to Kieren Fallon upon his retirement, plus gives his thoughts on all his weekend rides…

Brighton Races

By Jim Crowley

THE big meetings and top races come thick and fast at this time of year – and this weekend is no exception, with the July Cup at Newmarket, the John Smith’s Cup at York and the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly.

While I was at Newmarket yesterday, I will be at York this afternoon and in France tomorrow.

If York rides as well as Newmarket did (all credit to Michael Prosser and his team for producing perfectly safe, fast ground) I don’t think there will be too many complaints.

While Richard Fahey does not have a guaranteed runner in the 57th John Smith’s Cup after Garcia missed the cut, he does have a strong team today and I partner Lucky Mistake (1.55) in the juvenile maiden.

Making his debut, this Fast Company colt is a half-brother to six winners over a variety of trips. I don’t know much about him and whatever he achieves today, he is sure to be better for the experience.

Magic Circle (2.25) goes in the two-mile stayers’ stakes for Ralph Beckett. He is not a bad sort and looked quite progressive until probably unsuited by going up in trip at Ascot last month. Today he drops back to the trip he won over at Haydock last October and will be suited by the track. He could hold a nice chance.

I was really looking forward to riding Manson in the mile handicap but has been switched to Newmarket (3.25) and I will have more than an eye on that race to see if Ryan Moore can steer him home.

Instead, I ride Miss Van Gough (3.00). She is not a bad little horse, a progressive sort, and was not beaten far at Epsom last time. However, Mr Fahey’s representative is drawn 16 which isn’t ideal over the York mile, so that will be an obstacle to overcome.

Pamona (3.40) will have to be at her very best if she is to have a chance in the Silver Cup and it is such a hot race that even her best might not be good enough, particularly with the likes of Barsanti and Curbyourenthusiasm in the line-up. That pair are going to be hard to beat.

But in the 57th John Smith’s Cup, Spanish Squeeze (4.15) would appear to have a very good chance, according to his trainer. Hugo Palmer really likes him and he wanted me to go to York specifically to ride him.

Spanish Squeeze is a very lightly-raced four-year-old who has had a few niggly little problems, stupid things that have kept him off the track, but he has been training well and he could be nicely handicapped.

I’ve also got Kingsgate Native (4.50) as well. At the age of 11, he’s nearly old enough to smoke, but he’s a lovely horse whom I’ve won on before. It would be great to see this grand old campaigner grab another win and hopefully that will come in the Listed 5f City Walls Stakes.

Tomorrow I am at Chantilly, riding First Selection (3.15) in the Prix Jean Prat for Simon Crisford.

He was second to The Gurkha in the French 2,000 Guineas, where we made much of the running and I won’t ride him any differently. Chantilly is a front-runner’s track and if he ran to that form, he will be bang there. While Nemoralia looks the one to beat on paper, she is a hold-up horse, so will need luck in running.

Having won and been second in the race, it would be nice to bag it again.

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Wishing Fallon well

KIEREN FALLON’S retirement was not totally unexpected. The six-time champion jockey has been suffering from depression for the last three years and he needed hospital treatment for it.

One hopes that the 51-year-old (above) can get all the help he needs.

In our game, it is mentally tough. It is very brave that he has come out and said he has an issue. Some people keep things bottled up and don’t say anything, so fair play to him.

In any sport, when you have been at the highest level and you are no longer at the top – it happens to pretty much every sportsman – it is probably quite difficult to deal with. You see depression common in ex-boxers, ex-footballers and plenty of other sportsmen, and it is nothing to be ashamed of.

Kieren was one of the greatest jockeys I’ve ever seen. There have been so many instances of his magic. Kris Kin in the Derby was an awesome ride, his Arc ride on Dylan Thomas was brilliant and all round, when he was in the zone, he was simply the best.

Ask any trainer and they will tell you the same thing: horses ran for him.

When Kieren was behind you in a race, you could always hear him coming, because he perfected his famous whistle – it was quite a common thing and we all miss it.

He was always very good to me. If I asked his advice, he was fantastic. He was quite a kind person to deal with in the weighing room. He was also clean rider, never a dirty one, and would always look after you if you were in trouble in a race. He was good like that.

Everyone has got to stop riding at some point and whatever he does now, he will be a real asset to someone. His knowledge is phenomenal.

We naturally all wish him well but I know one thing: the sport is a little less rich without ‘King Kieren’.

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The Jim Crowley Column: Sympathy for Buick

Top jockey and Bet4Causes Flat Racing Brand Ambassador Jim Crowley provides his exclusive thoughts on his weekend rides each week in the Racing Plus newspaper and on Yahoo Sport UK. In his latest column, he looks ahead to a big day at Haydock Park on Saturday…

Brighton Races

By Jim Crowley

YOU never quite know what goes through the minds of French Stewards. They are always very strict and not for the first time I find myself shaking my head over a decision.

William Buick will miss a large part of the summer Flat season after a 30-day ban imposed on him by the Chantilly stewards was upheld by France Gallop at an appeal on Wednesday.

Buick was deemed to have played a major role in the interference that led Pierre-Charles Boudot’s mount Armande falling in the Prix de Diane on June 19. The ban, initially for 15 days, was doubled after the Godolphin rider’s “offensive” behaviour towards officials, and it begins tomorrow.

I actually feel quite sorry for Will. There was an incident before the fall where his mount, Highlands Queen, was impeded, which I felt was worse. It was unlucky for him that someone came off and you get a mandatory 15 days if one comes down.

These things happen, yet a degree of common sense should prevail in the aftermath.

Will (below) obviously felt frustrated in the heat of the moment and said something he should not, but it is not always easy to keep your cool.

In a race, your blood is up. It is like being in a fight. The adrenalin kicks in and then immediately afterwards you are expected to be calm and composed. You are asked to go from one extreme to another.

If someone cuts you up for example – as happened to Will – you really have to try and bite your lip or count to ten. Even then, when emotions are running high, it is never easy to hold a sharp tongue. Jockeys can get irked or outraged, but in some ways, it is only because they care.

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Will is obviously remorseful and will learn from it, yet as a jockey, I can understand how frustrated he must have felt.

There is no doubt he is going to be missed by racing fans, who have been robbed of a star.

I pay one of my rare visits to Haydock Park this afternoon. Last year I had a couple of winners at the Merseyside track and this will be my first visit of the season.

Duretto (2.50) runs in the Old Newtown Cup and he looks as though he would have a good chance.

Twice a winner at Ascot last summer, he wasn’t beaten far by King Bolete when he made his seasonal debut back there in May, and while I was very hopeful Andrew Balding’s runner (below) would win at Epsom on Derby day, I felt I may have ridden him bit too handily when fifth to Green Light.

He jumped off well and got a good position, but it transpired that he lost a shoe early on, which did not help. He is an improving four-year-old whom I quite like, the 1m4f trip is ideal and he races off the same mark of 94 as he had at Epsom. With the ground is in his favour, I am expecting a big run in what looks a competitive renewal.

Ascot Races

Fairway To Heaven (4.35) will carry top weight in the 6f handicap. I was second on him at Goodwood last year and he was again second at Windsor. After that, he had sore shins, but I think Michael Wigham has got him back and he is very hopeful of a big run.

At Windsor on Monday, I ride Spiritofedinburgh (6.35) for Brendan Powell, who was a decent third at Leicester last time out on only his second start, and he stayed on nicely. That was over six furlongs and he should go okay in the maiden over the same trip.

I also partner Electrify (8.35) for Jeremy Noseda in mile maiden. She is a daughter of Invincible Spirit who cost 52,000 euros as a yearling and her dam was a 1m2f winner and a half-sister to the top-class middle-distance performer Epalo. I have not sat on her, so don’t know much about her, but Jeremy’s stable has been going well of late.

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One for the notebook

Of my winners in the past week or so, the David Simcock-trained three-year-old West Coast Flyer, who scored over an extended 1m4f at Newcastle, is one to keep on your side. I really liked him.

He was a bit of a baby and it took me a while to get him wound up in the extended 1m4 conditions race, but he is a big, scopey sort and I should think he will progress mentally and physically.

West Coast Flyer is a gorgeous-looking son of Cape Cross and he probably won with a bit more in hand than the three-quarters of a length margin suggests. That was only the fourth run of his career and he will improve for going up in trip as well.

There were also a couple of defeats to take on the chin, not least with Arch Villain in the Northumberland Plate. I went to follow one of the leaders and found myself without much room, and got shuffled back after being stopped when making my run. Draw a line through that form as he would have definitely been placed had we not been stopped.

On Thursday, I was involved in a race where most of my rivals carrying a lot more condition, yet I still found myself beaten.

Yes, it was the Dads’ race at my children’s school sports day.

Despite being the fittest of the field, I did not have the best draw, the ground wasn’t right, the trip was not ideal and I probably could probably have done with blinkers and a tongue strap.

I finished (a brave) second.

Fortunately, no-one threw a bucket of water over me to cool me down afterwards, although my wife says gelding is likely to be the most viable option for me now!

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The Jim Crowley Column: Villain is my hero

Bet4Causes brand ambassador Jim Crowley looks ahead to the Pitman’s Derby in his exclusive Racing Plus and Yahoo Sport UK column, and provides insight into on his rides over the next few days…

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By Jim Crowley

Change is in the air in more ways than one. What the Brexit from the European Union means for racing in this country is unclear.

There is the potential for the economy to have a little bit on a dip initially and I was a little bit sad to see David Cameron resign, as I think he has been a fantastic Prime Minister.

However, things will take time before we see any significant adjustment and it will be business as usual for those buying and selling horses, I should imagine.

There also been a little modification to one of the biggest staying handicaps on the calendar. The Northumberland Plate is now being run on an all-weather surface.

Newcastle’s new all-weather track has been getting very good reviews from those who have ridden on it and, over time, it will be a boon to the northern trainers.

Better known as the ‘Pitmen’s Derby’, the Northumberland Plate was first established in 1833 and it is so known because the local miners were given the day off to go and watch it.

Today, I aptly ride a horse who digs deep when you ask him to.

Arch Villain (4.15) has a plum draw in stall one. Trained by my sister-in-law Amanda Perrett, he has won four of his last six and absolutely loves the all-weather.

He had a tendon injury which kept him off for nine months before he won on his comeback at Lingfield in January (below, right). Then he won a two-mile conditions race off a mark of 98 the following month. He has not run since.

The plan was originally to go for the All-Weather Marathon Championship at Lingfield, but he missed that as he had a minor setback. I would have had a tough choice between him and Moonrise Landing, but I was lucky Arch Villain didn’t turn up and I partnered Ralph Beckett’s horse to victory.

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Arch Villain is very easy ride, Amanda’s horses are running well and I think he’s overpriced at around 16/1, purely because he has not run for four months.

He runs well fresh, he is a prominent racer who stays really well and, if he is going to win a big pot, this could be it.

I’ve also got a ride for Chris Gordon, who is one of the funniest guys I know – he has a terrific sense of humour. He is also not a bad trainer, either.

He does really well with his jumpers, and that is not really a surprise considering he used to be one of the top point-to-point riders in the country.

Chris, whom I’ve known for around 15 years, is based in Hampshire and to my mind, does not get anywhere near the recognition he deserves.

He started off on a small scale buying other people’s cast-offs and building them up. Lightentertainment flew the flag for the stable last season, at one stage winning five of six over hurdles, proof positive that if you give Chris the ammunition, he will get the best out of them and improve them.

He saddles Albahar (3.40) in the in the Northumberland Vase Handicap.

I won on him over two miles off a mark of 78  on the Polytrack at Chelmsford in February and William Buick won a decent handicap on him over the same trip at Goodwood last time off 83. His only runs which were sub-par came on good to firm ground, so you can discount them.

He is an improving horse and likes the all-weather, winning twice in five attempts. He also stays very well, but on the downside, the five-year-old has a bad draw – he’s out in the car park in stall 18.

Despite the trip, a wide draw can have a big impact, particularly at Newcastle. He has also gone up another 9lb for that Goodwood win last month, so will need a career-best to get close. You’d have to be hopeful rather than confident.

We will all have one eye on the Irish Derby. Algometer, my Epsom ride, is not taking part – I think would have been hard to turn the form around with Harzand (5.20 Curragh) – and neither is Us Army Ranger, which is a shame because I felt he was the best horse and it would have been good to see them clash again.

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Harzand goes for a Derby double

One for the notebook

Sometimes you get days when horses you think will run well don’t. Other days, you are nicely surprised. On Thursday, Emmie was a pleasant surprise.

I have been lucky for her owner, Mary-Anne Parker, before. In 2012, I rode a filly of hers called Roz, who won nicely and then was second in the Group One Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.

Emmie made her debut at Newbury over seven-furlongs at Newbury and I was quite taken with her after she won really well. I told Harry Dunlop that I thought the daughter of High Chaparral could be very smart and had a job pulling her up. She’ll get further.

Let’s hope there are a couple of nice surprises next week.

Windsor is the destination on Monday and Catchment (6.55) is a nice filly. She has been runner-up on a couple of occasions and should go close in a maiden fillies’ race off a mark of 75. She should go close.

I have a few rides at Brighton on Tuesday with the pick of them appearing to be Sixties Love (3.45), who always runs well there. She has been second on her last four visits and we appear to have got her trip right now. Hopefully, she can go one better.

Canford Belle (2.15) should also go close. She was stopped when making her run last time and she is down to a mark of 55, which is just 1lb higher than when last scoring.

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The Jim Crowley Column: Time for Sleepy

Bet4Causes brand ambassador Jim Crowley reflects on the Royal meeting and in his exclusive Racing Plus column, provides insight into on his rides at Ascot on Saturday and over the next few days…

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By Jim Crowley

ROYAL ASCOT 2016 provided some great highlights, particularly for Adam Kirby.

He became a father just hours before riding the first of two Group One winners at the meeting and, understandably, he was emotional in the post-race TV interview.

Adam is a better man than he is a jockey – and he’s a brilliant jockey.

So I don’t think there was one person in the weighing room who wasn’t delighted for him when he came home in front on Profitable for Clive Cox in the King’s Stand (below), just hours after his girlfriend Megan gave birth to their son, Charlie.

Adam is a great lad, always helpful to the media and fans of the sport, and would do anything for anyone. He deserves all the success going.

It could not have been a better week for him when he won his second Group One, again for Clive, aboard My Dream Boat in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Wednesday.

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If you did not know it already, that jockey-trainer combination is a match for anyone.

I was pleased for horse as well. Incidentally, I rode his sire, Lord Shanakill, who won the Prix Jean Prat in 2009 for Karl Burke. He is now at stud in Pennsylvania. The horse, not Karl!

Despite the soft ground – you have to feel so sorry for clerk of the course Chris Stickels, who does a tremendous job – there were some startling performances. Lady Aurelia looked a superstar in romping away with the Queen Mary and Ardad scorched home in the Windsor Castle.

Caravaggio looked very impressive in the Coventry and he wasn’t stopping when he hit the front in the easy ground. There is no doubt, even at this early stage, he might develop into Classic material.

Abe Lincoln was the highlight for me. It was a case of so near, but yet so far in the Britannia Handicap as Jeremy Noseda’s colt ran an absolute blinder (below) in ground he did not like, coming alone down the centre of the track. He was in front a stride after the line.

Royal Ascot 2016: Day Three

The ground was very much against Manson in the same race. He was 19th of the 28 runners in the end, but he could develop into a smart handicapper. Dominic Ffrench Davis is planning on sending him to the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington in Chicago in August. He will have his day before too long.

I was also delighted with We Are Ninety, who was beaten just over three lengths in the Ribblesdale. There is more to come from Hugo Palmer’s filly, I am sure.

While I haven’t had a winner at the Royal meeting this week, I still have a couple of chances today.

Not So Sleepy (3.05) will have a good chance in the Wolferton Handicap. Last year I won the Dee Stakes on him in very soft ground at Chester for Hughie Morrison (below) and then he ran well at Windsor when finishing in front of Fascinating Rock, who went on to win the Champions Stakes.

He ran a fine race on his return behind Time Test at Sandown and he would be my best chance of a winner.

Seaside Sizzler (5.35) has run well in the Queen Alexandra for William Knight a couple of times and stays well. He won’t mind any cut in the ground and perhaps he’d have an each-way chance if things fall right.

Salisbury Races

Sunday best

I am up at Pontefract tomorrow, where I partner Pumblechook (2.40) for Lucy Wadham. I’ve been looking forward to riding this full brother to Chinese White, who won the 1m2f Irish Pretty Polly Stakes (Group One) in 2010, since he made his debut when third to Wings Of Desire at Wolverhampton.

It could be a good afternoon, as I also ride Duretto (3.40) for Andrew Balding in a Listed 1m4f handicap. He lost a hind shoe at Epsom and he would have a decent chance of gaining compensation for missing the cut at Ascot this week.

Kindly (5.10) was a winner for Simon Crisford at Chelmsford last time and I hope she can follow up on her handicap debut off a mark of 75. She is a progressive filly and I quite like her.

On Monday I’m at Windsor where I ride Sixties Groove (8.20) for Jeremy Noseda. He won nicely at Kempton when stepped up in trip to 1m3f, but he has gone up 8lb for a length victory which seems a little excessive. He is getting his act together now and hopefully he will go in again, as he doesn’t mind any cut in the ground.

At Leicester on Tuesday I ride Hearty (6.10) for Jeremy Noseda, who won last time out in soft ground at Lingfield. He is quite a lazy horse who will only give you what you ask for, but he could run well.

Rule may take time to bed in

There is a new rule that jockeys feel might take a while to bed in.

With the support of the Jockeys’ Association, Andrea Atzeni and solicitor Rory Mac Neice, on Thursday I went to the BHA to appeal a four-day ban handed down by the Nottingham stewards. They had deemed I had committed an improper riding offence, having angled out to get a run on Aristocles, who won a 1m6f handicap on June 1.

To keep it simple, let’s just say there is a fine line between improper and careless riding. A jockey’s job is to do his best for connections and the betting public.

The BHA found that there was “an important and unfortunate discrepancy between the Rule as drafted, and as set out in the booklet used by officials on the racecourse. Clarification is needed as a matter of urgency so that there is alignment between the Rule Book and the Guide”.

So thanks to Andrea, Rory and the Jockeys’ Association, I am free to ride next week.

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The Jim Crowley Column: Scotland the brave

Bet4Causes brand ambassador Jim Crowley looks ahead to next week’s Royal meeting and gives his thoughts on his Ascot Gold Cup mount.

Here, in his exclusive Racing Plus column, he provides insight into on his rides at York on Saturday, plus what it felt like to ride in his first Epsom Derby …

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By Jim Crowley

SCOTLAND can’t be backed to win the European Championships because they didn’t qualify.

But Scotland has every chance of winning a major trophy, as Friti Hay’s five-year-old holds a chance of landing the Ladies’ Day feature at Royal Ascot on Thursday (4.20) – the Gold Cup In Honour of The Queen’s 90th Birthday.

Trained by Andrew Balding, Scotland has run only once over the 2m4f trip, when the German-bred gelding finished three-and-a-half lengths behind Trip To Paris in the same Group One race last season.

He has had just one run since, when beaten a head over 1m4f at the same track by Elite Army in a Listed race last month. It was a great comeback after 11 months off and if he settles well, I can see him going close again.

I have ridden three winners at the Royal meeting: Prohibit in the King’s Stand (below), Berkshire in the Chesham and Dutch Connection in last year’s Jersey Stakes.

But the race I have always wanted to win is the Gold Cup, particularly as I went so close with Missunited two years ago.

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Receiving the famous trophy from Her Majesty would undoubtedly be one of the highlights of my career, the stuff of dreams.

And if Scotland settles, why not dare to dream that dream?

Monks Stand is in both the Coventry Stakes (3.05) and Windsor Castle Stakes (5.35) on Tuesday. I won on him over 6f on the Lingfield Polytrack and he followed up at Brighton last time under Ryan Moore. It seems likely that Jeremy Noseda might fit a bit of headgear on him, whichever race he ends up in. He’s very talented but let’s just say he has developed a bit of a personality.

I also ride First Selection (4.20) in the St James’s Palace Stakes for Simon Crisford. It will be a tough ask and it will probably be a little different from the Poulians at Deaville where we tried to make all and saw The Gurka sweep past. Hopefully, if he could run a place, that would be great.

Incidentally, if we don’t win that race, The Gurkha would be my best bet of the meeting. I think he has the beating of Galileo Gold and Irish Guineas winner Awtaad. Either way, it will be a fantastic race.

On Wednesday, my Royal Hunt Cup ride is Master The World (5.00) for the master trainer David Elsworth. He went close in the Balmoral here in October and is just the sort of horse that could pop up.

Obviously, it would be wonderful in Her Majesty’s 90th birthday year, to win the Ribblesdale Stakes on the aptly-named Weareninety (Thursday, 3.40) for Hugo Palmer.

She has won three of her four races, including last time at Newbury in a Listed race where we found out plenty about her ability. That was her third run in 22 days – not an easy feat for any horse.

I think she has a great chance as she stayed on really well and enjoyed the step up to 1m2f.

On the same afternoon in the Britannia Stakes (5.00), I have the choice of riding Abe Lincoln for Jeremy Noseda – who is likely to be near the top of the market – or Manson, a lovely horse who is a half-brother to Jack Hobbs, for Dominic Ffrench Davis.

It is a tough decision to make, as I think both will go well.

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Business as usual

THERE is plenty to get through before the Royal meeting.

Today I am at York, where I ride Mindurownbusiness (3.00) for Roger Varian. He is a progressive type who has done the majority of his racing on the all-weather, but has won on the turf. The track should suit and I don’t see why he won’t be bang there.

I’m looking forward to riding Alfred Hutchinson (2.25), who has good course and distance form. He has just joined David O’Meara, whom I think is a brilliant trainer. If anyone can squeeze a little bit out of the tank, I’m sure David will. I’ve known him a long time through jumping together and while it is no surprise to me how well he has done, I’m thrilled he is doing so well.

David O'Meara.jpgI also ride Lathom (3.35) for David (right). He won over 5f at Newbury last July and was not beaten far at Epsom last week, so I’d hope he’d have an each-way chance.

David hasn’t had Tadaany (4.10) long. He was with Derby-winning trainer Dermot Weld, but he has improved them before. He bought one out of Dermot’s last year rated about 53 and he improved it to about 90.

Cajmere (4.45) ran third in a novice’s race at a big price on his debut for Tom Dascsombe, so you’d be hopeful he’ll go well in the 6f maiden.

Finally, the David Simcock-trained Under Siege (5.20) has been beaten favourite in his last three runs, but you would have to think he would hold a fair chance of landing the 6f handicap.

I have a couple of good chances at Salisbury tomorrow. The Lucy Wadham-trained Taffeta Lady (3.15) has been twice third in two quite decent maidens. I think she’ll go close.

On Nottingham on Monday, I ride Burcan (8.10) for Jeremy Noseda. He has run twice and been first and second. He’s a nice horse who will be competitive.

And in the last I ride Atalan (9.10) who won over course and distance last time. He would be my ride of the week. I’d be disappointed if he didn’t win again.

Sandown Races

Sunday racing? Where’s the common sense?

The 2017 Fixture List will see a net increase of around 12 meetings. I have no issue with that.

But what has most of us cheering in the weighing room is that we will get a Flat-free Sunday each month during the summer. That is brilliant news.

Actually, I wish I had every Sunday off, to be honest. I detest Sunday racing. It is good for the public and good for the crowds, but when you have a family and you are racing on a Saturday and a Sunday, you just don’t get to spend time with your children at weekends in the summer. It is the same for stable staff and trainers. To get a Sunday off now and again is going to be tremendous news.

I’ve been saying it for a long time: why don’t we have alternate Jump and Flat Sundays? It is basic common sense.

The issue is that it is the tracks themselves who decide when they are going to race. They have too much power.

You’ll see a Saturday when there is Catterick, Haydock, York and Chester on – and the bulk of the racing be in the North. It is ridiculous.

You have to scratch your head sometimes and wonder if those doing the race planning will ever give those crayons back to their kids.

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Now for the St Leger…

MY first Derby ride, aboard Algometer (above, grey horse, extreme left), was unforgettable. We knew there was going to be a strong pace and the plan was always to sit him in a bit, rather than force the issue, and ride him where he was happiest. He missed the kick a little bit, which didn’t matter and I got a nice run round.

Yet he didn’t travel as well as I hoped he would do. He got quite worked up before the race. He was fine until we walked down to the start and then he completely melted. He was very warm.

While we obviously think he is more of a St Leger horse, he is a little bit better than what he showed at Epsom.

I talked to trainer David Simcock this week and he said Algometer came out of the race okay but was a bit tired. I think he will have one more run somewhere before the St Leger.

Whether he will go to Goodwood or to Newmarket for the Bahrain Trophy, or something like that, I’m not certain. But it would be ground dependent.

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