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Hoping for another Roaring Success at York

21 Aug 2018

We roll into the Ebor Festival week at York and from my perspective as a jockey it doesn’t get much better.

York, along with Doncaster, is without doubt one of my favourite tracks to ride at. It’s such a lovely fair galloping track; you seldom ever get any hard luck stories up there and it’s a meeting that I’ve been lucky in the past to have some success at. Fingers crossed that I can bag a few more winners on the Knavesmire this week.

I kick-off in the opening Sprint Handicap aboard a familiar speedball, Final Venture. He’s a bit of a character; Paul Midgley and his team will likely want me to go down to the start early to keep a lid on him in the prelims.

Those quirks aside, he’s certainly got the talent to be competitive here and his current mark of 101 on paper looks very workable indeed. He likes to race up with the pace, so if he breaks well and I find myself at the head of affairs early doors then he could take some pegging back.

Up next in the Acomb Stakes I’ve picked up a lovely looking ride in the shape of Watan for Richard Hannon. He won impressively first time out at the Qatar Goodwood Festival; I rode against him in the race myself and certainly got a good look at him as he scooted away from me!

Judging on that run you’d think that the step up to seven furlongs should suit him and Richard’s horses are flying at the minute.

The main dangers appear to be Aidan O’Brien’s horse, Broome, who won very well on slow ground at Galway and Mark Johnston’s Persian Moon. It looks a decent renewal, but I wouldn’t swap my ride for anything.

Next up is the main event of the day and the racing highlight of the week, The Juddmonte International Stakes. It really does look a contest to savour with seven of the eight runners having won Group 1 races this year alone!

To have a live hope in such a big race in the shape of Roaring Lion is obviously a massive buzz. Everyone’s been really pleased with his progress at home since winning the Coral Eclipse and I can’t wait to get back on him tomorrow.

Poet’s Word I do think rightly stands out as favourite after his impressive back-to-back Series wins in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

In terms of how the race will pan out, my best guess is that the pace will likely come from either of the two Godolphin runners, or possibly Mr Gosden’s Without Parole. I rode Benbatl to make all in a Group 1 in Germany over 10 furlongs last month, so he can certainly be the one to take the field along at a good gallop.

Whichever way you try to break down the possible tactics you just get struck by the quality of the runners you’re up against – I haven’t even mentioned the Irish Derby Winner Latrobe, QIPCO 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior or the Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow yet!

It’s a very deep field and all I can say with total confidence is that it’ll take a true champion to win it!

My final ride of the day is aboard this year’s Newbury Super Sprint Winner, Ginger Nut for Richard Hannon in the two-year-old sprint handicap.

Having won a huge pot two starts ago, she followed up with another excellent run in a big field at Newmarket to finish second, for which the handicapper raised her another couple of pounds.

Those two runs confirm that she’s got the smarts to be able to handle herself in a big field, which is a massive plus. She may look slightly exposed but I think her experience gives her a massive edge on a few of these; I think she’d have an excellent each way chance.

Of the remainder, I know that Stuart Williams’s treble seeking Don Armado is highly-rated by the yard and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him on the premises at the business end of the race.


A nice two-year-old trained by Archie Watson, he ran well on debut to be placed at Yarmouth first time out. All things being well he’ll run in the Convivial Maiden at York this Friday, he’s a lovely horse that we think could have a nice future.