Matterhorn can scale new heights in the Queen Anne
17 Jun 2019
No sooner does the Derby Festival end, but we’re onto the biggest week in the calendar – Royal Ascot! All the pomp and ceremony is matched with the best quality racing you could wish to see. Starting on Tuesday with no less than three Champions Series races!
The action starts with a top quality Queen Anne Stakes, which looks a very open renewal this year. My ride Matterhorn does have a bit to find on the ratings on the face of it; bu I’m obviously delighted to get the ride for Mark Johnston, who has a very good record at Royal Ascot. Matterhorn has run solidly on his last couple of starts winning at Lingfield on All Weather Finals Day where he beat the well regarded Wissahickon. He has since gone on to be runner-up at Chester and Sandown on his last two starts. In all honesty he is going to have to improve a bit, but that certainly isn’t out of the question.
Looking at the way the race may set up, there isn’t an awful lot of obvious early pace despite there being 16 runners. You can’t really find another front runner in the field apart from Matterhorn, so it is quite possible that’s how he will be ridden. However, I will wait until tomorrow morning and speak to Mark to formulate a plan.
Barney Roy is the most interesting candidate in the race, for me anyway. He’s obviously got form at Royal Ascot winning the St James’s Palace Stakes in 2017, but he’s been in good form since returning to racing.
Signora Cabello is getting blinkers on for the first time in the King’s Stand Stakes. They’re going to have to have the desired effect and bring out some improvement if we’re going to challenge this group of very talented sprinters. She has to bounce back to form after a couple of below par efforts this term; but I won on her here last year in the Queen Mary Stakes so clearly Ascot brings out the best in her.
Of the others I really like the chances of Mabs Cross. I thought she ran super at Newmarket to win first time out and then again performed well at Haydock recently when she had to give weight away to Battaash. It would be great for Paul Mulrennan to ride another Group 1 winner too.
In the St James’s Palace Stakes I ride Bell Rock, a lovely horse who is by Kingman, a stallion that’s made a huge impression so far in a short space of time. At 66/1 he obviously has an outsider chance, but whatever happens tomorrow he’s sure to come on for the experience.
I think the first 3 in the market are highly likely to be battling out the finish, though.Irish 2000 Guineas winner Phoenix Of Spain could improve again, while the vibes coming out of John Gosden are good for Too Darn Hot’s chances. King Of Comedy is the one who is really improving from the same stable; he will have Adam Kirby on board who is an excellent horseman. King Of Comedy can be a bit boisterous and will be interesting to see how he handles the prelims.
In the Coventry Stakes I ride Guildsman for Archie Watson who’s been in stellar form this season. We’re really pleased with his work since he on on debut at Goodwood, and he’ll handle the cut in the ground which I see being on the softer side of good come Tuesday. Coolmore’s Arizona will clearly be a big danger, and we know Aidan O’Brien aims good horses at this race every year.
Kerosin is my mount in the marathon Ascot Stakes, who I ride for my friend Denis Hogan. He won well in Ireland the other day and unfortunately his regular apprentice is suspended so I take the reins tomorrow. He’s not without a chance but Willie Mullins’ Buildmeupbuttercup certainly deserves to be favourite.
I’m excited to get on board Mountain Angel in the Wolferton Stakes in the last on Tuesday. He’s won his last two and I was absolutely thrilled when I saw the draw. I think from stall 12 I have Elarqam and Latrobe nearby who should give me a nice tow into the race. Hopefully his winning streak can continue.
Horse To Follow: Tiger Eye, Wednesday, Chelmsford 8.10
She’s got plenty to find on ratings, but is quickly on the improve and one to keep an eye on.