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Oisin Murphy’s Royal Ascot Rides – Day One

15 Jun 2020

Royal Ascot is upon us and it’s one of the most exciting weeks of the year for jockeys. Luckily the winners have been going in for me so I’ll be trying to keep that going, but I have to admit I am a little nervous because of the added pressure the week brings! If you can ride a winner it just means so much.

Of course, it will be different this year behind closed doors. It won’t feel like Royal Ascot in some respects, but I don’t think any of us really mind the fact that there will be no crowd there, we’ve been getting used to it over the last few weeks now. I just hope there will be lots of people watching at home and we can all put on a good show. It has all the makings of a terrific week!

Day One Rides

Buckingham Palace Stakes – Kaeso

He’s a really tough and very solid handicapper. I’m thrilled that Nigel Tinkler’s given me the ride and I think he has a good chance in a very hot race. He’s the best ride I could get on and I’m very grateful to be getting the leg up on him. He’s got some very good form at the track.

There are dangers everywhere you look, with Daarik, who you might think would be third string going by cap colour, leading the betting. He’s done nothing wrong and Sheikh Hamdan has a very strong hand with Mutamaasik another lightly-raced horse on the up. Jim Crowley doesn’t pick either of those two and goes for Motakhayyel so if I can overturn the Sheikh Hamdan horses I have a super chance.

Queen Anne Stakes – Plumatic

He doesn’t seem to have done much wrong, this horse, he has a very consistent profile. I watched his run at Chantilly the other day in the Group 3 and he ran like he needed it, so I hope he comes on for that. On his best form, when he came over to win at Salisbury and his close-up fourth in the Prix du Moulin, you could argue he has the talent to have a say in what looks a wide-open renewal.

Of the others, I know they’ve been very happy with Skardu’s work, I was really impressed with Roseman when he won on his final start last year and I’m sure this has been the plan for him for a while. The one I fear the most, though, is Terebellum. She looked really good at Newmarket the other day and looks the most likely winner to me.

Ribblesdale Stakes – West End Girl

She ran a nice race at Lingfield behind Miss Yoda and on that run and on ratings she doesn’t have an awful lot to find. A lot of the fillies towards the top of the market are there more because of reputation than anything else, although I rode in the race Frankly Darling won at Newcastle and like everyone else I was very impressed. Trefoil has done nothing wrong either, while Aidan O’Brien has won this race plenty of times in the past and he looks to have a couple of strong chances, too.

King’s Stand Stakes – Hit The Bid

I’ve won on Hit The Bid before and he’s a really cool horse. He’s very fast and we got on really well when he came over to Meydan in 2018. There’s no doubt he’s up against it here, though, everyone is against Battaash who I have huge respect for. He ran very well in the race last year and is the one we all have to beat. Glass Slippers is improving and Liberty Beach is quick and gets all the allowances, so it’s a high-quality race.

My fellow is an outsider and we’ll be trying our best, but the first four in the betting look the ones to beat.

Duke Of Cambridge – Iconic Choice

I hope she can run very well and maybe get some more black type. She’s up against it on recent form but she ran very well in last year’s 1000 Guineas when beaten less than three lengths by Hermosa and before that she was beaten a short head in the Fred Darling. She was 100/1 when ninth in the Snowdrop Fillies’ race at Kempton a couple of weeks ago – and she’ll be a similar price on Tuesday – but hopefully that run will have brought her on.

That run was behind the favourite for this race, Nazeef, but of the ones nearer the head of the betting I respect the chance of Queen Power. I liked her run at Newmarket the other day behind Terebellum and that looks a standout piece of form.