Ready to Kick On to the start of the season
2 May 2019
The start of the Series is just under 48 hours away and it’s fair to say my mind can’t escape what the weekend ahead might hold at Newmarket. To have a decent book of rides going into the QIPCO Guineas Festival is fantastic and I really can’t wait for it to get started.
The QIPCO 2000 Guineas looks a wide open renewal this year, with well-fancied favourite Too Darn Hot among a few fancied horses not to make the final declarations. I ride Kick On in the Qatar Racing colours I sported in last season’s Champions Series in victories aboard Roaring Lion and Lightning Spear.
He’s in great shape and we’re really happy with him at home. He’s certainly not without chance in a big, open field. He’s come out of his Fielden Stakes win really well and John Gosden is very happy with him. Obviously he’s coming back a furlong in trip from that race but he’s got plenty of pace, and we’re hoping for a big run.
As always the Irish have a strong hand going into the race. Magna Gracia and Ten Sovereigns set a fair standard for Aidan O’Brien, who obviously knows a thing or two about winning this race.
Oisin Murphy had a huge 2018, landing 5 Champions Series races, capped off on ROARING LION on #ChampionsDay.
— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) April 29, 2019
I thought Royal Marine was a little bit unlucky in the Craven, and I’d be confident he’ll run a better race on Saturday. He’s a Group 1 winner over a mile as a two-year-old so you’ve no doubts about him staying the trip.
In the same trial however, I was also really taken by what Williams Haggas’s Skardu produced coming from off the pace in such good style. He will certainly have stepped up from that, being his first start of the season. But , as I said earlier, it’s a fascinatingly open renewal with plenty of chances who you can make a case for.
I start my Satruday day on the Rowley Mile with the Jim Boyle-trained Exec Chef in the opening handicap. He ran a cracker at Doncaster on his seasonal bow and was well-fancied to run well at Newbury last time out, but the slow ground went against him that day. It’s a hot renewal of this race, but I really feel he could go close. He’s currently a double figure price in the market but if you wrote of his last run he’d be one of the favourites.
Equilateral is my next mount for the day in the Group 3 Zoustar Palace House Stakes. He’s a talented horse and based on his homework he looks up to running well in a competitive race like this. He’s been highly tried since he bolted up in his maiden at Doncaster last year and hasn’t perhaps quite delivered on that early promise.
But he’s got bundles of natural speed, so if he can string it all together then he’d have to have a good chance. The sharper five furlong trip will suit him and it’s a great ride to pick up, no doubt.
Concierge in the 4.10 is in a tough field, but George Scott’s horses are running well so we’re hopeful of a good showing.
Pogo is my final ride of the day. He’s been going down in the handicap of late; but if you go back to some of his older form then you can see he definitely has the talent to mix it here. He’s a small little horse with rather a bad temper, but he should be up to running well at this sort of level.