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Ready to right some wrongs in Meydan

28 Mar 2018

Benbatl and Oisin Murphy in Dubair

Sometimes in racing, as in life, things don’t always go to plan. That was certainly the case earlier this month in Meydan, where my ride Benbatl had everything against him from the start. His wide draw, stumbling start and the subsequent slow pace meant I found myself him stuck out wide on him for most of the race. I didn’t give him the best ride that day and with the extra ground we covered he did very well to get as close as he did to the winner. I felt I was on the best horse in the race, but sometimes things don’t go your way.

Thankfully Saeed Bin Suroor has kept me on board for Super Saturday though and I can’t wait to get back on him. It won’t make me any more nervous before the race, in fact it will change very little. I’ve done my homework, know how I’m going to ride him and if it doesn’t go your way on the day, then that’s just racing. I may be slightly more determined come race time, but the plan remains the same.

In the Dubai Gold Cup I’m really lucky to get the ride on Prince Of Arran. He’s an outsider, but ran really well here two starts ago. You can forgive his last run as that can happen on this track, and I can see him staying on late for a place here. There’s some tough competition with both Vazirabad and Rare Rhythm in the race. Of the two I would rather be on Vazirabad as I think the race will be run to suite him. I can see there being plenty of pace in this which will certainly play to his strengths coming, as he always does, ‘from the clouds’ to swoop late on. There’s no jockey better for him than Christophe Soumillon and he’ll be there or thereabouts.

Before Super Saturday in Meydan however, Lingfield hosts the All Weather Finals Day on Good Friday. I’ve been riding plenty on the artificial surfaces this year, and right from January onward I’ve been trying to ride as many winners as I can. I’m pretty pleased to have notched up a decent total of 57 and place 2nd in the All Weather Jockeys Championship. Huge congratulations to Luke Morris however, who will be crowned over in Newcastle on Friday.

Looking ahead to Friday, I’ve got a really good book of rides at Lingfield, for a few different trainers who’ve been giving me rides all winter. Hopefully I can repay them with a winner or two.

In the feature race, I ride Corinthia Knight for Archie Watson. Archie has had a quite unbelievable first full year’s training, and is someone I get on really well with. He’s exceptional at placing his horses, and this shows with the number of wins he’s had this year.  On form Corinthia Knight is probably the best horse in the race and if everything drops right he’ll go very well. The draw is absolutely fine in 6, he can be ridden in any way and he has the experience to win this valuable prize.

In the Sprint, I ride Double Up for Roger Varian who had he come into this in the form he was in before Christmas would be a much smaller price. Kachy is a very worthy favourite however and if he doesn’t get taken on for a lead he’ll certainly take a lot of stopping. But if he does get challenged for the lead away from the gates it could see the race develop at a particularly frantic pace; that would really suite Double Up and I wouldn’t rule out a big run.

Soul Silver in the Fillies & Mares’ is a really tough filly for David Simcock. She’s been pretty good to me, and her trainer has placed her incredibly well throughout her career. William Haggas has favourite Diagnostic in the race who is sure to go well but I wouldn’t swap my ride for anything else in the race.

For the same trainer I’m on board Mr Owen in the Middle Distance race. I wasn’t riding him last time where it appeared he got spooked by the big screen. This meant he gave the favourite a bump in the run in and consequently he was disqualified and demoted to 2nd. Hopefully this Friday we can put things right. We think the step up in trip will bring about some improvement and hopefully he’ll be hitting the line strong at the end.

Mountain Bell is a horse we’ve always thought the world of.  Ralph Beckett has done really well to keep getting this horse back fit as she’s definitely had her problems. I’m of no doubt that she is the best horse in the race, even though her rating doesn’t suggest that. She’s very talented and we’re hoping if we can get a clear run with her she can really progress.

Horse To Follow: Luna Eclipse Thursday 4.05 pm Chelmsford

Won well at Kempton last time. He’s still learning and I hope he’s improving.