Racing UK ambassador and currently inuured jockey Paul Mulrennan names two horses he fancies for Saturday's action, breaks down the two big races at York next week and nominates one rising star from the pony racing scene in Ireland to keep an eye on.
There is one horse who I really like the look of on Saturday and that is Sir Dancealot.
I rode him to win at Hamilton in June and his class got him through over the six furlongs.
He is a horse with a real engine and Gerald Mosse rode him really well last time when they won the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood by a short head from Suedois.
Hopefully, Gerald can do it again in the Ladyswood Stud Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, but he has got some stiff opposition.
Some people have said that Gustav Klimt has been disappointing this season, but if you look at his races this campaign he has been consistent in much better company.
He has finished on the heels of the likes of Lightning Spear, Without Parole and Saxon Warrior this season, and the drop down in grade, and the layout at Newbury, will help him in the Ladyswood Stud Hungerford Stakes.
Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival:
Not riding at York’s Ebor Festival is a big blow for me. It will be the first one I have missed in a long time and it was the scene of my biggest career win, when Mecca’s Angel won two Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes. It is a brilliant Festival and the prize-money is excellent, too.
It’s sod’s law I miss out due to injury, as Michael Dods’s horses are flying and good on Callum Rodriguez for making hay while the sun shines. I’m definitely on the mend, though, and I have noticed quite a big difference in the last few days so hopefully I come back sooner rather than later.
The race of the week looks to be the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes and Battaash certainly looks the one to beat next Friday.
Battaash missed the break at Haydock but then at Royal Ascot when he was second to Blue Point, who reopposes, he almost winged the gates too well. It all came together at Goodwood, where he was fine in the preliminaries and got just enough cover for just enough of the race.
He is the best sprinter we have got in Europe, and the combination of him maturing and connections learning more about him all the time means that things are likely to fall right for him on the day.
Last year he boiled over at York, but this time they are reportedly going to box him over the Knavesmire, which should help him.
If I was riding in the race I would not want to get in to a speed duel with him, because while it could compromise his chances it would certainly put paid to mine.
I’ve obviously got a soft spot for Mabs Cross, but with good reason as she is extremely talented. The race in Ireland last time did not work out –there was no pace and they split in to two groups. She would be sharp enough at five furlongs on the Knavesmire and if back to the sort of form where we were just a neck behind Battaash she would have a squeak.
The other big race of the week is obviously the Juddmonte International on Wednesday and I love Poet’s Word and think he is the right favourite.
He has a great attitude and has a real turn of foot. He has been brilliantly brought through by Sir Michael Stoute and should be ridden by the excellent James Doyle. Watching him over the past few weeks while on the sidelines and I think that in the next five to six years he is going to win it all. He really has the temperament for it, he is so cool and never panics. He is a natural rider, focused and strong.
I tipped up Growl for the Stewards’ Cup in this column and after he finished third I see no reason to abandon him now for the William Hill Great St Wilfrid at Ripon.
He has been banging on the door this season with good runs behind Kachy at Chester, his fourth to Flying Pursuits at York and his run in Sussex behind Gifted Master.
Plenty of the right horses are drawn in the low-numbered stalls and with Reputation being able to slide along in front he should get the race run to suit from stall four.
One name to follow from the pony racing scene:
I am on holiday in Ireland at the moment, although I will be back for York, and I went to the legendary Dingle pony races at Ballintaggart that have been the nursery for some of Ireland’s greatest riding talent. There was a great atmosphere and I even ran in to Sam Twiston-Davies, who was also holidaying here.
The likes of Jamie Spencer, Tom Queally, Shane Kelly, Charlie Swan and Aidan Maguire all grew up pony racing and the experience it gives the young teenage riders is invaluable.
Let’s say from where I was standing there weren’t too many rules - it was very dog eat dog and one name you should keep an eye out for is Dylan Browne McMonagle, who basically won everything. Apparently he is a junior boxing champion, too, and he looked the real deal to me.
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