Racing TV Ambassador Paul Mulrennan gives us the inside track on his weekend rides, gives his verdict on the Irish Derby and tells us more about his win on Be Proud this week – plus welcomes the forthcoming Sky Bet Series
After grasping the opportunity for a morning haircut, I’ll be swiftly back up the A1 for nine rides across the remaining two days of the Northumberland Plate Festival at Newcastle.
Lahore contests Friday’s Gosforth Park Cup (6.45pm). He finished ninth of 12 in this race last year and although he’s been a handy little horse for Phil Makin this will be his first start for a while.
In Saturday’s Group Three Chipchase Stakes (2.20pm) I’m aboard Archie Watson’s Highland Dress. He’s a very versatile horse who has won on the Fibresand at Southwell, and the Polytrack at Lingfield (twice) so should take the switch to Tapeta in his stride.
He didn’t get home on bottomless ground at Haydock but is effective over both 6f and 7f. On balance he’s up against it. That said; I have a useful recent strike-rate for Archie and also rode the winner of this race for Owen Burrows (Markaz) in 2016.
Sir Chauvelin is my mount in the feature Northumberland Plate (3.30pm). He’s been off the track for a year but Jim has indicated that he’s been training very well lately, and he finished third to Withhold in this contest in 2018.
As we’ve seen previously with Euchen Glen, Jim is more than capable of bringing horses back to peak form for the big occasion. However, in a typically tough race realistically we’d just be looking to get a good run out of him.
Over the weekend my best ride is probably the Michael Dods-trained Byron’s Choice (4.40pm). He’s a grand servant who won off his highest ever mark at Beverley last month.
The handicapper hasn’t missed that performance, raising him 5lb, so he’ll need to find even more now switched to the all-weather. Meanwhile, a basic case can also be made for the past course winner Kentuckyconnection (5.10pm).
Aidan O’Brien runs five in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday with favourite High Definition the leading light.
I thought he ran a solid race in the Dante Stakes and the extra couple of furlongs will suit this horse immensely. He’s a big galloper who was doing all of his best work in the closing stages at York.
The Curragh is a stiff test over 1m4f, and he makes appeal as a probable St Leger candidate in the making.
Of the others, Mojo Star was given a very good ride by David Egan in the Derby, and along with the winner (Adayar) he was probably the only other who really stayed the trip.
Amo Racing deserves credit for supplementing their horse in the race at a cost of £75,000, and their recent overall investment into the sport should also be applauded. From a good draw he should go well.
At Ayr on Tuesday I was aboard Jim Goldie’s Be Proud for the first time. I got a great buzz out of winning on a horse like that (for the staff and the owners) as he’s been a little frustrating in the sense that he kept finishing second and third.
He’s a bit of a tricky customer and if I’d ridden him differently - pulling him to the outside and giving him plenty of daylight - I think he’d have got beaten.
It’s nice when it comes off but you do leave yourself open to plenty of criticism if it doesn’t. I’ve been doing the job for that long, basic instinct dictates that some horses enjoy being ridden in that manner; the headwind was quite strong at Ayr so we slip-streamed the entire race and I literally just had to pull him out in the final 100 yards and like so many other horses he loved that feeling.
He’s got ability and from a mid-pack draw the strong pace certainly worked in our favour.
The Sky Bet Series launches at Musselburgh Racecourse on July 25 with a prize fund of £600,000, including various bonuses for owners, jockeys and stable staff. The three fixture summer series which rolls onto Haydock Park (8th August) and Sandown Park (22nd August) is a joint collaboration between Sky Bet, ITV and Racecourse Media Group with each race screened live on ITV/Racing TV in a trial Sunday twilight slot.
From the perspective of a jockey it’ll be difficult (not impossible) to ride seven winners across the three fixtures, but the possibility of a £100,000 bonus appeals and the fact that the first two fixtures are northern-based should theoretically help someone like me.
In racing we spend a lot of time complaining about poor prize money so it’s vital that we welcome such initiatives with open arms.
Obviously there’s a degree of trial and error involved in terms of the scheduling and the proposed 25-minute gaps between races, but the Sky Bet Series is a fantastic concept and it’s extremely good news that the prize money will be spread across the board.Time is running out to start your free one month trial of Racing TV and enjoy the action from Britain and Ireland!
Select any odd to add a bet