With the spectacle that was the Grand National now over the Flat season is once again the main focus and I’m really excited about what lies ahead. I’m going into the season with big expectations and we’re going straight into the serious business with plenty of clues up for grabs this week already.
This week’s races will give us a very good idea of where certain horses are at and it’s very exciting because the winter break means we’re going into the unknown a little bit. Until we get the horses out we won’t know how much they’ve improved so it’s all to play for.
I’m riding Nathra for John Gosden at Newmarket on Tuesday and she has a great chance in the Nell Gwyn Stakes . She is a very solid filly and went well when coming second in the Dubai Fillies Mile here last time out on softer ground.
Obviously this is a trial but she comes into the race with every chance. We have four lengths to make up on Minding, who thankfully we don’t oppose this time but she’s in good nick so hopefully we can have a good run
I’ve got plenty of exciting rides throughout the day with Swiss Range in the Filles Maiden another to look forward to. She was second on debut and 8 lengths clear of Folly Berrgere in third so there’s promise there – you’ll always be up against some good unexposed horses in a race like this but we definitely have a favourite’s chance.
Castle Harbour was meant to run at Doncaster but the ground was too soft so he’ll get his chance here and Cartago, who was very solid last year when winning a couple of nurseries, is another one to watch out for. He’s got to carry top weight against some horses with Derby entries, so the race may well end up being stronger than it looks on paper but if he settles he should give a good account of himself.
Then it’s on to Thursday where I’ll be on Foundation in the Craven. He’s currently third favourite for the Derby and fourth favourite for the 2000 Guineas and he looks to be in really good shape at home.
He’s already won at Newmarket and was really unlucky in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last time out so we have high hopes for him – he would have been a lot closer with a clear run, so I am sure he will show his true colours on Thursday.
I think a mile is the shortest he wants to go but the plan is to run him here and then The Dante at York could be next on his agenda. We’ll then have to make our minds up if he stays a mile and half or a mile and a quarter but that’s what the trials are there for – to help us plan the season ahead. At the moment it would be very hard to commit to anything but we know he is a top horse who deserves his chance at this level and I’m really looking forward to riding him again.
I’m also really happy to be joining forces with Magical Memory again. He’s a lovely horse and ultra consistent. He went through the handicaps in impressive fashion and should come back older and stronger from the break. He wasn’t that far behind last year so he can be a top sprinter this season and is a very interesting runner.
I’ll also finally get to see what Wesley Ward’s Create A Dream is all about. The weather didn’t suit her last time but she should go at Newmarket on Thursday in the Stallion Fillies Maiden Stakes and there is big potential there.
Obviously the UK is a different ball game from America but Wesley wouldn’t send her over from the US – especially this early in the season – if he didn’t think she could excel. I’ve not ridden her yet but I’m looking forward to seeing this Ascot potential that everyone is talking about.
Beyond that I’m praying for some good weather going into the weekend and hopefully we get some winners this week.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.