Obviously, I am gutted not to be riding in the Shergar Cup at Ascot, as it’s a great day for everyone involved. But I’m a professional, riding for Hugo is my day job, and being involved in Group races is where I want to be, so there was no real discussion and decision to be had. It’s Newmarket for me, not Ascot.
He obviously comes here in great form, having won convincingly for me in the soft at Bath on Wednesday. He carries a 6lb penalty here but I imagine he will be going up at least that kind of figure in future after that clear-cut win, and we know that 1m2f with plenty of give are fine for him. He must have a leading chance, having also won over course and distance recently in the first-time cheekpieces that were retained at Bath and again here. There is a lot to like about his chances.
This looks a good Sweet Solera and my filly clearly needs to improve to take a hand. But she deserves her shot in this company. I said here before her debut that she wasn’t the biggest but was certainly a trier at home, and that is, thankfully, what we have seen on the racetrack, too. She shaped really well here on her debut and then improved to win for me at Ascot last time. We don’t really know what she beat there – the placed horses were unraced, though the fourth was a good second here on her debut – but she certainly showed a good attitude and dug deep when required. That will stand her in good stead as she steps up in class here, and there was a bit of ease in the ground at Ascot and we know she stays this trip well. I know she has to progress a lot to beat some of these but she is a beautifully-bred filly too, and her dam showed her best form in soft and heavy ground, so that’s a positive, as well, although the ground is probably set to dry up a bit here. I think she could run better than many think.
He made a really good return to action when fourth at Sandown but he has been disappointing since, none more so than when finishing last here last month. I don’t know what went wrong with him there, but maybe the return to easier ground will suit – it was good to soft when he won his maiden at Brighton last season – and at least he is 2lb lower here. If he can bounce back to his Esher Cup fourth then he has a definite chance but he needs to bounce back, that’s for sure. Maybe I’ll bring him some luck on my first ride on him – and the field has cut up a lot, too, which helps!
Look My Way
I rode when he finished third at Haydock last and then he bumped into a well-handicapped horse at Chester afterwards. His record tells you he is very consistent but he has been creeping up the handicap for getting beaten, so he probably has to improve again to win this. He faces a bit of the cut in the ground for the first time – his pedigree gives you some hope he will handle it – and another new challenge for him is the 2m trip, but I’d say he’d love that given his Haydock run for me.
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