I was filming with fellow 32Red ambassador, boxer Carl Frampton, when the call came through on Wednesday morning to say that I was back on board on Cue Card at Ascot, and it naturally put a further spring in my step. I was obviously delighted as I love the horse to bits, so thanks to Colin [Tizzard] and Jean [Bishop] for giving me the opportunity to ride once again. We have won five Grade 1s together, including two in this very race, and hopefully there is one last hurrah in him. He certainly gave me hope that there was when I schooled him over six fences on Thursday morning, when he felt so fresh and well I was actually taken aback a bit. He felt tremendous. Clearly, this race has a lot of class and depth to it this year – I am a fan of Coney Island, but Top Notch and Waiting Patiently are developing into serious horses, too – but my horse is still the highest-rated as it stands, and we know that Ascot and the ground suit him well. It could well be that at the age of 12, then time has caught up with him – or some of these improving horses are simply better than him now – and if that is the case then so be it. He owes nobody anything, but I can tell you he didn’t feel like a 12yo on Thursday morning and Colin’s horses are in as good as form as they have been all season.
I haven’t sat on him before but his recent form would appear to give him an each-way chance. He wasn’t beaten far when fifth over course and distance in December and it looks like he bumped into one when beaten 10 lengths into second by Savoy Court at Wincanton last time. The handicapper hasn’t dropped him for those runs, which is a little bit stingy, but conditions look as though they will suit and hopefully he has place chances again.
My Lady Grey
I don’t know too much about her, to be honest. But she is by Presenting out of a mare who won on her debut in a bumper for the yard, so let’s hope she is similarly precocious. Colin seems to have his horses in good form, too, as I said earlier.
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