I schooled him last Thursday, and the feel he gave me there just sums the horse up. He is a legend. I schooled him over six fences and he loved every second of it. He was unbelievable and gave me a fantastic feel. I think a left-handed, flat track, with a bit of ease in the ground, in a small field, is ideal for him and that is what he gets here. A lot of people may want to oppose him after his fall at Cheltenham last time, but the simple fact of the matter is that the race didn’t work out for him that day. By Gold Cup standards we hacked around, and went very slow early on, but I was keen not to make as much use of him as I did in the 32Red King George when I tried to stick it up to Thistlecrack. I wanted him to be finishing his race at Cheltenham. As a result I got stuck behind horses and wasn’t ideally positioned, and he fell. Sometimes you can’t do right from wrong. But he is the class horse of the race and you underestimate him at your peril, as he showed when winning this race last year after falling at the Festival. He hasn’t been out of the first two in five starts around here and an on-song Cue Card will be too good for these. Let’s hope he is.
I was on board when he won this race three years ago and, while I would like to be 4lb lower again here, I still think he has a decent chance. He has won three times over course and distance, and obviously loves it here, and has gone well when fresh in the past before, so his absence since December doesn’t bother me. In fact, I rode against him in a racecourse gallop at Newbury recently and he went really well, and hopefully that has put him spot on. Decent ground suits him really well, too.
You can ignore her last run at Sandown as, being by Oscar, the soft ground always promised to be an issue for her and so it proved. I obviously didn’t ride her as I was on the winner Cap Soleil but the very testing ground at that stamina track simply didn’t suit her. I was on board when she won her Listed bumper at Huntingdon previously and I was impressed by her. She travelled well throughout the race and showed a good attitude to get the job done, and the first two pulled well clear of a subsequent winner. Back on this better ground, I would definitely give her an each-way chance at a price.
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