Spencer so keen on Speculative chance at Ascot
It’s disappointing for Ryan Moore that he’s going to be out for such a while but he’s keeping his own counsel about the whole thing, and he’ll come back when he’s ready to come back. The good thing about Ryan is that he’ll give it the time it needs and he won’t do anything stupid and rush back too quickly. When he does come back he’ll be 100%. It’s a difficult time of year to be missing rides, as there’s this big weekend at Ascot and then next week it’s Goodwood and he’s missing Gleneagles, his flag-bearer. But Ryan will just get on with it and accept it. It’s the way he deals with everything in life and he’s good like that.
The rain got in to the ground very quick yesterday at Ascot and even though they were calling it ‘good’ before the first race we were under no illusions that it was actually going to ride soft. And by the end it was probably soft, heavy in places if we were being realistic. The only good thing about it is when it gets this wet on the day the horses find it easy to get through the ground. The grass is lush, and it all kicks up. It’s not the same as if it rained two days ago and then it dries and gets gluey. That makes it more taxing. It was easy enough for horses to get through it yesterday.
I rode a nice two year old by Acclamation in the second race, and he’d want decent ground but he coped with it well. It probably blunted his turn of foot but the soft ground didn’t really hinder his chances. But that was on the straight course. It just depends on the horse whether they can handle it.
As a jockey on this kind of ground you just go steadier. You can’t be too aggressive on a horse on that sort of ground. The five furlong race yesterday was probably the only race we rode aggressively. There’s a big difference between the straight course and the round course. The round course has the old soil and it wouldn’t surprise me in the King George if they decide to go the Willie Carson route under the trees. There were three races yesterday on the round course and the track was very chewed up.
In the 3.15 I ride Speculative Bid for David Elsworth. I’d be really keen on him. Seven furlongs on softish ground is exactly what he wants. He went on the good to firm ground in the Victoria Cup. He didn’t like it going down to the start but he got through it in the race. In the Hunt Cup he left the stalls gassy and I could never get him to shut down for the whole race. When they split, they basically split where I was. The horse to my left went to the left and the rest to my right went right to where GM Hopkins was and I went too. He was just so lively he just wouldn’t shut down and relax. Given how keen he was for the first half of the race, I was full sure he would just fall in a heap. To my surprise he kept going. So I’m really looking forward to him today. He has a nice draw.
I’m under no illusions. He’s running off 104 and it’s a tough race but he’s proven that he’s capable of being very competitive off this mark and it’s the first time this year he’s got softish ground. His sire loved soft ground and it’s all in his pedigree. I won on him in heavy ground at Doncaster last year in the spring when he was still quite a weak horse. I can’t see the ground being any problem for him.
David is very happy with him. I rode for David yesterday but we didn’t discuss it. He’s a bit like that David he doesn’t get into it that much. He’s pleased with the horse and if we can just follow the right ones and mosey our way through he thinks we’ll have a good chance.
I’m really looking forward to riding him. He’s a challenging ride. He’s a big strong horse and there’s nothing given with him and you have to have your wits about you. If you set him off the wrong way he’ll be difficult to shut down. At home he goes out on his own all the time and then he gets in to a handicap with loads of other horses and he’ like a fellow who’s been in solitary confinement and is suddenly let out. He gets very excited! He’s a very good horse and I’d be surprised if we’ve got to the bottom of him. It’s an open race but he has a favourite’s chance.
In the 3.50 the King George I’ve been given the leg up on Madame Chiang. However I think The Corsican may not run in which case Jim Crowley could take over. I think it will be a brave call for John Gosden to run his horse Golden Horn, given he ran on softish ground at Nottingham last year but everything else this year has been on quick ground. He’s a big strong, robust horse, Golden Horn and if you asked me looking at the outside, even though he’s by Cape Cross, he’s got a little bit of a knee action. So whilst he may not want soft ground he may act on it. If he’s going to be a champion then he has to cope with this. Frankel won on fast ground many times but he also went to the Champion Stakes on heavy ground and won. It wasn’t his best performance but that’s what makes champions when they win on all types of surface.
They’ve been very sporting in terms of the races they’ve run him in so far and if he wins today it will put him into that elite category of great horses. So far he’s shown he’s the best three year old by miles and he’s confirmed that in the Coral-Eclipse. But to go back to a mile and a half on soft ground against older horses, with things stacked against him, if he wins that then you can put him right up there with the top horses. The field probably lacks a bit of strength and depth, with a horse like Clever Cookie trading at single figures. I mean he’s a good horse but if he ran in an Arc he’d get lapped.
I think Eagle Top will like the soft ground. I know the family well, I rode Sariska and she liked the soft ground. He could well be one that might improve for it as he’s never got to run on it before. He has a nice round action that looks like he’ll be happy on it.
Golden Horn is getting 12lbs off the colts and 9lbs off the filly weight allowance and on this ground that counts for a lot.
I’ve never ridden Madame Chiang before but she likes the ground. The two times she’s run on it she’s won on it including on Champions Day. But she needs Golden Horn to under-perform by a stone and she needs to put in a career best, but she has the course and distance win and she loves the ground.
In the last at 5.00pm I’m on Life Less Ordinary but I thought he’d struggle with the ground. He’s a nice big horse but I think he needs better conditions. Master Zephyr will be hard to beat. He won well at Newbury and his sire loved soft ground so I’d favour him.