Crowley Calls It: “Diore Lia’s participation in the Derby makes a mockery of the race”
Jim Crowley runs us through his thoughts on Investec Oaks day
Diore Lia’s participation in the Investec Derby makes a mockery of the race and of the system. The BHA need to get their act together and make sure this can’t happen again. They have rules to say that inexperienced riders can’t ride in the Grand National, and criteria that have to be met by the horses taking part too, yet any horse can run in the Derby. There have been outsiders before in the race but nothing quite as ridiculous as this.
There should have been a rule in place that a horse has to be rated above 90 to run in the Derby, or if a horse hasn’t got a rating then its participation should be approved by an expert panel. I don’t agree with running big outsiders in races like this. I can’t turn up to a Formula One Grand Prix in my car and line up next to Lewis Hamilton.
I know the public love to see big outsiders but they probably don’t appreciate the dangers of it. It’s all well and good watching it on telly and thinking it’s romantic but they don’t have to ride alongside it or get stuck behind it coming down Tattenham Hill. There is only one Derby and it is so important for a horse’s stallion career you really don’t want to be getting stuck behind or hampered by a 1000/1 shot.
The other aspect of this which hasn’t really been thought about is the fact that there will be 18 colts walking round the paddock and one filly, a filly that shouldn’t even be in the race. That is not fair on the colts that may well get worked up or distracted by the presence of this filly just minutes before the race. Of course if there was a highly rated filly in the race that deserved her place, then that’s fair enough, but this filly has no right being in this race yet could impact on the chances of some of the other horses even before the race starts let alone during the race.
Looking at the big race on Friday, I can’t see past Rhododendron in the Investec Oaks. She’s the class filly in the race. It’s not a big field which will help her, and she should have the class to sit anywhere in the field she wants really.
3.45 Epsom – Fidaawy
This is a nice horse trained by Sir Michael Stoute. I won on him at Doncaster last time. He made the running that day. He’s a lovely big horse and likes to be prominently ridden. I’m drawn out wide so hopefully we can get a good pitch. He tends to go forward in his races and stays well so should run a decent race. When it comes to performing at Epsom it doesn’t matter if a horse is big or small, he just needs to be well-balanced and Fidaawy is definitely well-balanced. He’s not the easiest horse to ride. He can be quirky, but luckily he’s also got ability and hopefully he can go close.
5.50 Epsom – Musawaat
He ran a really good race last time out at Doncaster. He gave the winner 11lbs that day and ran him close. It was a cracking performance and I’d like to think he’ll come on for that run, and if he does he would have a good chance in this.
I then head to Goodwood as one of my retained owners is Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum’s daughter, who owns Shaaqaaf in the 8.40, but I like to keep busy and hopefully I can bang a winner in on Friday night and then head to Epsom on Saturday with a winner under my belt from the previous evening.
8.10 Goodwood – Balancing Time
I won on this horse on the all-weather. He’s a nice big horse, and is in good order at home. He’s been working well and he stays so he should have a good chance.
8.40 Goodwood – Shaaqaaf
This filly is owned by Sheikh Hamdan’s daughter. She ran well on her first start this season and it was a good little race at Newmarket. I’d like to think she’ll be able to get her head in front here. It looks a really good opportunity for her. It doesn’t look a strong race at all and I’d be disappointed if she doesn’t win.