Crowley calls it: “Benbatl is more than capable of beating Poet’s Word.”
Coral ambassador previews Day One of the Ebor
Ebor week is one of the biggest weeks of the year, and one I really look forward to. I was leading jockey here last year, and with plenty of bullets to fire this week, hopefully I can have another good week, particularly with Battaash to look forward to on Friday!
In terms of riding the course, because it’s a flat track with a long home straight, when they turn into it, they do get racing a long way out.
That means it can suit horses who are ridden just off the pace – as with Ulysses in last year’s Juddmonte International – but equally, if they don’t go too hard too soon, it can be hard to peg back the leaders.
Most of all though, it is a very fair track, you don’t see too many hard luck stories and the best horse normally wins, I certainly enjoy riding here.
Wednesday – York
My first ride of the meeting is Koditime in the opener.
His trainer Clive Cox also has the favourite Tis Marvellous in the race, and he would have a good chance under Adam Kirby, but my fella has got winning form at the track, which is always a plus, although he hasn’t been in that form since.
They’ve replaced the blinkers with cheekpieces, and that change of headgear could make a difference, but it will need to as he seems up against it otherwise.
I’ve picked up a cracking spare ride in the Juddmonte International, Godolphin’s Benbatl.
Looking at the race, Poet’s Word deserves to be favourite and he’ll be a tough nut to crack, but I think he had a hard enough race when he won the King George, and I’m hoping that may have taken the edge off of him a bit.
Second favourite Roaring Lion has good form at the track, and has won the Group One Coral-Eclipse, beating Saxon Warrior, so is respected, while I think the Irish Derby winner Latrobe could be over-priced.
However, I said to my agent when I got this ride, Benbatl is more than capable of winning this race.
He’s got the Group One form, won the big turf race on Dubai World Cup night, looked impressive when winning on his most recent start in Germany, and when he’s been beaten there have been valid reasons for it. I hear he’s been going very well home, and I do think he’s got a massive chance.
I picked up the ride on Ulysses last summer and he won this race, and hopefully it could be more of the same this year.
Decent spare rides in the big Group Ones are very hard to get, and these are absolutely the races I want to be riding in, so to get the call up is a great honour and hopefully we can run a big race.
My final ride is on Moyassar for the boss in the concluding Nursery. I was very impressed with him when I won on him at Chelmsford two runs ago, he ran a little bit green and hung right, but still won easily that day.
He was then second to one of Tom Dascombe’s at Haydock, I think the winner got the run of the race off the front end that day, and I think York will really suit my fella.
He’s rated 88 but he’s a talented horse and I’d like to think he could be a bit better than that mark, I’d hope he’d have a really good chance here.
I can’t wait to ride Battaash in Friday’s Coolmore Nunthorpe. I don’t normally get excited about horses, but I’m really looking forward to riding him!
I went down to Charlie Hills’ to see him last week, and I thought he looked absolutely unbelievable, the best he’s ever looked.
He’s definitely a better horse now than he was in the King’s Stand, and I cannot wait!