Jim Crowley: “Hukum is the reason I’m heading to York”
Coral ambassador previews his rides at York on Saturday
I had mixed fortunes on the first day of Newmarket’s July meeting, with Al Aasy disappointing in the Princess Of Wales’s, before Baaeed maintained his unbeaten record in good style.
I said beforehand I’d be gutted if Al Aasy was beaten, and I am beginning to wonder if he’s got enough fight in him. That’s twice now he’s got into a battle, and twice he’s come off second best.
By contrast, Baaeed was very good again. He’s stepping up in class all the time, but already has some form that puts him close to some of the season’s best 3-year-old performers. I don’t know where we’ll go with him next, but he’ll be exciting wherever he runs.
This is a busy Saturday, with meetings at Ascot, Chester, Newmarket and York, and I know that means there’s a good chance I’ll miss a winner somewhere, as clearly, I can only be in one place.
It is a bit frustrating, as you’d think one of these meetings could be run on Sunday, or next weekend maybe, but I do understand why the tracks all want these Saturday slots. While I’m fortunate enough to have the choice of meetings to go to, a busy day like this does give opportunities to riders who may not always get the chance, so I’m not sure there’s an easy answer.
Of the runners I normally ride but won’t be on this time, I think Qaader could run a big race at Newmarket despite carrying top weight in the mile handicap, while Haqeeqy deserves a crack at Ascot’s Group 2 Summer Mile after winning the Lincoln and carrying a big weight in the Hunt Cup.
I’ve not ridden Eagleway before, so he looks a nice ride to have picked up. He ran a big race to finish second in the Victoria Cup at Ascot in May, and was then third at Newcastle, so Ivan Furtado has done a great job since he moved to him from France.
At Newcastle he was unlucky not to finish even closer, as the jockey had her whipped knocked out of her hand, so off a mark of 92, I think this fellow is still improving, and it would be no surprise to see him have an each-way chance here.
Hukum is the main reason I’ve chosen to go to York. He ran a big race at Ascot, the winner, Wonderful Tonight is a leading fancy for the Arc, and the second that day [Broome] has won a Group 1 in France since, so the form’s worked out well already.
He had the option of running in the Princess Of Wales’s at Newmarket, but we didn’t want to take on Al Aasy. As it turned out, with the benefit of hindsight he may have won that race!
He’s got the tongue-tie on for the first time, which might help him find a little bit more improvement. The track should suit him, and while he didn’t get home over 1 mile 6 furlongs in the Leger last year, this is a furlong shorter and he’s a year older and stronger, so he’ll have no problems with this trip.
He’s only a pound behind the top rated Fujaira Prince, but that one’s having his first run for a while, so I’d be hopeful my fellow will go close here and make my trip to York worthwhile.
First time on Arabist, who was rated in the 80s when trained by John Gosden and is now rated 69. Ian Williams is a shrewd operator and does well with these staying types.
There was some encouragement to take from his third place on his last run. If he keeps going the right way, he could have an each-way shout here.
Shadwell run two here, and I’ve plumped for Dawaam over Al Zaraqaan, although there’s not much between them.
My fellow is a lightly raced 5-year-old who’s had wind surgery and been gelded. He followed a win at Chelmsford in April with a nice run in the Wolferton at the Royal meeting.
We were drawn very wide that day, as we are here again unfortunately, stall 19 over this trip (our other one is drawn in 20) is not ideal, but I hope he’s still well-handicapped off a mark of 97, so I’d be hopeful of a decent run.
I end the day on Capote’s Dream, which is also my first ride for trainer Tom Ward. He’s won three from six with this horse, so he’s clearly done a great job.
Obviously he has gone up in the weights for those wins and he went up another two pounds for a good second at Windsor last time, but in an open race, he’d have a chance if he’s still going the right way.