Jim Crowley: “Mostahdaf could go to Royal Ascot with a major chance”
Our ambassador discusses Mostahdaf’s impressive win at Sandown and his Saturday rides at Goodwood
It’s been an excellent week, with Al Aasy winning at Newbury last Saturday as I hoped he would.
I’m not sure how strong the race was, as Logician looks a long way off his St Leger-winning best, and a couple of the other runners need two miles to be at their best, but my fellow was in a different league, and I’m really looking forward to Epsom [Coronation Cup] with him.
Then on Thursday evening, Mostahdaf impressed me with his victory in the Heron Stakes at Sandown, and with no colt standing out in the 3-year-old mile division so far this season, he could go to the St James’s Palace Stakes at the Royal meeting with a major chance.
And on the subject of Royal Ascot, Charlie Hills gave a positive report on Battaash this week, so hopefully he’s on track to defend his King’s Stand Stakes crown next month. I tend not to ride him at home, as he knows when I’m getting on him, it means he’s racing, and I can end up riding him as if my feet are up on the dashboard of a car! Dane [O’Neill] does a great job on him anyway, and if Battaash is as good as ever, we’re in for another exciting season.
All three of the horses I’ve mentioned are of course owned by Shadwell Stud, and it speaks volumes for Shekih Hamdan that he has left this incredible legacy following his sad passing.
With so many top horses running in his colours this season, it would be the best tribute possible to him if Shadwell could be crowned leading owner this season, it won’t be easy but I know all the team will be trying their best to make that happen.
“I was never going to get off Aldaary here”
A busy day at my local track begins on Banner Moonshine for Richard Hannon. She’s had the two starts so far this season, being by Iffraaj, she shouldn’t mind any cut in the ground, and while she didn’t run so well last time, her first run of the season looked OK, so hopefully she can take a step forward here.
Nice to pick up a ride for trainer Alan King here, as this is the sort of race he tends to do well in on the Flat. He’s another who shouldn’t be inconvenienced by any give in the ground, he’s won over this course and distance before, which is always a plus at Goodwood, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run well again here, I think he’s got a good chance.
First ride of the day in the Shadwell silks, Al Zaraqaan had progressed well to win four in a row, but on first impressions he was a bit disappointing when upped to Group 2 company at Newmarket last time, but it may be that he just didn’t see out the mile and a half trip.
He’s back down in trip and grade here, he’s been working well, I still think he’s a smart horse and I hope we can get him back on track here.
Aldaary is unbeaten in his three career starts to date, and the most recent of those, at Ascot earlier this month, was so impressive I don’t think the handicapper had any choice but to hike him up 12 pounds in the weights.
He carries top weight here as a result, but I’m not sure that will stop him, he’s a horse I really like and while this is a stronger race than Ascot on paper, I hope he can continue to improve.
Shadwell also run Tawleed here, I won on him last time and he could well be my main danger here, but I was never going to get off Aldaary, and if he can win here we’d have to be looking at stepping him up to pattern company.
Hukum is a Royal Ascot winner who ran well in the St Leger, and his first run this season was over an insufficient trip so he should appreciate stepping back up in trip here.
He won’t mind soft ground, this is a small field to take on, and he’s another Shadwell horse I really like. If he can win well here, he could be one for the Hardwicke at the Royal meeting.
Asiaaf is an ex-Shadwell horse who I rode to win here at Goodwood last summer when trained by Marcus Tregoning. Now with David Menuisier, I think she might prefer top of the ground, but that said, she’s a big, scopey filly so can hopefully cope with softer ground here.
My final ride of the day is on Via Sistina. She ran really well to finish third on her debut at Thirsk, and if she can improve for that and handle the soft ground here, she could run well, although the Juddmonte horse [Chiasma] looks the one to beat.