Jim Crowley: ‘The real Battaash should be hard to catch.’
Coral ambassador Jim Crowley previews his Royal Ascot day one rides
Our man Jim Crowley looks ahead to his four rides at Royal Ascot on Tuesday, including Battaash in the King’s Stand Stakes.
Royal Ascot is the biggest, most important week of the year, and after I rode six winners here 12 months ago, I’ve got a lot to live up to this time around! However I come here with a lovely book of rides, and with the permanent addition of the extra races, making seven each day, hopefully we can have another great week.
My first ride of the meeting is on my horse of a lifetime, Battaash. It was great to finally win a King’s Stand last year, and he went on from there to win at Goodwood and York. He came back into training slightly later this year, as he had a slight setback, but Charlie Hills and the team have been very happy with him in recent weeks, he appears to have lost none of his zest and he’s been tearing up the gallops, so I’m looking forward to it!
He came here fresh last year so the lack of a run doesn’t worry me, and while it’s fair to say Ascot is not his favourite track, he has won here and finished second twice, to an exceptional sprinter in Blue Point, so there are no real excuses on that score, particularly as we’re going to get his preferred quick ground.
There should be some early pace to take us into the race, but we know how to ride him, there’s no point holding him up, as it’s his high cruising speed that kills off the opposition. I respect the opposition, led by the up and coming Winter Power, while the American challengers have to be taken seriously, but if the real Battaash turns up, he should be hard to catch.
I went to ride Mostahdaf in a piece of work ahead of his run in the Heron Stakes at Sandown last month, he gave me a lovely feel that day, and lived up to that when winning that race. It’s a race the Gosdens have used before to prep one for the St James’s Palace Stake, and having missed the Guineas to wait for this instead, his profile is not dissimilar to their winner in this race last year, Palace Pier.
We were receiving three pounds from Highland Avenue at Sandown, and he takes us on again here, but I would expect my fellow to take a big step forward from that run, he stays the mile well, and we’ve got a lovely draw in stall one, so we should get a nice trip round.
The 2000 Guineas winner, Poetic Flare, leads the market and rightly so, but he may have had some hard races, whereas we’re still unexposed and come here fresh, and I’m expecting a big run from him.
My Wolferton mount, Dawaam, is a nice horse who I like a lot, but I have to say all his best form has been on the all-weather, and when I’ve ridden him work on the all-weather he’s always worked like a champion.
I’m not saying he won’t go well on turf, as maybe things just haven’t worked out for him so far, and he’s a strong traveller, so if he settles, which you need for this stiff, uphill finish, he could go well at a decent price.
I’ve ridden Arthurian Fable before, and he’s a winner over this trip on quick ground, while another plus here is the draw, from stall one, which should mean I can get a nice position early on.
This is one of the new races added to the meeting, and while it looks a highly competitive contest, I would hope my fellow is not without an each-way chance.
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