Jim Crowley: The trip, conditions and course should all be in his favour
Jockey and Coral ambassador Jim Crowley discusses his return to action and the chances of his two rides at Leopardstown on Saturday.
It is not very often as a jockey that you get a chance to have an extended break midway through the season, and although it was not through choice, it was great to take some time away from the saddle and have a holiday with my family. We went down to Cornwall and I totally switched off from racing.
Normally at this time of the year, everybody is feeling a bit jaded as they have been on the go since March, some even earlier than that. I now feel as fresh as paint and eager to ride plenty more winners.
I was in good form just before my break, so I am hoping I can find that form again. Obviously it was disappointing to miss out on Mostahdaf in the Juddmonte International, but at the same time it was great to see him run so well.
There are plenty of big races left from now until the end of the season, including this weekend, as I head to Ireland for two excellent rides on day one of Irish Champions Weekend.
I am very excited to get back on board Alflaila in the Irish Champion Stakes. He doesn’t have much to make up on ratings, which is why we decided to supplement him for this race. Everything he has been doing at home has been impressive and we think there is more to come from him on the track.
The trip, conditions and course should all be in his favour this weekend. If he can just take another step forward on what he has shown so far on the track, he should be in the mix at the finish of this race.
The one horse I am very respectful of in this contest is Nashwa. I think she has had an excellent season and she has been a little unlucky on occasions. The leading three-year-olds will be helped by the weight advantage. It looks set to be a great contest.
I think Al Aasy has been better over 1m2f than he has over 1m4f this season, but he does stay, so we have no problem taking on this trip. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many 12f races that are perfect for him.
If he finds something close to the performance he produced in the Group One Coronation Cup at Epsom in 2021, where he was second behind Pyledriver, beaten by a neck, then he would take some beating in this field.
Adelaide River is likely to be our biggest rival in this race. He was runner-up in the Irish Derby and was then second last time out in a Group One contest in France. My horse needs to give him 11lb, but we are hopeful of a big run as he has been better than ever this season.