Jim Crowley: He’s my favourite horse in training
Jockey and Coral ambassador Jim Crowley discusses the chances of his seven rides at Royal Ascot on Saturday.
I end this year’s Royal meeting with a full book of rides, including a couple of interesting outside rides we’ve picked up. We start on Oddyssey in the Chesham, a race for horses by stallions who won over at least a mile and a quarter, and this fellow is by Ulysses, a horse I enjoyed great success on.
Oddyssey was behind a few of these at Yarmouth so does have a bit to find, but these two-year-olds can improve plenty from their first run. He will probably want further in time, and is a big price here, which is fair enough, but he will learn plenty from the experience.
I haven’t ridden Enfjaar in either of his two racecourse appearances or at home, but he’s won both those starts and proved he stays a mile last time, which is a positive as this Ascot seven furlongs is a stiff seven, so stamina helps. He’s got to prove he acts on quick going, and this is a step up in class, but I know Roger (Varian) likes him, and hopefully he will run a big race.
This is a lovely ride to pick up, as the American sprinters always have to be respected, and Big Invasion comes here off the back of a good second in a Belmont Grade One, behind the top-class Caravel. I spoke to Joel Rosario, who rides him in the US but has had to go back home, and he’s a big fan of this horse, he says he’s improving all the time.
Like most American sprinters, I’m sure he’ll show early speed, and from stall seven we’re in the middle so that gives me options. He will also love the quick ground, so at a decent price I’m really looking forward to this horse. There are high class sprinters from around the world lining up, but this fellow absolutely deserves his place here.
Hukum is probably my favourite horse in training right now, I absolutely love him! I rode him at home in the spring and he felt better than ever, so I wasn’t that surprised by his run at Sandown, when we beat the Derby winner. That was over 10 furlongs, so he showed plenty of pace, but we know he gets this mile and half trip really well too.
HE’S BACK! 🙌
— Shadwell Stud (@ShadwellStud) May 25, 2023
The only doubt is the going, I’m sure we’ll look at the ground on Saturday morning as we would be wary of very quick going, but if he takes his chance, he should take all the beating.
Favourite for last year’s Ayr Gold Cup, it all probably came a bit too soon for him last year, but I retain plenty of faith in Khanjar. I went up to Hamilton to ride him earlier this month, he ran well enough despite finishing second, and I’m sure he can improve again here, as he’d improved lots from his first run, at York in May, to Hamilton.
He loves quick ground, and while we’re drawn high, as always it’s where the pace is that matters, rather than the draw. I do think he’s capable of winning one of these big sprint handicaps, whether it’s here or not we’ll have to wait and see, but William (Haggas) has had a winner here this week, and a big run wouldn’t surprise me.
One of the new races at the Royal meeting, I ride Lose Your Wad in the Golden Gates. He has plenty to find on his last run, but I hope he’s better than he showed that day. Connections ran him in the Dee Stakes, so he’s obviously shown a bit at home. He’s a big price but if he can put Epsom behind him, he could outrun his odds.
I end the week on Run For Oscar, in this marathon staying contest. He’s a Cesarewitch winner, who also ran in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, so we know he stays, and while Stratum won’t be easy to beat, he is 10 now, and my fellow should improve for his last run. He’s certainly an interesting runner to wrap this year’s Royal meeting up on, I’m looking forward to him.