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Jim Crowley: Empress Wu could be my Oaks filly

| 16.05.2023

Jockey and Coral ambassador Jim Crowley discusses the chances of his four rides at York on Wednesday.

He enjoyed a great end to last week, with 33/1 and 9/2 winners at Chester on Friday and 11/1 stunner Rebel Territory at Ascot on Saturday.

York 1.50 – Crystal Delight

Having had two winners on the last day of Chester’s big meeting, Rebel Territory then absolutely bolted up in the Victoria Cup at Ascot on Saturday, so I head to York in good form, and with some interesting rides to look forward to on the opening day of the Dante meeting.

I’ve ridden Crystal Delight a couple of times previously, including at Newmarket last time, when we finished second to a fair sort (Teumessias Fox). He’s a big, strong type, so this galloping track should really suit him. He travels well, he stays and he’s in good form, so I’d be disappointed if he couldn’t get involved in the places.

York 2.25 – Khanjar

Khanjar was sent off a well-backed favourite for last year’s Ayr Gold Cup, but he disappointed that day, as he did again on his last run of the season at Redcar. We’re drawn in 19 here, so the likes of Dakota Gold are close to us, so there should be some early pace and William Haggas’ horses are coming into form, so he would have a chance.

However, it is his first run of the year and, in my mind, I wonder if he might be a seven furlong horse ultimately. And, as I say, he does have to recover from those two disappointing runs at the end of last season, so hopefully he can do that here, in what is a typically competitive York sprint.

York 3.00 – Khaadem

Khaadem is a horse I know well, having won a Stewards’ Cup on him when he was owned by Shadwell. Now owned by the Hays, he’s been running well enough at Meydan over the winter without winning. I actually won this race for these owners a few years ago, on a big outsider called Glass Office, so it would be nice to repeat that!

This looks a really deep renewal of the race, with Highfield Princess and Creative Force both proven Group One performers, and The Astrologist an interesting runner from Australia, so my fellow would need to improve to be involved, but at his best he’s smart and I hope he runs a nice race for connections I’ve enjoyed plenty of luck for over the years.

York 3.35 – Empress Wu

This Musidora looks to be the strongest Oaks trial we’ve seen, with Infinite Cosmos heading the market off the back of an impressive Newmarket win. I rode my filly when she won her only start at Lingfield last back-end. She was very green that day but showed a fair amount of ability to win well.

She’s related to the same owner’s Madame Chiang, who won this race a few years ago, and who I then won the Group One fillies’ race on Champions Day on, so it’s a classy family, and she will stay this trip well. I understand she is pleasing David Simcock and the fact they are running her in such a good race suggests they hold her in high regard.

She’s only had that one run, but that means she’s still unexposed and this is where we’ll find out plenty more about her, but if she does run well, she could well be my Oaks ride.


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Tony Kelshaw