The Betway ambassador reflects on the success of last weekend and previews Saturday's runners at Newbury and Bath.
I had mixed feelings last Saturday evening. We had a nice winner in the Shergar Cup, and one up at Haydock, but I still felt we hit the crossbar with a few of the others.
It’s frustrating when they are running okay in the majority of cases, but not quite winning. Hopefully we can fully turn the corner at York next week.
As for Pivoine, he ran well to finish fifth in the Arlington Million, despite not having the smoothest of passages travelling wide into the straight.
That is not to take anything away from the winner Bricks And Mortar, who is unquestionably a very good horse.
Last weekend’s exploits also took us over the £2m prize money mark for the season, so huge credit has to go to all of the team at Park House Stables.
It was only a few seasons ago that going past the £1m mark in a season was a target for us, so to go through double that mark midway through August is some effort.
Things are slightly quieter for us this weekend after last Saturday’s exploits, but hopefully we have some decent chances.
Newbury on Saturday
We send a team of four to Newbury, starting off with our best chance of the weekend, Morando , who is favourite in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes (14:25).
It’s a case of the more rain the better for him as he showed on his reappearance at Chester how well he handles soft ground.
That was some performance in the Ormonde Stakes over a trip similar to this, so we have to be hopeful he can go well if the rain materialises.
He was never travelling in the King George at Ascot last time, but I am hopeful the combination of a step up in trip and slower ground will see him in a much better light.
The fact he has to carry a penalty makes life a little tougher, but he carries that because he is the best horse in the race and I’m hoping he can show that.
Our next runner Donjuan Triumphant takes his chance in the Hungerford Stakes (15:35) and he is similar to Morando in that he loves the rain.
The form book tells you that he finished eighth of nine runners in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood behind Sir Dancealot last time, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
He was badly hampered at the furlong pole and would have finished a couple of lengths closer at least.
You have to respect John Quinn’s Safe Voyage, who looks the one to beat, but if the heavens open, we won’t be far away.
Ocala runs in the 1m2f handicap (16:45) on the back of a good run at Goodwood last time and races off the same mark here.
She is ridden by a good apprentice and also won’t mind if the rain comes as she showed at Hamilton a few starts back.
My final runner of the afternoon at Newbury is Landa Beach , who runs in the Lady Amateur race (17:20) that rounds off the card.
If you’d told me after his debut success he’d end up in a race like this, I’d have thought you were mad, but he’s been disappointing since then.
There is definitely ability there and I’m hoping that the combination of being gelded and the application of cheekpieces will spark a return to form.
Here’s hoping anyway.
Bath on Saturday
Our only other runner this weekend is Queen’s Soldier , who runs in the 1m2f handicap (19:20) at Bath on Saturday evening.
He has been really consistent at this level all season without getting his head in front, finishing either second or third in his last five starts.
The handicapper knows him pretty well though and I’m hoping he can finally get that first success he deserves. He will run his usual solid race.
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