I’M hoping to Charm my way into your good books this afternoon.
TOTALLY CHARMING (5.00) is a nice ride for me to pick up in the Royal Hunt Cup, one of the biggest betting races of the meeting.
He is trained by up-and-coming George Boughey, who is having a cracking season, having already won a Classic with flying filly Cachet in the 1,000 Guineas. She is set to run in Friday’s Coronation Stakes and will take all the beating in that.
It’s always great to see these young trainers coming through.
George is only 30 but is now in his third year training. He started with just four horses in a barn and now has over 100 just down the road from me.
He has done an amazing job and I’d love to give him his first winner at the Royal meeting. I haven’t sat on the horse before but his form looks solid.
He won a red-hot handicap really well on Derby Day at Epsom and I always say if you can win there, you can win anywhere.
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We’re drawn 17 of 30 which means I’ll have to pick a side when we jump out of the stalls. The ground will not make a difference and I will just try to pick the right side where there is plenty of pace on.
It’s a straight mile and there are 30 runners so nothing is guaranteed but I know all about the Hunt Cup as it was the first Royal Ascot race I rode in . . . whisper it . . . 35 years ago.
He is one of four rides I have this afternoon. My first is BALTIC BIRD (3.05) in the Queen’s Vase. When you look at the past winners of the race, with the likes of Estimate, Stradivarius and Kew Gardens, it’s clear you need a good one to win it.
Baltic Bird has a fair way to go before he is in their league but he is a progressive horse and we like him. He won his maiden in good style at Yarmouth and we’re confident he’ll like the step up in trip.
This is a big step up in class but he is a working man’s price at around 8-1 and I think he’s worth a shot at this Group 2 level. He has a bit to prove but can make the frame.
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I ride a horse who has nothing to prove in the next. LORD NORTH (3.40) takes his chance in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and there is not much to choose between the five runners.
Bay Bridge is rated 1lb better than Japan raider Shahryar while we are a couple pounds off that. But that’s nothing in a race.
It will depend on other factors but I wouldn’t swap my lad for any of the others. He’s a proper gentleman of a horse.
He’s such a good ride and I look forward to getting on him every time because he always gives it absolutely everything.
Last time out he ran a cracker in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh when beaten under two lengths by Alenquer. Another of today’s rivals State Of Rest finished just ahead of us in third so you can see how tight it could be today.
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I rode Grand Glory in a Group 1 in France last season and we were just touched off by a nose. She is classy and will give Mickael Barzalona a good spin but she could find it tough against the boys.
The roll of honour for this race is high-class and I’ve been lucky enough to win it three times, going all the way back to the Godolphin days with Fantastic Light (2001) and Grandera (2002) a couple of decades ago!
My last ride of the day is FAR SHOT (5.35) in the Windsor Castle.
He won the other day on his debut at Yarmouth and will hopefully take a step forward from that.
It was a pretty nice run first time and the fact Martin Harley had to get down to business on him will have taught him plenty.
Obviously today’s race is a big step up in class and the ground will be a lot quicker than it was on his first run but the boss wouldn’t be running him if he didn’t think he could cope.
You never know what you are up against in these two-year-old races at Royal Ascot, though, as there are so many with lovely profiles.
Little Big Bear and Chateau could be the ones we have to beat.
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