Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle is back with a whole host of big rides on Friday’s card at York.
What a great spectacle Friday’s Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes (3.35) promises to be! York’s big Group One sprint has everything but the clash of the generations makes it even more fascinating.
I’m riding lightning fast THE PLATINUM QUEEN, the only two-year-old in the race, who has been supplemented by her owners Middleham Park Racing after smashing the 5f track record in prestigious company at The Goodwood Festival last month.
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Trainer Richard Fahey has revealed that The Platinum Queen is likely to be supplemented for the Nunthorpe Stakes later this month.
Richard Fahey’s filly will attempt to become the first juvenile to win the race since Kingsgate Native showed his older rivals a clean pair of hooves 15 years ago, so it’s an exciting challenge.
I’m under no illusion what a big task this is after being unplaced on useful two-year-old Chipotle last year, but the 27lb she gets from her older rivals could make it very interesting indeed.
The fast 5f will suit her – she’s already a course and distance winner – and I don’t have any concerns about my high draw in stall 13.
Image: Royal Aclaim confirmed her promise as a sprinting star after victory at York
I don’t expect to get an easy time being drawn next to the trailblazing Group 1 winner Highfield Princess but there’s no shortage of early gate speed right across the track, so it’s all about jumping well and getting into a nice early rhythm.
James Tate’s unbeaten three-year-old Royal Aclaim also enjoys a big pull at the weights and looked special the way she won the Listed City Walls Stakes on the Knavesmire last time on only her third start.
Andrea Atzeni’s filly is drawn on the opposite side of the track and, like The Platinum Queen, has thrived on fast ground which they’re forecast to get once again.
Raindance for Trueshan in Lonsdale Cup
It’s a familiar scenario by now but TRUESHAN’s exciting rematch with Stradivarius in the Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup (2.25) hinges on the weather.
Like me, his trainer Alan King will be pinning his hopes on the possibility of overnight rain materialising ahead of the extended 2m contest.
I was heartened to find the track riding more like good ground on the opening day, despite the description of good, good to firm in places, so it probably wouldn’t take much of a shower to give Trueshan the green light.
He’s only run once at York, when finishing unplaced in the Ebor Handicap two years ago, but I can’t see why this lovely even, galloping track won’t play to his strengths if conditions underfoot are to his liking.
Image: Hollie Doyle and Trueshan
In many ways, it feels like we’re taking on Stradivarius in his own back yard, such is his record on the Knavesmire. He’s won all six of his starts at the track and goes for a remarkable fourth win in the Lonsdale.
He came out on top in our latest battle in the Group 1 Goodwood Cup on ground that was more to his liking and has his perfect conditions in pursuit of a record-breaking seventh York win.
However, he’s never beaten Trueshan on soft ground, so the outcome sits in the hands of those weather gods.
Waiting deserves his place in Gimcrack
WAITING ALL NIGHT deserves his place in the line-up for the Group 2 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes (3.00) following a string of creditable performances in Pattern company.
Richard Spencer’s colt came up a bit short at this level in the Coventry Stakes and the July Stakes so has to show us more in this 6f feature but he’s tough and reliable and will be doing his best work at the end.
He’s by owner Phil Cunningham’s Coventry Stakes winner Rajasinghe so a big performance would be a feather in his cap as a freshman sire.
The Gimcrack sees the reappearance of the exciting Godolphin colt Noble Style who looked really smart in beating me on the useful Mill Stream in a Newmarket novice last month and could be the one we all have to get past in an open race.
Royal Ascot hero returns
The John and Thady Gosden-trained AMTIYAZ has been off the track for just over a year following a setback but it’ll be good to see him return to action in the Sky Bet Handicap (1.50).
I rode my boss Imad Alsagar’s five-year-old in a piece of work in Newmarket a couple of weeks ago and was very happy with his progress. He’s not a particularly big horse so the lack of a run shouldn’t be an issue.
Amtiyaz won the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot for me last year and followed that up with another sound effort at Newmarket. He’s still unexposed on turf and has a lovely draw in stall two so I’m expecting a nice run.
Lahab to go well in Convivial
I’ll be wearing Imad Alsagar’s famous green silks again in the British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden Stakes (4.45) on board the promising LAHAB.
He was rather keen to post on his debut in a Newbury novice last month but ran a race full of promise, finishing third to Wednesday’s Acomb Stakes contender Hectic.
I’d have preferred to see that colt frank the form by running better in the Acomb but Lahab is a professional colt who can only benefit from that experience and is nicely drawn in stall four to acquit himself well in a race that usually throws up smart prospects.
Draw not kind to Al Marmar
Al Shaqab’s AL MARMAR has been running really well since being gelded in the spring but the draw has done him no favours in the closing Sky Bet Mile Handicap (5.20).
Richard Hannon’s three-year-old, who scored a battling victory for me at Ascot last month before finishing second in a hot handicap at Newmarket, is posted out wide in stall 17.
At least he heads to York off an unchanged mark but I’m going to have to ride for luck from out there in a race packed with strength in depth.
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