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Andrew Balding: Attention turns to Royal Ascot as Andrew Balding hopes filly can book her ticket on Saturday

, Andrew Balding: Attention turns to Royal Ascot as Andrew Balding hopes filly can book her ticket on Saturday

IT was back to reality for everyone the morning after the Derby at Epsom.

We are very lucky to have lots of other horses with big targets and Royal Ascot is just around the corner, so we have plenty to look forward to.

Andrew Balding hopes filly who has been burning up the gallops can show it on the racecourse.

But it is always a disappointment when you build up expectations and start dreaming you might pull it off, only for it not to pan out.

The Foxes ran a great race in the circumstances in what I think was a very strong Derby — the first two in particular look very, very good.

There was no hard luck involved which is the main thing. He ran well for Oisin but he just didn’t get home, which was the main question mark heading into the race.

As for where we head next, we might get a little inventive and have a crack at a very valuable race in New York early next month.

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There is a race worth a lot of money at Belmont Park for three-year-olds which I think would be right up his street.

He is very limited to where he can go at this time of year, the alternative probably being to run in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown against the best older horses in Europe . . . I just don’t feel he is quite ready for that sort of test.

We would need to receive an invite for the US race — though, given his form, I would be very disappointed if the bigwigs in New York didn’t offer us a spot.

It’s not until July 8, so hopefully those awful wildfires which have left the Big Apple looking apocalyptic have sodded off by then!

The main thing last weekend was getting the Derby on without too much trouble.

You have to tip your cap to the Jockey Club and the police, they did a brilliant job because it would have been an absolute disaster if the protesters had got the race called off.

I know a lot of people put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes, and they have done not just our sport but our society a huge favour.

Because you can’t just have people like this deciding big events aren’t going to happen — there are ways to get your message across and that is not one of them.

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There was definite apprehension in the air on Derby day, you hear gossip and rumours and see the headlines and you just don’t know what to expect.

I’m glad they failed, pretty miserably in truth, and it’s onwards and upwards.

Mind you, with the train strikes the crowd was noticeably smaller at Epsom which was a real shame.

The place still had a good vibe and it’s an occasion racing should be proud of, though I reckon they should think about moving the race back to a midweek slot.

It was always on a Wednesday and they moved it to the weekend when they felt interest from the public was starting to wane a little.

But there is so much competition on a Saturday for people’s attention. I’m not just talking about other sports — but people have family commitments and it’s much easier to just stay at home and watch on the TV.

You often find big race meetings in the middle of the week do extremely well because people can take a day off and we have much less competition.

It’s something to think about because I think it would work wonders for Derby Day.

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Our focus now is entirely on Royal Ascot which is the biggest week of the year for most yards, including ours.

We run a lovely horse called FLORA OF BERMUDA (2.05) in the Hilary Needler at Beverley today and we hope she can book her ticket to the big week.

If she runs as well on the racecourse as what she has shown us on the gallops at home she would have a massive chance. She’s probably our best hope of the day.

But arguably the biggest result of the season so far played out on the Kingsclere cricket pitch the other day when we handed Ralph Beckett’s team a good beating.

We put them in their place quite comfortably — I’m hoping the England boys can do the same to the Aussies when the Ashes start this week!



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