IT would be a dream to be First for the Queen today.
Her Majesty may not be in the Royal Box this week but I know, just like you, she will be watching at home.
Racing is in her blood and one of my best-ever memories of this meeting came when I was lucky enough to ride Her Majesty’s Phantom Gold to win the Ribblesdale in 1995.
Riding in those royal silks is the ultimate for a jockey — beaten only by actually going on to win in them.
I know Her Majesty will be cheering me on from Windsor Castle and if FIRST RECEIVER (1.50) wins the Hampton Court Stakes maybe I will get an invite to pop round after the racing finishes.
Sir Michael Stoute thinks a lot of this horse, who goes into the race on the back of a seven-length win on his return at Kempton.
I have yet to ride a horse for Sir Michael who hasn’t improved with age and First Receiver could turn out to be a lovely three-year-old.
Berlin Tango and Russian Emperor are big dangers but I will be desperate to give Her Majesty her first winner at the royal meeting since Dartmouth in the Hardwicke Stakes four years ago.
My first ride today is ALTERNATIVE FACT (1.15) for Ed Dunlop in the new Silver Royal Hunt Cup Handicap. These handicaps are very tricky puzzles to solve as there’s not much form to go on at the moment, so it’s hard to be too confident.
I rode him once as a three-year-old at Newmarket where he was second in a good handicap there, but that was a while ago now.
He’s got the experience which you need in a race like this so hopefully he can settle and run well.
My third ride of the day is KING’S CAPER (2.25) for Mark Johnston. I rode him at Chelmsford last August where he stayed on well over a mile.
We’re now up to a mile and a half and towards the top of the weights in what is a tough 18-runner handicap, but he’s still quite unexposed at the trip so fingers crossed.
After that race fans will be in for a treat in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes where I ride MEHDAAYIH (3.00).
She is a nice filly in her own right but, despite a weight allowance, needs to find a little bit on ratings to beat a few of the big boys in this.
Japan is undoubtedly the one we all have to beat. I have always liked this horse.
He was a close-up fourth in last year’s Derby and then went on to win at Royal Ascot. Aidan O’Brien’s lad also collected two Group 1s with the Grand Prix De Paris in France and the Juddmonte International at York.
And, after all that, he even managed to finish a good fourth in the Arc. You have to look at horses like Enable to find better form so he sets a very high standard.
Lord North is a stablemate of Mehdaayih, who is a nice progressive colt while Barney Roy is a good horse too and has run well since returning from the breeding sheds.
However there is no doubt Japan will take all the beating, even more so after his stablemate Circus Maximus just got the better of Terebellum — who ran a fantastic race for us — on the line in the Queen Anne.
Talking of yesterday it was great to get off the mark for the week with Frankly Darling. She just found another gear and stays well. It will surely be the Oaks next.
My last couple of rides today are really nice ones.
LORD TENNYSON (3.35) has a big chance in the Royal Hunt Cup. He ran a good race in Listed company at Newmarket on his reappearance where he finished second and he now runs off a mark of 107.
He’s obviously got very low mileage, is open to improvement and I just hope he can cope with a big field like this on only his third start.
It’s always exciting to ride for Wesley Ward and hopefully SUNSHINE CITY (4.10) is another good one in the Windsor Castle.
I got to see his horses on Monday and thought they looked really well.
He also has Sheriff Bianco in the race and, knowing Wesley’s horses as I do, neither will lack for early pace.
The handlers will have the toughest job of all just getting the inexperienced two-year-olds into the stalls.
Full credit to those guys, they do an amazing job.
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