TOP jockey William Buick is hoping to return to the saddle with a bang when racing restarts.
After an up and down couple of years involving Derby highs on Masar followed by a serious head injury the following season, Buick is raring to go again.
And what better way to start, than winning your first QIPCO 2000 Guineas on red-hot favourite Pinatubo.
The 31-year-old has won major races all over the world, but the first Classic of the season is one notable omission from his glittering CV.
Buick missed the first four of Pinatubo’s wins last season after being sidelined for three months of the season, but was on board for his two Group 1 victories in the National and Dewhurst Stakes.
If Charlie Appleby’s unbeaten three-year-old extends his winning run at Newmarket on June 6, there will be no more looking back for Buick.
Buick said: “Pinatubo is certainly the best two-year-old I’ve ridden, there’s no doubt about that.
“It’s always hard to compare horses but he’s very, very high on the list. He’s got all the qualities needed for a good horse and the temperament to go with it.
“There’s progression left in the horse for sure and from a jockey’s perspective he’s a joy to ride.”
As with all three-year-olds under the microscope, the question of whether the horse has trained on will be raised.
Appleby is confident Pinatubo has kicked on, and his jockey is in the same boat.
He said: “I’ve been very pleased with him. Twice I’ve ridden him in work, once at home and once at Chelmsford and he’s done what was required, he’s in good shape.”
Last seasons spell on the sidelines after a fall in May at Ascot has made Buick hungrier to ride more big race winners.
With Ghaiyyath set to take his chance in the Group 1 Coronation Cup and Summer Romance a QIPCO 1000 Guineas hopeful, he has the chance to do just that.
Buick added: “It was frustrating being injured, it always is, but I was always looking ahead at when I could get back.
“I was lucky I had the support I did and of course seeing horses win at the likes of Royal Ascot was great to see.
“I wish I was on the horses those days but those sort of things make you a little hungrier.”
When the sport does resume – June 1 is the date still awaiting government backing – jockeys will be forced into a new routine with strict guidelines in place.
Buick said: “Everyone’s very positive about the new guidelines. We all have to stick to it and respect them, they’re so important at the moment and will be for a while.
“If that’s what it takes to get racing back then we’ll all adhere to that.
“I’ve been keeping fit though, riding out most days and I’ve got my gym set up at home, I’ve had more time to do that.
“I’m not worried about my fitness but I am looking forward to getting back to what we’re all used to.”
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