Top jockey Jamie Spencer runs you through his chances at Ascot on a busy Saturday where he is hoping he can be the star of the show in the Victoria Cup
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I’M hoping to be the star of the late, late show at Ascot today.
My Victoria Cup ride TAUREAN STAR (4.00) has to be held up for a last-minute run – you cannot get there too soon on him. When he gets to the front he just stops – puts the brakes on.
He’s won three races but I think the furthest he’s ever won by is half a length. That was when he beat Banksea – winner of last month’s Newbury Spring Cup – at Ascot last year.
He also finished ninth in the Britannia at Royal Ascot – usually the strongest handicap of the year for three-year-olds – when he was hampered at a crucial stage.
The big field will be a big help to him, he’s got a light weight and, if he gets the rub of the green, he’s got a chance. A little bit of rain would be a help.
In these races you need plenty of patience – that’s number one. You’ve got to get your horse relaxed and into a nice rhythm.
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When they’re running in a straight line they don’t give themselves a breather. If you can get one into them it’s a big advantage.
Taurean Star is a tricky horse to ride but if you time it right he’s got plenty of ability – I just wish he’d win by a bit further.
SALVATORE FURY (5.10) is a similar type of horse – you can’t get there too early.
He’s a bit of an old rogue and doesn’t win very often but we’ll give it a go. But Rio Ronaldo will be very hard to beat in that race. I rode him at Windsor last time and couldn’t get out when I needed to.
I also ride SINGYOURSONG (3.25). She’s trained on well from three to four and is very consistent.
She won well at Brighton the other day and Ascot should suit her. The drop back to a mile from a mile and a quarter is a bit of a question mark but the stiff track should help.
She goes there with a chance.
BATTS ROCK (2.15) makes his return from a year off. He had a problem after his run at Newmarket last spring – this is his first run back.
I saw him the other day and he looks well but this is a strong race and he’s only got an each-way chance at best.
Things didn’t pan out for me in Wednesday’s Chester Cup on Nakeeta. Perhaps I used up all my luck when I won the race last year.
I was shouting when the stalls opened as my horse had his head to the side.
Chester Cup is all about position. When you pass the winning post for the first time that’s where you’re going to be a circuit and a half. I wasn’t in the position I wanted to be in – it was a total non-event for me.
But it was great to nick a winner with Never Surrender. It was tremendous for Barry Hills.
He used to be ‘Mr Chester’ and was up there representing his son Charlie. He got a good kick out of the win – he owns a bit of the horse as well.
The Derby trials are in full swing and I’ll be off to York this week for the Dante meeting.
But I’ll be surprised if anything impresses me more than Churchill did in last week’s 2000 Guineas.
He’s definitely superior to the other three-year-old’s we’ve seen and I’m sure it will continue to be that way.
I think he’s one of those horses who will only ever win by a length. He got to the front two and a half furlongs out – that’s a long way to be in front on a horse like him.
He’ll definitely stay a mile and a quarter. With him being a son of Galileo you can never discount him getting a mile and a half. Galileo’s generally get any trip and he’s got a great mind – he shuts down and relaxes.
Sometimes you don’t really need to stay in the Derby – a top-class mile-and-a-quarter horse can win it. I can’t think anything that’s run so far could beat him. His biggest dangers are probably stabled next door to him at Aidan O’Brien’s yard.