It's the final day of the Craven meeting and Ryan Moore has five rides booked including Aiden O'Brien's Landofhopeandglory and Sir Michael Stoute's Grand Inquisitor. Read Ryan's honest - and exclusive - appraisal of the quintet here...
"Landofhopeandglory is a nice, big stamp of a horse and I rode him when he finished second in the Zetland over 1m2f here in October, before he went on to finish a narrow runner-up in a listed race over 1m1f at Leopardstown. As it stands, that is the best form on offer, his stamina is proven, and he has form with cut in the ground."
There are plenty of lightly-raced horses in here ready to make a big step forward, so you couldn't be confident of success, but my mount sets the form standard and I have every reason to believe that he can go close. He is the best horse in here by at least 7lb on official figures, and a reproduction of any of his three starts following his debut win at Galway makes him the one to beat. He is a nice, big stamp of a horse and I rode him when he finished second in the Zetland over 1m2f here in October, before he went on to finish a narrow runner-up in a listed race over 1m1f at Leopardstown. As it stands, that is the best form on offer, his stamina is proven, and he has form with cut in the ground.
Probably wasn't at his best towards the end of last season but his form in the first half of the campaign would give him an outside chance, even if this trip is probably short of his best. He finished second in the Free Handicap first time up at this meeting last season, before recording classy wins over 7f here and over 1m on the July course. He is not out of this on official ratings but it is just a matter of whether he has the speed to cope with specialist sprinters, and his record suggests he probably wouldn't like any more rain, though he did have some form on soft at two and at least conditions will bring his stamina more into play.
I rode him when he didn't show a lot on his debut, to be honest, but he stepped up on that effort to win next time up in first-time blinkers and progressed into a very smart juvenile. It was a messy race but the merit of his sixth in the Lagardere, when beaten under two lengths, is there for all to see. I would ignore his effort in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf on his final start as he simply didn't handle the track, and I would give this big, strong horse a chance in here, and the ground should be ok unless we get more rain and it becomes very testing. He looks like he ideally needs decent ground to show his best. But if we don't get much rain from Tuesday night onwards, then it could dry out and ride on the good side of good to soft on Thursday afternoon, if a bit tacky.
Foundation is the worthy favourite but he isn't unbeatable by any means, and I'd like to think we can give him a race, but I wouldn't rule out a couple of others in here either, notably Criterium runner-up Stormy Atlantic.
I won on him twice at the start of last season and he ran well in defeat on his final three starts considering he was put up a hefty 11lb for his Sandown win. He rounded off the season with a good third over course and distance, but he has gone up another 1lb for that, and you have to think that he is not the best handicapped horse in the race on what we have seen. But he doesn't have many miles on the clock, has form with some dig, and hopefully he will have improved from three to four. I suspect that he will need the run though, for all that the boss's horses are in decent nick.
As of now, I don't know much more about him than what the form book tells me, but hopefully my agent knows more than I do by booking me and I rode a winner for the stable at Leicester last week. He is quite well-bred and cost a few quid though, and he appeared to win well on his debut in a decent enough Kempton maiden over 6f in December. A mark of 87 doesn't appear overly-generous on first viewing, though, and we don't know how effective he will be on turf and ground on the soft side, but he is obviously unexposed.
An update on Derby entry Midterm
A quick line on Midterm, who is entered in a three-runner conditions race over 1m2f at Newbury on Friday.
The boss will be monitoring the ground for the horse, but I imagine the plan will be to run if it isn’t bottomless, and he did win his maiden on the course over 1m last October with cut in the ground.
I think experience is what this horse needs, first and foremost. Yes, he has the potential and has the pedigree – being by Galileo out of six-time Group 1 winner Midday – and is high up in the Derby betting.
And he is an exciting colt for the yard, and one that has done really well from two to three. And he has given me a good feel in his work this spring.
However, don’t forget that he has only won a maiden, for all its’ promise, and is only rated 82, I think.
This race is a good starting point for a colt who will hopefully go on and make his mark in Group company, and it has been a stepping stone for some good horses in the past.
But he meets two similarly promising maiden winners tomorrow, both of whom broke their duck with cut in the ground, and I imagine connections of all three runners will be keen not to bottom their horses in the conditions.
So let’s see how he gets on at Newbury, and go from there.