This is her stiffest task to date, but she is clearly improving and showed a really good attitude to beat me on Ornate in a close finish at Ascot last week. She needs to progress a good deal again to even get into the frame and get some black type here - Mise En Rose is rated 16lb higher and we race off levels - but the handicapper has her improving that amount in the last month and maybe there is a lot more to come. I hope so, but there needs to be if she is to be winning this.
She will have to do a lot better than she did when I rode her over 6f at Yarmouth last month. But she clearly ran a lot better than that when an earlier second to Exmouth over the same course and distance, though I am not sure how strong that form is. She is no more than fairly handicapped off 78, but the extra furlong should suit on pedigree. I think Amabilis could be the one to beat. I really liked her when I rode to her to finish second to Boussac third Dabyah on the July Course on her debut in July and she followed that up with a good third to Rhododendron at Goodwood. Her performances since then have not been as impressive, but if she comes back to the form of her first two starts then I think she could take a fair bit of beating off a mark of 85.
He was still in need of the experience when I rode him to finish third in a Doncaster maiden that hasn't really worked out last month, but he made a massive step forward to finish a close second to Best Of Days in the Royal Lodge over course and distance last time. The jury is still out on the overall strength of that Group 2 form but he clearly is an improving colt whatever way you cut it, and he looks the form horse in here, as it stands.
He is odds-on for this race and, to be honest, he deserves to be. You can never be over-confident when coming up against lightly-raced, well-bred and progressive 2yos but I think Churchill is a very good colt. He isn't a flashy horse but he is very professional, and he showed his class when beating Mehmas and Lockheed easily in the National Stakes last time. Yes, you can argue that Mehmas failed to fully see out the 7f, but I think you have to give my horse a lot of credit for the manner in which he brushed aside a Group 2 winner and an Acomb Stakes third there and pulled clear. He is getting better with his racing, as so many of Aidan's horses do, and I'll obviously be disappointed if he is beaten here. He looks, and feels, a proper horse to me.
I don't know a lot about him to be honest. I rode Miss Fara to win this race for Martin Pipe in 2002 - I was a 5lb claimer, did 8 stone, and got up on the line - and hopefully it will be a case of "like father, like son" with Ennistown. It is never a bad thing to be riding for a jumps trainer in this race and my mount comes here in good form having won a handicap hurdle over 3m1f at Cartmel last time. This is obviously a far different test and he hasn't raced on the Flat for nearly two years and is unproven over this trip on the level. as well as being drawn wide in 29. Not ideal at all. But this is only his fourth start for David, and hopefully my agent has done a good job.
Wings Of Eagles
Didn't show a great deal on his debut at Galway but he wasn't the first juvenile from the stable to leave that form well behind next time, and he won't be the last. Stamina looked to be his forte when winning that 1m70yd Killarney maiden last time, and hopefully he will come forward again over this longer trip. It is clearly a fair step up in class, though.
He has obviously had his issues this season and, at the moment, I don't know his state of readiness or fitness for his comeback, but he clearly has a strong form choice on his juvenile form. He won the Group 1 Criterium over 7f in very testing conditions at Saint-Cloud at the end of last season but he proved he can handle quicker ground when an earlier fourth in the Lagardere. This looks pretty tough for his reappearance but hopefully he will give a good account of himself.