IT'S been a fantastic week of racing on the Roodee, but nothing beat Ascot yesterday afternoon.
I was absolutely over the moon to be given the ride on Agrapart in the closing contest and he stayed on nicely for a game victory.
He's been a great servant over the years and to get a ride back on the Flat with him was awesome. I'm delighted for the horse and for connections to have got his head in front.
Hopefully that will have got his confidence up and there'll be a nice staying handicap in him on soft ground in the autumn.
For me, that's got to be up there with one of my favourite winners.
It was my first at Ascot and it's something that every jockey wants to achieve. Nick Williams and the team do a great job and to get the leg-up was awesome, so big thanks to him.
Turning our attention back to the jumps, Christopher Wood runs in the Swinton for Dad – and I’m hoping they won’t have too much more rain.
He won his first two over the winter and then ran a massive race in the Grade 1 Anniversary Hurdle, finishing third despite kicking the third-last out of the ground.
I would have loved to have seen him run against his age group on better ground but sadly that didn’t happen.
Back in a handicap now, he’s got plenty of weight to carry but is more than capable of making his presence felt.
We opted against going to Sandown to come here as he has plenty of speed.
He’s only had three runs so he won’t be coming into it tired and we’re hopeful of a good show.
I'm back at Ascot again today, where my first ride is in the Listed Buckhounds Stakes on Pilansberg.
He’s a horse we used to train who’s got plenty of ability but he just didn’t really enjoy jumping.
We’d planned to run him in the Cesarewitch but he picked up an injury and unfortunately never got the chance to run him on the Flat.
He’s had one start this season but it doesn’t really count as he tripped up coming out of the stalls at Newbury – so we’re yet to see how he gets on.
There are only four runners today and on his best form he should be third.
Hopefully it will be a nice confidence booster for him.
I also partner Blaine in the penultimate race.
He only had four starts last season and was generally a bit out of form, but hopefully he can turn that around now.
Frankie rode him to victory on his reappearance a couple of seasons ago on soft ground, and he’s got those conditions once again.
He’s dropped to a very attractive mark and on his best form would have every chance.
Chester’s been fantastic this week and some interesting Classic trials took place.
Sir Dragonet was very impressive in the Vase. He’d only had one previous start and it’s hard to gauge the strength of the opposition, but he certainly quickened very smartly and put the race to bed in fine style.
He was green early doors and Chester is a sharp track, but once he got into a rhythm he handled the track and ground nicely.
I’d be surprised if they didn’t supplement him and for me he was probably the eye-catcher so far.
Dee Stakes winner Circus Maximus isn’t the easiest to weigh up.
Ryan Moore was rowing away from some way out and it’s possible he doesn’t quite have the speed of some of the other Ballydoyle hopefuls.
The further they went the better, but he looked as though he wanted to go left-handed the whole way, which sometimes isn’t ideal for Epsom's camber down the home straight.
It’s difficult to know how much more he’s got, though he’s clearly a smart prospect.
The trials turn to Lingfield on Saturday, and I reckon Anthony Van Dyck will be a very tough nut to crack.
He’s miles clear of the rest on ratings and beat Mohawk last year, who ran a good race in the Dee alongside Circus Maximus.
As a fellow three-year-old, Anthony Van Dyck should also improve and if he does then he’s clearly the one to beat.
However, soft ground at Lingfield can turn pretty testing and he’s going to have to handle conditions well.
In the Oaks Trial, I think Roger Varian’s filly Tauteke is the one to catch.
She finished third on her first start before winning nicely at Chelmsford and she might just shade the experience over main danger Frankellina.
William Haggas’ filly had just the one start last year, which she won narrowly. She’s held in high regard but might just find this coming a bit soon in her career.
Later on the card, I like Andrew Balding’s Dancing Star in the Group 3 Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes.
Balding’s in particularly good form at the moment and his filly is that little bit more battle-hardened than some of her opposition.
She has a 3lb penalty which admittedly makes life a bit tougher but I reckon she could be good enough.
Likely favourite Pretty Baby was progressive last year and on her Group 3 win is probably the one to beat. She only just got the better of Dancing Star that day, though, and the latter’s experience could be crucial.
The Silk Series starts again at Ascot tomorrow and although I’m not riding in this contest, I’m looking forward to taking part later in the season.
It’s the first of 15 races and it’s great to be able to support such a good scheme.
In the Victoria Cup at Ascot, Raising Sands appeals as one that could run a good race.
He likes Ascot and has run well on soft ground before.
You need a bit of luck in these races but he could take the beating if things drop right.
Over at Haydock, Larchmont Lad is the one to catch in the Spring Trophy.
He ran very well at Leicester and I’m not sure the track really suited, so this test should be much more like it.
He tends to take his races quite well and has run big races in Group and Listed company in the past.
Happy Power is up in grade here but he bolted up at Newbury last time and could be one to watch.
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