188BET Silvestre De Sousa Blog | 8th July 2017
Silvestre De Sousa Blog – 8th July 2017
The front page of Friday’s Racing Post has stirred up a real debate on the use of the whip and they have the big headline… WHY RACING MUST BAN THE WHIP.
I know the issue is over perception and broadening the appeal of racing, but there is one really important point here and that is jockey safety.
When I climb on the back of a horse that’s at least ten times my body weight, I carry a whip not just to encourage the horse to run faster, but for major safety reasons too.
Here in England we run on some of the most open tracks in the world. We ask our horses to swing left and right, and run on undulating courses where racegoers get close to the action. If a horse starts to veer violently towards the rails, the whip is there to help us straighten the horse up.
Of course, there are quite rightly tight rules in place over the number of times you are allowed to hit horses and the time they are given to respond. But please don’t forget that the whip is there to keep us jockeys and you racegoers safe too!
Thrilled to pick up the ride on Eminent
Another really busy Saturday ahead for me as I’m booked to ride five at Sandown and then I’m set to fly up to Nottingham to ride another six at their evening meeting. Obviously, the main focus of the day is the Eclipse at Sandown and I was thrilled to get the call up for the ride on Eminent.
I rode a winner for the stable last week at Newmarket. They were obviously pleased and have asked me to ride their stable star. The fact that Jim (Crowley) is retained by Sheikh Hamdan meant the door opened for me and that’s the way this game goes.
I’ve been on the other side of decisions like this before and it can be tough, but we are all in this game to ride good horses.
On that subject, I’m so grateful that I’m being given the opportunities now to showcase my skills on the best horses. So far things have gone well this season (touch wood) and it’s nice to be rewarded with chances in the big races. I’ll discuss my thoughts on Eminent along with all my Sandown rides below…
Sultan Baybars – Sandown 13:20
It’s nice to be getting plenty of opportunities for Roger Varian and I ride Sultan Baybars for him in the opener. He has been a little bit disappointing since being gelded last November, but was up against it last time in the 29-runner Britannia Handicap at the Royal meeting.
He’s in much calmer waters here and hopefully the application of blinkers for the first time will help him here too. Hugo Palmer’s horses seem to have turned the corner and his Mazyoun may be tough to beat.
Spring Flame – Sandown 13:50
You ideally want a low draw in these hot Sandown sprints so it was a bit disappointing that Spring Flame landed stall 10 of 11.
I haven’t ridden much for Mr Candy so it’s really nice to be asked to ride one for him. The drop back to this five-furlong trip seemed to help him last time and I’m hoping he can be in the mix here. The Sheikh Hamdan-owned pair Muthmir and Battaash look the ones to beat.
Mythical Madness – Sandown 14:25
A fiercely competitive mile handicap where I ride Mythical Madness for David O’Meara. Like plenty of these he has been pretty busy of late and things didn’t go to plan at Royal Ascot last time. If he can return to the form he was in when second at Epsom under me, I think he can go well. Having said that, life is tougher off a 6lb higher mark in what looks a really hot race.
Tisbutadream – Sandown 15:00
Only the eight runners for the one mile fillies Listed prize and I’m looking forward to getting back aboard Tisbutadream who ran better than her finishing position suggests at Ascot.
The form book will tell you she finished ninth, but she was drawn well away from the action and ran well. She is probably better judged on her good third to Laugh Aloud at Epsom on her previous start and I think she’ll go nicely.
Eminent – Sandown 15:35
On paper, Eminent must have a massive chance in the Eclipse. He looked really good when winning the Craven in a record time on his reappearance and then found the mile of the 2000 Guineas didn’t quite test him enough.
In the Derby last time, he probably just didn’t quite see out the 12 furlongs so the drop back to 10 looks ideal. As I said earlier, having ridden a winner for the trainer last week I am very grateful that he has given me this opportunity in a race like this.
The biggest danger on paper looks to be Cliffs Of Moher who ran so well to be second in the Derby. He looked to have been delivered perfectly to go and win the race only for his stamina to give way late on.
Aidan O’Brien has won the race five times before and knows how to get one ready for it. I also respect Barney Roy who gained his revenge on Churchill at Royal Ascot. If he stays this extra two furlongs, he will be bang there too – it promises to be a cracking race.
I’m then flying up to Nottingham and the main reason I’m going there is to ride Mrs Gallagher, the filly I rode in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot, in the 18:10 race. She wasn’t beaten far behind Heartache and is a very smart filly. She will be very hard to beat even with a 7lb penalty.