188BET Silvestre De Sousa Blog | Royal Ascot Day 1 | 20th June 2017

188BET Silvestre De Sousa Blog | Royal Ascot Day 1 | 20th June 2017

Riding six winners last Friday gave me a real thrill and when everything goes right like that it makes all the travelling and hard work worthwhile.

I managed to add three more winners to my tally over the weekend and inevitably people now are asking me about the Championship.

Of course, having won it before, I’d love to win it again – what jockey wouldn’t! However, as I keep reminding everyone, we are still in June and nobody was ever crowned Champion with under 50 winners!

There is a long way to go and all I can do is carry on trying to ride winners and hope all the trainers I am currently riding for continue to support me throughout the season.

Anyway, the focus of all of our attention turns to Royal Ascot where I have five rides on the opening day. It’s a fantastic meeting and it gives all of us jockeys a real buzz to ride in front of such big crowds.

The weather has been scorching over the last few days so they are bound to have put plenty of water on the track giving us good safe ground.


Jallota – 14:30 Queen Anne Stakes

It’s nice to have picked up the ride on the ultra-consistent Jallota for Charlie Hills in the opening race of the meeting. On paper, he has plenty to do to trouble the likes of Ribchester and Lightning Spear, but he’s in good heart and will run his race.

He was only beaten ½ length by Absolutely So at Haydock last time and previously finished third behind Sovereign Debt at Sandown. This isn’t the first time he has dipped his toe into Group One company and remember he was only beaten a neck in that Italian race last September.


Ivy Leaguer – 15:05 Coventry Stakes

It’s not so easy to make a case for Ivy Leaguer in the Coventry Stakes as he looks to have a mountain to climb. He only made his racecourse debut just over a week ago at Windsor when finishing eighth of nine.

The race looks really competitive as you might expect and a case can be made for at least half of the 18 runners.

I have plenty of respect for the Richard Hannon-trained pair Denaar and De Bruyne Horse, while Arawak is a fascinating runner from America – you ignore Wesley Ward-trained two-year-olds here at your peril.


Cotai Glory – 15:40 King’s Stand Stakes

I am lucky enough to have picked up the ride on last year’s runner-up Cotai Glory, again for Charlie Hills. He managed to get within a neck of Profitable 12 months ago, so I am hoping a return to Ascot will spark a revival.

He hasn’t showed much in a couple of starts so far this campaign so will need to bounce back and if Lady Aurelia turns up in the same form she was in when she won last year’s Queen Mary, we will all struggle to get anywhere near her.

Having said that, Marsha and Priceless are two pretty smart fillies from the home team and French raider Signs Of Blessing looked very good last time.


16:20 St James’ Palace Stakes

No ride for me in the St James’ Palace in what looks a mouth-watering renewal between Churchill and Barney Roy. If I had to choose one it would have to be Churchill who looked to have improved again between the English and Irish 2000 Guineas.

Things didn’t go that smoothly for Barney Roy at Newmarket and he’d have definitely finished closer to Churchill if he hadn’t stumbled going into the dip. Yet, finishing closer to Churchill and getting past him are two very different things!


Magic Circle – 17:00 Ascot Stakes

My best chance all day is probably Magic Circle for Ralph Beckett in what looks a wide-open Ascot Stakes. He was running on late when fifth in the Chester Cup last time and shaped that day like the step up to this trip would suit.  His best form has come with some cut in the ground so he wouldn’t want it to get too quick.

He hasn’t been done too many favours with the draw landing stall 20 of 20, but we have a long time to get ourselves sorted! Anything Willie Mullins runs has to be respected so look out for Thomas Hobson, while Alan King’s Who Dares Wins has been in good form too.


Another Batt – 17:35 Windsor Castle Stakes

Last, but by no means least, I ride Another Batt for George Scott in the finale over five furlongs. He gave me a really nice feel when winning on his first start for the yard at Ripon earlier in the month and he is an exciting prospect.

This is a big step up though and whether he has the gears to see off two Ward speedsters and a decent one of Aidan O’Brien’s remains to be seen. I am hopeful rather than confident.