Silvestre De Sousa Blog | 28th July 2018
Silvestre de Sousa’s 188BET Blog – Saturday 28th July 2018
I’m back in action at Ascot on Friday for the first time since last Thursday as I have been suspended. As frustrating as sitting on the sidelines is, it’s given me some time off to refresh the batteries and I managed to get away to Ireland with the family for a few days. It’s been extraordinarily hot everywhere and made life tough for everyone associated with our sport.
Even though I’m from Brazil and used to the heat, riding is pretty hard work when it gets sweltering. If you have a full book of rides in an afternoon, it can really take it out of you. I normally get through around five or six small bottles of water at one meeting. I have a little routine going where I fill up a glass of water with ice each time before I go out to ride and then come back and drink it afterwards – it’s crazy how much water you can lose in sweat in one race!
When it gets really hot I also tend to get a towel full of ice and rest it round my shoulders after a race just to try and cool down a bit. Anyway, when you are riding winners you tend to feel the heat a bit less. Speaking of which, I’m at Ascot for some nice rides on Saturday…
No ride for me in the opening Princess Margaret Stakes with only the seven runners. I suppose the best form on offer comes from Angel’s Hideaway who chased me home when I won the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes on Pretty Pollyanna a few weeks back. She had previously run well at Royal Ascot, but she may just struggle to beat Royal Intervention who looked really good when winning a Listed race at Newmarket last time. That looked a serious performance and there were some decent fillies in behind her.
My first ride of the day is Rum Runner for Richard Hannon who has been giving me plenty of chances recently – it’s great to have the support of a big yard like that. I’ve never ridden Rum Runner before but he looks a lively outsider having already won at Sandown this season. He wasn’t beaten far by his stablemate Tigre Du Terre last time and the handicapper has dropped him a couple of pounds too. There are dangers everywhere including both Crack On Crack On and George Of Hearts who didn’t fire at the Royal meeting. They both missed the break that day and can be competitive here if breaking on terms.
A typically competitive looking 29-runner Ascot handicap where I ride Shady McCoy for Ian Williams. He showed his best form of the campaign to date last time when only just denied in the Bunbury Cup behind Burnt Sugar. He gets to run off his old mark here, so is 2lbs well in and he’s entitled to run well if in the same form. He’s won at the track before which is another positive. Again, there are so many dangers, but the one I fear the most is Ripp Orf for David Elsworth. He was unlucky last time when caught behind a wall of horses and has already won the Victoria Cup here. There is a chance he may still be ahead of the handicapper and he is the one to beat.
The Cracksman camp are the only ones hoping that the rain comes! I ride Salouen here who has been in unbelievable form this season without winning and who I think is a better horse with some cut in the ground. He was agonisingly beaten by Cracksman in the Coronation Cup at Epsom and then was only just reeled in by Waldgeist in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud last time. Any rain will help his cause, although Cracksman will be hard to beat if it does come. If it stays dry, he should still go well, but we may struggle to beat the Stoute pair Crystal Ocean and Poet’s Word. If I had to choose one of them I’d go for Crystal Ocean as he’s proven over the trip.
My best chance of a winner at Ascot is most likely Victory Command in the Winkfield Stakes. He’s been in terrific form at a lesser level and has yet to finish out of the frame in all six career starts. The tactics I’d imagine will be simple and we will most likely go out and try to make all. He’s in good form, will handle the ground and is drawn well to front run. I suppose it will just come down to whether he is good enough.
My final ride of the day is another for Richard Hannon. I’ve not ridden Star Of Southwold who I hope will bounce back to the form he was in when he won at Newmarket back in April. He’s been well beaten since in the Lingfield Derby Trial and on his handicap debut at Haydock, but here’s hoping he will spring back to life. The stable’s horses continue to run well so hopefully he will go well. In-form Sleeping Lion looks the one to beat.