Silvestre De Sousa Blog | 2nd June 2018
Silvestre de Sousa’s 188BET Blog –Saturday 2nd June 2018
Derby Day at Epsom isn’t just one of the biggest days in the racing calendar, it is one of the biggest days in the sporting calendar. It’s a real honour for me to be riding on a day like this and even more of thrill to have a genuine chance in the Derby itself.
I’ll discuss that in more detail a bit later but riding at Epsom on Derby Day is like nowhere else. I cannot begin to describe the noise and razzmatazz that you can hear in the centre of the course when you are cantering down to the start. The sounds of the fairground, the smell of BBQ’s and burgers (not easy when you are doing 8st 2lbs and haven’t eaten all day) are so unique.
You need to be on a horse with a brilliant temperament to cope with it all. They have to be able to run through that wall of sound and noise. That’s what makes it such a unique test. It only happens once a year and I cannot wait. I’ve got a ride in each of the seven races…
I start the day off with a ride for Mark Johnston in the opener. Book Of Dreams won a couple of races back in March but has taken a fair hike in the weights since. He is in at the deep end now in much better company and on paper may struggle against some of these.
However, it’s dangerous to rule out any Mark Johnston runner when they are in such good form and hopefully he can bounce back here. Stablemate Poet’s Prince looks the one to beat though.
It’s really nice to have been asked to ride one for Hugo Palmer in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes. Stage Name was having only the second start of her career when winning impressively at Wolverhampton on her reappearance back in April.
This is a dramatic step up in class, but she deserves to take her chance in this company and hopefully will run well. If the rain continues then German raider Diaphora may go well and look out for Ryan Moore on Shenanigans too.
Another nice ride for Mark Johnston in the shape of the rapidly improving Love Dreams in the Diomed Stakes. He has won on soft ground in the past and was impressive in handicap company at Goodwood last time so he looks well worth a tilt at a prize like this.
Whether he is up to it or not remains to be seen, but he’s been working towards a run at Group level. If it stays soft then Century Dream will go well, as will the old-timer Gabrial.
The one certainty here is that there will be at least 10 jockeys who come back to the weighing room saying that they were unlucky and that they will win next time. I ride Boom The Groom here who has plenty of hard luck stories to tell, most of which have come at Epsom.
He goes well here, but you do need plenty of luck in this race and I’ll be hoping the gaps open at the right time. He looks sure to be bang there, but you can say that about plenty of them including Dark Shot who was unlucky 12 months ago.
Every drop of rain that has fallen this week has been music to my ears as soft ground would be ideal for my mount Dee Ex Bee. He stays really well and handles plenty of cut in the ground which has to be in our favour. The reality is that none of us are likely to be good enough to beat impressive 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior. I was amazed at how easily he won at Newmarket considering he looked to need a trip like this. He could be a bit special, but we will give it our best go and hopefully the rain will hang around.
My penultimate ride of the day is aboard Dash Of Spice for David Elsworth. He has run well twice already this season including when second to Ajman King in the City And Suburban here last month. We were a bit unlucky last time and I’m hoping that the step up in trip will help me too. He should go really well and I’d be disappointed if he is not competitive.
I won’t make myself popular by wishing for rain, but my mount in the last is another who likes it soft. Aces has only had the one start for Ian Williams since leaving France where he had some good soft ground form. I suppose the more rain that falls, the better our chances. It looks a typically competitive Epsom sprint handicap where luck will again be crucial.