Our ambassador Hollie Doyle jets to New York to ride Outbox in the Belmont Gold Cup on Friday, live on Sky Sports Racing, before flying back for six rides at Leicester on Saturday evening.
Globetrotting Outbox can make US trip worthwhile
I’m taking an early flight out of Heathrow on Friday morning to ride Outbox in the Grade Two Belmont Gold Cup (9.42pm) at Belmont Park, a two-mile race worth £300,000 which you can see live on Sky Sports Racing.
It’s going to be a whirlwind visit, but I should have plenty of time to sort out my paperwork at the track and walk the course, as I’ve never ridden at Belmont before.
What I did learn from riding at the Breeders Cup is that the Americans are so much quicker from the gates, so I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure Outbox gets a prominent position from his middle draw (gate 4).
He ran well below expectations at Newbury last time but nothing came to light, so if he’s on his ‘A’ game I think he’s entitled to run a big race. Going left-handed shouldn’t be a problem and although two miles is at the limits of his stamina, he should see it out well on such a turning track.
Overseas runners have done well in this race over the years and Archie Watson and owners Hambleton Racing have had this in mind for some time. The German horse Loft looks the biggest danger, as he’s progressive and stays well, but Outbox has been a superstar in his own right.
He took his career earnings beyond £620,000 when he won a valuable race in Doha back in February, supplementing his victory in the Listed Fred Archer Stakes at Newmarket last summer. Not bad for a son of the great Frankel who cost only 16,000 guineas at the horses in training sale.
Archie’s assistant Steph Joannides and Lauren Smith, who rides him at home, have travelled him out there and by all accounts he’s settled in well. He’s certainly had more time to take in the scenery than I will!
My flight to New York continues a busy week of travelling which has also included two trips to Scotland, which I did by plane rather than car. Sadly, I came back from both Musselburgh and Hamilton Park empty-handed, but days like that are part and parcel of the job.
Looking for nice debut from Loughnane juvenile
Young trainer David Loughnane has made a big impact in the last 12 months and has an exciting team for Royal Ascot, including Commonwealth Cup fancy Go Bears Go, so I’m looking forward to riding debutant Moltisanti for him in the opening British Stallion Studs EBF Restricted Maiden Stakes (5.45) at Leicester on Saturday.
I was impressed by his two-year-old winner Double O for Amo Racing at Pontefract in midweek and this colt is certainly bred to appreciate the seven furlongs trip, being by prolific Group One star Highland Reel out of a Dubawi mare. It’s his first day at school, but Dave’s horses are very professional and tend to know their job.
Sweet on unbeaten Sugar in bid for five-timer
Archie Watson’s Watermelon Sugar aims to extend his unbeaten record to five in the Smooth FM Selling Stakes (7.15) – a test that, on form, he should pass with flying colours.
He’s already won a similar race over course and distance, when Archie and connections went to £31,000 to buy him back in a lively auction.
Since then, the son of Gutaifan has won another seller at Thirsk for Paul Mulrennan and, with a top rating of 82, holds an obvious chance with the weights very much in his favour.
Dick can dash to repeat success
William Stone’s Dashing Dick loves Leicester and looks to have a good chance of supplementing April’s course-and-distance win in the seven furlongs All Races Live On RacingTV Handicap (6.15) off just a 2lb higher mark.
He’s better than he showed at Newmarket last time when we were taken on the whole way for the lead. He just didn’t enjoy that, but back at Leicester in a small field I’m hoping he’ll get the run of the race on ground that looks ideal for him.
Bay well handicapped in Leicester sprint
Dave Evans has his team fit and firing and Portelet Bay looks well-handicapped on the pick of last season’s form on turf. He ran well in defeat at Bath last time and can build on that in the closing five furlongs Evening Racing At leicesterraces Thursday 23rd June Handicap (8.45).
Stella Barclay got a promising tune out of Basholo on her stable debut at Carlisle. Though cheaply bought out of Brian Meehan’s yard, she also has the credentials to go well if she can build on that in the five furlongs Leicester Racecourse Conferences & Events Handicap (8.15).
I also ride Wow William for the first time in the mile-and-a-half Kube – Leicester’s Premier Exhibition Space Handicap (6.45). Sir Mark Todd’s four-year-old remains lightly-raced and is only a few pounds higher than when winning over the same trip on the all-weather at Lingfield last November.
Shorter trip the key to Classic hope Nashwa
I’m delighted that my Oaks third Nashwa may take her chance in the French Oaks next weekend. If she goes, it will be exciting to end Royal Ascot week with another ride in a Classic.
Despite running a big race, my boss Imad Alsagar’s gorgeous daughter of Frankel didn’t quite see out the mile-and-a-half at Epsom, but will revert to her optimum trip if she lines up in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly.
She’s proven over 10 furlongs after winning that Listed race at Newbury and seems to have come out of the Oaks well, but it all depends on how happy John and Thady Gosden are with her this coming week.
Happy with Glen in Ascot work-out
I’m happy to report that my Platinum Jubilee hope Glen Shiel – a gallant second in the big race last year – is in great form ahead of Royal Ascot.
I rode him work at Archie Watson’s on Tuesday and was very happy with him, but he won’t take his chance unless sufficient rain falls on the track next week.
The same applies to my Gold Cup contender Trueshan, who also needs some give in the ground. I haven’t seen him recently but am told he’s also fit and ready. Unfortunately, the significant rain they both depend on doesn’t appear to be in the forecast.
Hollie Doyle was speaking to Sky Sports Racing’s Simon Mapletoft