Fran Berry column ahead of the Catterick Dash

Check out Fran Berry's latest blog ahead of the forthcoming action
Check out Fran Berry's latest blog ahead of the forthcoming action

Fran Berry was left "delighted but disappointed" following Thundering Blue's trip to Canada - find out what the top jockey thinks of his weekend rides.

The whole Woodbine experience was fantastic and in all fairness to Thundering Blue he's run another tremendous race.

We had a great trip around and it couldn't have gone much better, other than the fact that Desert Encounter was able to come and pick us up close home.

He'd always threatened to win a big one and it's just unfortunate for us that this was his day to shine as it clearly clicked on the day for him. My lad picked up well and felt like he'd go on to win - I was quite surprised when something was able to come and run me down.

I was delighted but disappointed at the same time. But he's doing connections proud and it could be the Japan Cup next on the radar for him as that looks a possible target providing he comes out of the run in Canada in good form.

Slightly less salubrious surroundings this weekend as I go to Catterick on Saturday for three rides before heading to Wolverhampton for one in the evening.

Storm Over won the William Hill Catterick Dash Handicap last year and is still a lightly raced horse. He's a bit higher in the handicap this time around but he won a nice handicap at Chelmsford in June and wasn't beaten too far following a break at Haydock.

It's a quirky enough track so his course experience is a plus, as is stall two, so I'd give him every chance.

I'm honestly not sure if I've ridden for Karl Burke before so it's great to pick up two rides for him. Unwritten handles soft ground and has a chance in the William Hill This Is More Handicap based on his third to Jack Regan. He's dropped a bit in the weights and could go well if you excuse the last run.

Jay Kay has a nice draw in stall three for the Get So Much More With Racing UK Handicap. He won well at Ayr last time and it's that time of year when it can count for plenty when a horse is clearly in form.

Tifl is my only mount at Wolves and hopefully the trip for the Wolverhampton Holiday Inn Handicap is worthwhile. He ran another good race when third at Chelmsford last time and dropping back from 10 furlongs to the extended nine here looks likely to help.

It'll be nice to head back to Naas on Sunday where I've picked up the ride on Noel Meade's Dadoozdart in the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Racing Final.

He did best of the home-trained horses in the big sales race at the Curragh on Irish Champions Weekend and any improvement on that would give him a big shout here. He's a course winner over five furlongs and I Noel expects him to keep progressive with distance.

Tudor City is a likeable type in the Matchbook Time To Move Over Handicap for Tony Martin. I'd expect him to be heading back over hurdles at some point but he goes into the weekend in top shape following a good second last time.

Dance Legend is another with live claims in the Rathasker Bungle Inthejungle EBF Bluebell Stakes. She's an unexposed filly for Rae Guest, who's had plenty of success in Ireland down the years, and he wouldn't be bringing her over unless he thought a bit about her. I suspect the aim will be to get a bit of black type.

Obviously all eyes this weekend will be on QIPCO British Champions Day and it looks like the weather might just be starting to play ball, although the ground will still be quite testing after all the rain last weekend.

The John Gosden 'good things' are the big talking point and I do think Lah Ti Dar gives him the best chance. She's definitely still improving and I expect her to take the world of beating, along with Stradivarius. Having said that, Thomas Hobson might be the value into the stayers' race.

Roaring Lion shouldn’t have an issue dropping back to a mile in the QEII and he's another I'd be sweet on.

Cracksman is one I feel could be vulnerable in blinkers. The headgear could make a massive difference but it puts me off slightly and Crystal Ocean goes there at the top of his game. Sir Michael Stoute's horse appears rock solid to me.

As for the Balmoral Handicap, I'll be cheering on Kynren from afar. He's still quite a big price around 8/1 as I do think he's got a big race like this in him when the ground is right. He gets in here under a low weight and everything could finally fall right after he's found the going too lively most of the year.


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