Fran Berry column including Gracious John and Sovereign Duke

Jockey Fran Berry
Jockey Fran Berry

It's a first for Fran Berry this weekend as he rides at three meetings in a single day, including Reine Des Miracles - check out his thoughts on the weekend action.

What a star Gracious John has been and it was great to get his head in front again back on turf at Newbury last weekend.

He was 12lb lower than his all-weather mark after having a great winter but he showed real grit and determination after travelling into it quite well.

We had to bide our time a bit but he seemed to be happy out on his own a little as he’s sulked in the past when not able to lead. It couldn’t have worked out better on the day really.

David Evans mentioned Chester as a possible target a little earlier in the year and there’s a chance he could go there now. He’s in the form of his life anyway and has only gone up 3lb so there’s still room for him to remain competitive.

Spiritual Man was another pleasing winner over the past week and he got a great run up the inside at Lingfield.

He'd actually shown a bit of promise from a wide draw at Wolverhampton when sixth the time before. He’s no star but is obviously coming to hand and is likely to be kept on the go.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be for Leader Writer in the Spring Cup and he was the first horse beaten. Connections were going to get him checked out and hopefully it’s a run we can just put a line through.

It’s so frustrating as everything looked right for him following that encouraging Lincoln comeback but it was obviously just a really below-par run.

The maidens at Newbury last week were typically hot and one who I was quite taken by was Bossiney Bay for Hughie Morrison.

She was having her second career start and first of the season and felt quite useful before weakening into fifth behind Lah Ti Dar. She’s one for the tracker, for sure.

I’ve one ride on Friday with Sovereign Duke lines up in the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown.

He was very green first time out at Kempton and showed the benefit of that run to win at the second time of asking back at the same venue. Both races were over a mile and he looks certain to appreciate this step up in trip.

It is a marked step up in class, mind, and although his Kempton form is strong, he’s a scopey horse and in all likelihood a bit more of a stayer in the making. I’m hoping for a good performance from him, but not going there particularly expectant.

Onto the weekend and I'm breaking new ground from a personal point of view as I'm riding at three meetings on Saturday, with a couple at Leicester through the afternoon, one at Doncaster, and then another two down at Wolverhampton's evening meeting.

We're limited as jockeys to nine meetings in a week so with the way the fixtures are next week, this fits in well and means I can ride for three good supporters of mine without letting anyone down.

Letmestopyouthere is the first of two for David Evans at Leicester and I've a reasonable record on the horse. He's been running away all winter, doing quite well at times, although he doesn't win very often.

If the forecast rain arrives here then he could show up well as he was second on heavy going at Haydock last year. He also handles Southwell quite well so any more downpours will improve his chance.

Awake In Asia is an interesting one and considerably less exposed after just the one start. He was second first time out to a really nice Mark Johnston juvenile at Windsor and the winner looks potentially quite exciting.

I didn't ride Awake In Asia first time out but to my eye he looked quite green and could improve a lot for that introduction.

An expensive purchase for Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, he's by Dragon Pulse who is a sire I know well as I rode him to win the Futurity Stakes as a juvenile back in his racing days and he's made quite a good start at stud.

It was very testing at Windsor, so I don't mind if it's riding on the soft side again on Saturday.

It's a hop, skip and a jump up to Doncaster to ride Colonel Frank on his second run for Mick Quinn.

He didn't have a good draw up there on Lincoln day and I had to come across to get some cover but he finished the race well and is entitled to strip fitter.

He could be one that will improve a bit throughout the year and with any luck might give connections some fun along the way. He is another who will handle the prevailing conditions.

Hoott is my first ride for Newmarket-based George Peckham when he debuts at 8.00 at Wolverhampton.

He's a gelded three-year-old son of Acclamation and wears a visor first time out so could be one to watch. I've a good draw and he cost 80,000 guineas so I'm hoping there's plenty of ability there.

Reine Des Miracles has ability but obviously has a little bit to prove after bursting a blood vessel when pulling-up last time. I quite like her and an opening mark of 59 isn't harsh at all, but there's just that question mark now.

She showed ability in bumpers and if all's well with her physically then she should have every chance.

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