Champion Jockey Oisin Murphy reflects on The Lir Jet and looks ahead to the final day of Royal Ascot 2020 as he bids to beat Pinatubo and Wichita again - this time on Threat.
Before getting into Saturday's rides, it was fantastic to be among the winners again at Royal Ascot on Friday and a real thrill to win on The Lir Jet, who was extremely game to land the Group Two Norfolk Stakes.
I can't put it into words really, after six years of trying, to finally win a Royal Ascot winner for Qatar Racing. I'm super-thrilled.
We didn't get away brilliantly from the starting stalls but the horse travelled powerfully throughout and when I sensed the long-time leader might just be starting to tire, only then I felt we could go and pick him up.
It was an important win for Qatar Racing who acquired him following an impressive winning debut at Yarmouth and hopefully it's onwards and upwards from here with him. I could see him staying a bit further in time as he hit the line and I couldn't pull him up.
He really is a jet!
Berskshire Rocco did himself proud as well when second to Santiago in the Queen's Vase. I was as patient as possible on him but he responded really well in the straight and kept on to the line despite edging to his left under pressure.
Alounak ran a massive price at a big price in the Hardwicke Stakes and I was proud of his performance too, but we couldn't reel in Fanny Logan who was far too good on the day.
Here's to a fruitful final day at the meeting, which has been a huge success so far.
Silver Wokingham Stakes (12.40) – Count D’orsay
I’m really pleased to get the call up on this fellow for Tim Easterby. He ran a fine race at Newmarket behind Makanah on his reappearance. I’ll just be trying to fill him up as much as I can as he seems very fast. Obviously it’s wide open, but I’ve seen Swindler working at home at Ed Walker’s, he’s improved from his reappearance at Newmarket and this has been the plan for a while. He only just missed out on the Wokingham itself and looks the likely favourite.
Queen Mary Stakes (13.15) – Grammata
Her trainer Denis Hogan is a friend of mine so hopefully she’ll run a big race. She did nothing wrong on debut at the Curragh where the winner made all and she came from off the pace. That filly, Dickiedooda, is in here too so we have just over a length to make up. I’m drawn in stall 14, not far away from the likely favourite, More Beautiful, who breaks from stall 18, so hopefully I’ll get a nice tow into the race from her.
Coventry Stakes (13.50) – Science
He’s a son of No Nay Never who ran a good race at Kempton on debut. I’d like to get out quickly and get a bit of space for him to run into, he jumps well and we think he’ll stay further than six in time. Archie’s put cheekpieces on him and that’s something we do a lot, he’s a strong colt and he thought they might benefit him.
Coronation Stakes (14.25) – Sharing
It’s fantastic to get on the American raider, Sharing, for Graham Motion in the Coronation Stakes. She’s a Breeders’ Cup winner and is used to racing on fast turf, but she’s very talented and I’m really excited about riding her – I have been for the last month. I just hope conditions aren’t against her as it’s brilliant they’ve brought her over to have a crack. I have a lot of respect for Quadrilateral who was third in the 1000 Guineas, Alpine Star is a player on her two-year-old form and Run Wild, who won for me at Newmarket, is in great form and looks sure to give James Doyle a good spin. If James wins on her I’ll be the first to congratulate him, it happens all the time when a horse you’ve ridden goes and beats you. It happened to me on Wednesday when Tactical won the Windsor Castle, I was just so pleased for the horse and everyone at Andrew’s. It’s swings and roundabouts and often you jump off one for another and it works in your favour.
St James’s Palace Stakes (15.00) – Threat
He’s been training very well and has been to Kempton for a gallop which Richard was pleased with. I obviously won the Gimcrack on him and I can’t wait to get on him once again. I think a mile around a bend is within his compass, he’s a very fast horse. Hopefully I can get him to relax and enjoy a good run around, but this is a super-hot race. Palace Pier is obviously respected and then you’ve got the Guineas form with Wichita, Pinatubo and Arizona lining up. I beat them with Kameko but we just don’t know if I can do it on Threat yet – we’ll find out on Saturday! His work has been fantastic, though, so he’s in as good a shape as you’d wish for ahead of a massive test like this one.
Diamond Jubilee Stakes (15.35) – The Tin Man
He’s an old favourite of mine and it would be the stuff of dreams to win the Diamond Jubilee on him. James Fanshawe has been one of my best supporters and this horse is in great order. I’m happy with my draw in stall eight, I’m sure Frankie will go forward on Sceptical from six and there’s other potential pace angles, too, so there’s a good chance this will be run to suit us. I’m thrilled to keep the association going and he might’ve beaten Hello Youmzain at Haydock last September but for stumbling at the start. Thursday’s rain was a positive and it would be incredible to get another Group One win with him.
Wokingham Stakes (16.10) – Stone Of Destiny
This horse has loads of speed so my job on Saturday will be trying to get him to relax. He’s his own worst enemy sometimes, but he’s got loads of ability, so I’ll try and get cover and utilise his pace if possible. Six furlongs would be a maximum for him so it’s a challenge but he’s talented enough and he looks on a nice mark, as well.
Queen Alexandra Stakes (16.40) – Nate The Great
This is a huge step up in distance for Nate The Great, he’s running almost 10 furlongs further than his last race. He’s a gentleman, though, and relaxes well, he’s a very easy horse to ride and those traits should help him get the trip alright. We don’t know if he’ll stay, but it’s worth a try given his characteristics and he’s got a very sporting owner. It’d be fabulous to end the meeting with a bang and ride another Royal Ascot winner for Andrew.
More from Oisin Murphy
- Royal Ascot: Day four rides
- Royal Ascot: Day three rides
- Royal Ascot: Day two rides
- Royal Ascot: Day one rides
- Column Seven: Kameko all class
- Column Six: A Classic weekend
- Column Five: Racing resumption
- Column Four: Sticky situations
- Column Three: Oisin Murphy's favourite horses
- Column Two: Oisin Murphy's 2020 vision
- Column One: Getting to know Oisin Murphy
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