It’s Christmas Eve for Richard Hughes with four plumb rides on Toronado, Night of Thunder, Kool Kompany and Sole Power tomorrow on the first day of Royal Ascot and the Champion Jockey heads to his beloved Windsor for five rides, including two for the boss Richard Hannon.
Hannon trained the winner of the five furlong maiden last year and should be able to enjoy further success with Sunset Sail (6.35) bidding to go one better than his second last time out at Salisbury.
He was beaten at odds-on, on ground softer than ideal after an excellent fifth on debut at Ascot in a race that has thrown up a hatful of subsequent winners and the one to beat and open to plenty of improvement.
Hughes should also be able to land the spoils on hat-trick seeking Breccbennach (7.35) for Seamus Durack in the six furlong handicap. The Champ made all on the 4-y-o when winning on his seasonal beau at Lingfield and the gelding progressed further when winning well at the track in April.
He looks sure to be suited by the step up in trip and should be able to defy a 6lb rise with Hughes notably in the plate, opting to ride him over the Hannon’s inmate Dominate.
Luca Cumani’s string remain in good form and the it is hope that application of cheek-pieces for the first time can unlock the key to Pleasure Bent (8.05) in the competitive handicap over the extended mile.
The Dansili colt was third last time out at Kempton on just his second start of the season, tiring late on when attempting to make all and with two runs under his belt and a further pound taken off he can build on the pair’s excellent 20% strike-rate over the last 12 months.
Tony Coyle’s sprinter Thatcherite (3.15) hosed up in two warm handicaps last term at Newcastle and Redcar and despite disappointing thus far this term can build on last months’ narrow defeat over the flying five at Carlisle.
The 6-y-o was beaten by a nostril when unable to collar long-time leader M J Woodward and would have got up in another stride. Despite a 2lb rise he seems to be coming back round to form and looks sure to be competitive with regular pilot Stephen Craine in the plate.
The Keith Dalgleish stable remain in good heart after a 40/1 treble at Ayr on Friday and he is double handed with Salvatore Fury and Kirtling Belle, stable jockey Tom Eaves opting for the latter on her seasonal debut.
Should the money come for Dalgleish’s Tectonic (4.45) in the extended mile handicap then he would definitely warrant another look, tumbling down the weights for a trainer in excellent form. The gelding is returning to a workable mark and despite not getting his head in front since last September, has course and distance form and will be stripped fitter for three runs already this term.
AP McCoy brought up his fastest ever half-century of runners last week and the Champion Jockey looks as committed as ever. He rides Alan King’s Prettyasapicture (2.30) in the mares’ novices’ hurdle at Newton Abbot and holds excellent claims, receiving 10lb from Phillip Hobbs’ August Hill.
Despite still being a maiden after four attempts the King’s Theatre mare has been a beaten favourite on her first three starts under rules and has demonstrated enough promise to warrant following again. She was hampered by a faller when challenging last time out at Wetherby and providing she can get a fair run, remains with plenty of promise.
Plenty of McCoy’s winners have come from riding for John Ferguson and the pair team up with Honour System in the extended two miles handicap hurdle however preference lay with Purple ‘N Gold (3.30) for Tom Scudamore and David Pipe.
The 5-y-o won well two starts ago at Kempton despite running down the last flight of hurdles and a similar error cost him his chance last time out at Stratford; with that mistake eradicated then he hast to go close.
For all the latest odds head to BetVictor.com