Jim Crowley: “I’d be disappointed if Hukum can’t take this”
Coral ambassador previews his Saturday rides at Kempton
A busy weekend begins on El Hibri, a horse who’s run well in his three starts to date having been gelded before he set foot on the track.
His last run was here at Kempton so the surface won’t be an issue and an opening handicap mark of 80 looks to put him in this competitive nursery with a chance.
In the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes, I ride Eve Lodge for the first time.
She won on soft ground at Lingfield earlier in the year and although she was beaten at odds-on at York last time out, she ran OK under a penalty.
This is a step up in class, and it’s also her first time on the all-weather, but we’re drawn well in stall one and from there, if she takes to the surface, she could have an each-way chance.
In the day’s other Group 3, the September Stakes, I ride one of our best horses of the season, Hukum.
Unfortunately plans to travel him to Deauville for last weekend’s Grand Prix de Deauville had to be scrapped late on, which was a shame as we’d been looking forward to stepping him up to Group 2 company.
Instead he comes here and having won on this track as a two-year-old, I’ve got no concerns about the all-weather surface.
In truth, this doesn’t look a strong race for the grade, second favourite Hamish hasn’t run for well over a year and the rest don’t look good enough so I’d be disappointed if Hukum can’t take this.
All being well we’d then probably have to look abroad, maybe Hong Kong, and later on Dubai, for opportunities at Group 1 level, which is how highly we rate him.
Fantasy Believer is a three-time Kempton winner, so clearly goes well here, and I’m happy to put a line through his last run at Goodwood as it was very soft that day.
We’re drawn well in five and given his track record, he would have an each-way chance in an open looking heat.
Like Fantasy Believer, Cephalus is another trained by Charlie Hills.
He’s had his three runs and steps up slightly in trip to a mile for this first crack at handicap company.
Hopefully he’ll take to this surface, we’re drawn well in one, and off an opening mark of 64 it would be no surprise to see him get involved.
Miss Zenlingus ran very well to finish second at Newbury last time, that was over 10 furlongs.
This drop back to a mile shouldn’t inconvenience her, she’s been around Kempton before and getting weight from most of these, hopefully she won’t be too far away.