CHAMPION jockey Jim Crowley has nominated the unbeaten Santry as one of his best chances of Royal Ascot success next week.
Trained at Malton by Declan Carroll, the two-year-old won a division of Doncaster’s season-opening Brocklesby Stakes before prevailing at York’s Dante festival.
Even though the Yorkshire challenge will be headed by Richard Fahey’s Ribchester in Tuesday’s Queen Anne Stakes, Santry is expected to run a big race in next Thursday’s Group Two Norfolk Stakes over five furlongs.
“He won at York under a penalty after winning a division of the Brocklesby,” said Crowley, who has three Royal Ascot winners to his name.
“He is a smashing horse. He won on soft that day under a penalty, but he would act on good or good to firm ground.
“He has got loads of speed so he will give me a really good spin in the Norfolk and I will be looking forward to riding him.”
No matter how good or bad a season you have had, when you get a Royal Ascot winner, people sit up and notice.Jockey Jim Crowley.
These are exciting times for Crowley, who plied his trade over jumps for Sue and Harvey Smith before making a successful transition to the Flat.
After becoming champion jockey last season thanks to his insatiable work ethic, the likeable rider succeeded Paul Hanagan as retained rider to Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum.
And the 38-year-old, who was actually born in Ascot, is looking forward to living up to his burgeoning reputation.
“I’ve got a few chances in there,” he said.
“When you go to Ascot, you can go there expecting the world and come out leaving with nothing.
“As I’ve learnt, it is a tough place to ride winners.
“I’ve been lucky I’ve had some good days at Royal Ascot and, hopefully, I can bang a few in this year.
“If you walk away with one winner you are happy. It is the main meeting for us through the year and the one everybody wants to ride winners at.
“No matter how good or bad a season you have had, when you get a Royal Ascot winner, people sit up and notice.”
He hopes his meeting can get off to a flying start when he partners Muthmir for Skipton-born William Haggas in the King’s Stand Stakes, the Group One sprint on the opening day.
A top class horse on his day, Muthmir heads to the Royal meeting on the back of an impressive success at Chantilly.
“He would have a good chance in the King’s Stand. He bounced back to his old self last time in France,” said Crowley.
“The King’s Stand is a good race but he seems to like being held up and come through horses. I was impressed with him in France and it is nice he has got that bit of form back.
“He was third in the race two years ago so he has got good form. Those sprinters go through phases where they really hit form and, hopefully, he will go there in really good order.”
Yet, while the King’s Stand Stakes is over five furlongs, Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs sees Crowley partner the Haggas-trained Tasleet against horses of the calibre of Karl Burke’s Quiet Reflection, the reigning Yorkshire horse of the year.
Tasleet could not have been more impressive when sluicing through the mud to win last month’s Duke of York Stakes on the Knavesmire and Crowley said: “He was really good last time.
“We weren’t sure about the ground with him at York. He clearly loved a bit of juice in the ground but he is equally effective on good ground. He is one of those that has gone under the radar a little bit as he has always been campaigned at seven furlongs.
“Obviously dropping back to six has been the making off the horse and just holding him up a bit as well.
“Ascot should suit him.
“It’s a great place to hold the horse up and come through them. He would have a good chance.
“William likes the horse and it was really nice to see him win so well.”
Order of St George will face a maximum of 17 rivals as he attempts to win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot for a second successive year.
Aidan O’Brien’s charge, who went on to finish third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, warmed up for his defence with a win in the Saval Beg Stakes.
O’Brien has also left in Kingfisher while his son, Joseph, may run Motherland.
Michael Bell’s Big Orange will have plenty of followers after his recent Sandown win and the ground looks like being in his favour.
The last two St Leger winners, Simple Verse and Harbour Law, are on course to meet with a former winner of this race, Trip To Paris, back once more.
When Trip To Paris won in 2015, he was ridden by North Yorkshire rider Graham Lee.