There might only be six runners, but the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock on Saturday looks like being an absolute cracker and I can’t wait to be on board Mabs Cross again.
Heading into Newmarket, I really believed she would run well, but you don’t want to make a fool of yourself and start making rash statements and, truthfully, with the Group 1 penalty that she had, I was just hopeful that she would run a decent race.
So to win as she did was a great thrill and we’ve all been delighted with how she has come out of the race. I had a sit on her at home on Wednesday morning and she felt fantastic.
With her owners, Emma and David Armstrong, sponsoring the Temple Stakes, this is a big day for her. I’d love it if she could win for them, having finished fourth, beaten less than a length, in last year’s race.
With Battaash and Kachy and Caspian Prince in the line-up, you can already have a pretty good idea that the race is going to be run at a real good gallop and that should help us. We’ll just have to hope for the best.
It looks like Mabs Cross will be my only ride at Haydock on Saturday, but I should have a couple to look forward to at Redcar early next week, although the ground might be a factor in running plans with the weather having been so warm and dry in recent days.
One that I am particularly looking forward to getting on is Yarrow Gate, who could be running on Tuesday. She is a two-year-old, also owned by the Armstrongs, who gave me a good feel when she finished fourth at Beverley earlier in the month. You’d hope that she will have come on for that first day at school and hopefully she can run really well.
Leapers Wood is another two-year-old I hope it will pay to follow after he made a really promising debut at Carlisle in the week. He started slowly, but got the hangs of thing nicely as the race went on and was going on strongly at the finish.
Away from Haydock this weekend, the main racing action is at The Curragh with the Irish 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas both taking place.
It’s a big day for David Egan as he gets the chance to win his first Group 1 – and his first Classic, of course – aboard Qabala on Sunday.
With Andrea Atzeni required to ride in France that day, David is again given the chance by Roger Varian and he has struck up a really good relationship with this filly. Hopefully, he can enjoy a landmark day in his career, as he is a very talented young jockey.
As for the colts’ race on Saturday, it’s fascinating to see Too Darn Hot in the line-up.
The fact that John Gosden has made the decision to go again so soon after the Dante looks a real tip in itself. He is a trainer whose opinion you always want to respect.