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Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon is looking forward to this weekend. He has yet to win an English Classic, but is confident that in Abtaal in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and Mashoora in the 1000 Guineas he has a real chance of doubling up.
Both attracted market support yesterday and are as low as 7/1 (Bet365, Totesport, Betfred, Stan James) and 6/1 (Ladbrokes) respectively. In his prep race last month Abtaal finished a close second to French Fifteen in the Prix Djebel, but Soumillon is confident of reversing those placings on Saturday.
He said, “Abtaal has been working very well at home. He can adapt to any track, whether it has turns or is straight, and he acts on any ground. He’s straightforward. There was definitely scope for improvement after the Djebel. The seven-furlong distance was a bit short, there was no pace and he needed the race. French Fifteen is a good horse. Abtaal had given me a big impression when winning easily at Fontainebleau (last September).”
The current French Champion jockey was clear that he would have to play a waiting game to give Mashoora her best chance of success on Sunday. “I’ve always thought she was a very good filly and she proved it last year. She starts looking around when in front, so she must be covered up in the Guineas and helped to relax. She has an impressive turn of foot but a mile might be stretching her, so we must employ waiting tactics.”
The doubt about Mashoora must be her ability to stay a mile, particularly given the soft conditions, which seem almost sure to prevail over the weekend.
However Soumillon gets on, Hamdan Al Maktoum and Jean-Claude Rouget, who own and train both horses, will share his fortune.
And if you think Soumillon will do well, there’s still time to select him as one of your jockeys in the Fantasy Racing competition. All the information about it is here – http://www.geegeez.co.uk/british-champions-series-fantasy-league-competition/ including the link to the competition entry site. You’ll be able to choose your horses for the 2000 Guineas later today.