William Buick received a vote of confidence to become top jockey at Royal Ascot at last night’s London Racing Club Ascot preview. Whilst he is clearly pleased to be thought of in that contest, he says it will be a major achievement for him.
Buick is basing his thinking on what he’s achieved so far at Royal Ascot. Until last year he had ridden only one winner there, Dark Missile in the 2007 Wokingham, when he was still a 5lb claiming jockey. Last year he rode two winners, Nathaniel and Beachfire, both for John Gosden.
He reckons the top jockey will need to ride at least four winners, which shows how much he has to do to take that crown. You sense from what he says that he doesn’t expect to get off the mark today, so his odds for top jockey are sure to drift if he’s right in that. He says, “For those of you who have supported me then all I would say is, don’t lose hope if things don’t happen early in the week because, weather permitting, it looks as though I get stronger as the week goes on.”
Buick had the choice of Gosden’s three runners in this afternoon’s St James’s Palace Stakes, and it’s interesting to hear his reasoning for choosing The Nile ahead of Fencing and Gregorian. He recognises the quality of these two, 7lb and 8lb better on current ratings, but thinks The Nile has the potential to find that. He says, “This is only his fourth race and he will absolutely love this stiff mile. He won over this trip at Lingfield with any amount in hand and was staying on all the time over seven at Newmarket on his last run in May. We haven’t seen the best of him yet.”
The same can be said of William Buick himself.