Richard Kingscote has had a terrific start to the current flat season. He lies fourth in the jockeys’ title race with a healthy strike-rate of 23%.
He’ll be frustrated at not winning since Newbury last Friday yet has been placed in seven of his last 11 rides. Finishing runner-up on a Ralph Beckett juvenile last night at Kempton was the latest near miss, and he now heads to Sandown for the Brigadier Gerard meeting.
Kingscote is the retained jockey to Tom Dascombe out of Manor House Stables in Cheshire, famously owned by ex-footballer Michael Owen. The partnership began in 2007 following his four-year spell with Roger Charlton. The bug bit whilst riding ponies as a youngster near his home in Weston super-Mare, and he next headed to Newmarket as a 16-year-old to learn his trade at the British Racing School.
His victory aboard Brown Panther in the Group One Irish St Leger of 2014 remains a career highlight. Very much the stable star at Manor House, the then six-year-old had a stellar season, partnered throughout by Kingscote. He won a pair of Group Three’s before finishing third in both the Ascot Gold Cup and the Goodwood Cup, prior to that glorious romp in Ireland. Tragedy struck at the same venue 12 months later, when Brown Panther had to be put down due to a serious leg injury.
Producing another top-class racehorse has proved difficult for the Manor House team, though Kachy has at times looked the part and is undoubtedly the yard’s latest flag-bearer. He was in dazzling form back on turf at Chester recently. He gave plenty of weight and a nine-length thrashing to some decent sprinters including Richard Fahey’s Growl. Runner-up in the Group One Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in 2016, he’s been tried at both five and six furlongs, though is arguably best over a stiff minimum trip.
This weekend the five-year-old heads to Haydock to contest the Group Two Temple Stakes. He finished fifth in the race a year ago and looks sure to go well again, though has the highly talented Battaash to contend with. He could be better suited when heading to Royal Ascot for a crack at the King’s Stand Stakes. Kingscote will be aboard on Saturday and I’m sure hopeful of a repeat of that exhilarating performance at Chester.
The jockey will also be hoping that his trainer has a few more talented youngsters set to be unveiled in the coming months. Dascombe needs to produce more horses that can mix it at Group level and may have a useful sort in two-year-old Jackstar. He looked a juvenile with plenty of potential, when winning on debut at Newmarket last month. A son of Dark Angel out of a Duke Of Marmalade mare, he had Ballydoyle’s Van Beethoven behind him that day, and O’Brien’s fella went on to win easily at Naas next time.
Dascombe has plenty of other youngsters in the yard with a tasty looking pedigree. Angel Alexander is another colt by Dark Angel, though is yet to step foot on the racecourse. Artistic Streak is an unraced juvenile filly by New Approach out of a Cape Cross mare. And then there’s Dark Envoy, another Dark Angel out of a Cape Cross mare. Of course, these youngsters have to prove their ability on the racecourse and the coming months will tell us more.
But in his bid for a successful campaign, Kingscote is also picking up plenty of spare rides from other prominent trainers, especially Ralph Beckett. Yesterday at Kempton Chaleur and Podemos at Chepstow a day earlier provided a couple of second-place finishes. He also rode Time Change to victory at Salisbury last week for the Hampshire trainer. And at Newbury last Friday, the jockey had the leg-up on the Martyn Meade-trained Advertise, who ran out a thrilling winner following a smart ride from Kingscote.
A title challenge remains unlikely, as that book of rides remains a little threadbare. Nevertheless, the jockey is undoubtedly in a rich vein of form and his continued success will not go unnoticed by trainers looking to fill gaps in their schedules. He rode 113 winners back in 2016 and must be confident of surpassing that impressive personal best.