Rossa Ryan has high hopes for his competitive book of rides as he heads into Newmarket’s July Meeting.
The young jockey’s chances are headlined by the Richard Hannon-trained Persian Force, in Thursday’s Close Brothers July Stakes.
The colt won the Brocklesby at Doncaster on the first day of the turf season and then prevailed again in a Newbury conditions race when stepped up to six furlongs.
Beaten into second in the Coventry Stakes last time out, Ryan considers the chestnut to have improved both physically and mentally from the run and is hopeful for another impressive performance on the July course.
“He’s come on a lot from Ascot, I had a sit on him the other day in his last gallop and he galloped well. I’m very excited to hopefully get his head in front,” he said.
“Hollie (Doyle, aboard the winner, Bradsell) gave her lad a kick and he went straight away whereas it just took three or four strides with my lad.
“He’s mentally sharpened up a lot from that and we’re very hopeful for a big run.”
Ryan has another Group Two chance in the shape of Queen Olly in the six-furlong Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on Friday after her fourth-placed Albany run at the Royal meeting.
The jockey felt the going was a little too quick at Ascot for the filly, who is trained by David Loughnane, causing her to hang left slightly and lose ground at the final furlong pole before straightening up close home.
“We’ve always held her in high regard and we’ve always felt that when she goes up to seven she’ll be better,” he said.
“A stiff six at the July course and that uphill finish should suit, the ground was just too quick for her in Ascot.
“She did tend to hang a small bit left under pressure and that was more to do with the ground, she was still there a furlong out though she wasn’t able to fully let down on it.
“It was very, very quick at Ascot so if there was a little give in the ground on Friday I’d be very bullish for a big run.”
Another horse who would benefit from a drop of rain is Kingmax, also trained by Loughnane and running in the Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes over a mile on Thursday.
The three-year-old was well-beaten by the subsequent Derby winner, Desert Crown, in the Dante at York and then headed off to Ascot to finish third in the Hampton Court Stakes.
Connections have been pondering a step down to a mile for some time and feel that the shorter trip combined with softer ground will bring out the best in the son of Kingman.
“The ground at Royal Ascot probably was a bit too quick for him, we were still unsure about the trip of a mile and a quarter because of his Dante run but he showed that he did stay (at Ascot),” said Ryan.
“We always felt that a strong-run mile would play more into his favour, he’s a good strong traveller. Hopefully the ground will be good ground but it won’t be too fast like it was at Ascot, he’s in good form and Dave’s very bullish about him.
“It looks a very nice race but it seems to me like he won’t be far away.”
All of the aforementioned horses are owned by Amo Racing, the racing operation of businessman Kia Joorabchian and an outfit that has retained Ryan as a first-choice rider.
The role has seen the 22-year-old make connections with a variety of trainers and from them he is receiving rides on some highly-promising mounts, leaving him to look forward to the seasons ahead as the two-year-olds develop through their careers.
“It’s very exciting, a lot of them are two-year-olds that look like they’ll be three and four-year-olds. There’s a nice bunch of horses there and there’s still a nice big bunch of horses to come,” he said.
“I’ve been with Richard Hannon since I was an apprentice, the link up with Ralph Beckett came up about three years ago and has been brilliant for me, the same with Dave (Loughnane).
“It bodes well with all of them, they all know the way they like their horses ridden and we seem to get on well enough. It’s also been a great chance to link up with Michael O’Callaghan over in Ireland, it just opens the door to getting a few rides over there and some experience on the big stage.”
The Amo team were luckless at Royal Ascot when enjoying some good placed efforts but no winner, with Hannon’s Mojo Star second behind Kyprios in the Gold Cup.
A victory at that highest level remains a particular aim for Ryan.
“We’re still searching for that Group One winner, we’ve knocked on the door a few times so it’d be great if I could break that duck for them this year and there’s nothing to say that it can’t be done with the likes of Mojo Star, Persian Force and the two-year-olds that are there,” he said.
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