Tag Archive for: Jason Watson

Jason Watson to miss Derby ride on Masekela

Jason Watson has been denied his first Cazoo Derby ride on Masekela having picked up an injury at Doncaster on Friday evening.

Watson was due to ride King’s Crusader for David O’Meara in the Weldricks Pharmacy Supporting WPCC Novice Stakes when he was unshipped on the way to the start.

Masekela is trained by Andrew Balding and owned by Mick and Janice Mariscotti and was beaten just a short head by Native Trail in the Superlative Stakes last year.

“It was on the way to the start at Doncaster last night, King’s Crusader got loose before the second race,” said Watson’s agent Chris Dixon.

“He’s gone to see the doctor and we don’t know exactly what the damage is but all we know is he won’t be riding in the Derby.

“We’ll just have to see how long he’ll be out and obviously it’s the worst time of the season to be injured so we hope it won’t be long.

“Masekela was a nice ride to pick up, he was inexperienced but his form with Native Trail stood out. He’s a very talented horse.

“Jason is just looking forward now, there’ll be other years for him, hopefully.

Balding said: “It happened last night I believe, Andrea Atzeni will ride I think.”

Jason Watson stars with Lingfield double

Jason Watson was in double form on a cold and blustery Thursday afternoon at Lingfield, courtesy of Secret Glow and Sir Henry Cotton.

Secret Glow (10-1) looked fit beforehand in the parade ring ahead of his run in the All Weather Championships Mile Handicap, despite his 111-day lay-off.

A change of tactics clearly helped the Heather Main-trained four-year-old, who was held up before coming with a withering run to gain a three-quarter length success, his first for the Kingston Lisle yard.

Sir Henry Cotton/Lingfield
Jason Watson completed his double aboard the Andrew Balding-trained Sir Henry Cotton (Simon Milham/PA)

Main said: “I should have brought him back to Lingfield a while ago and couldn’t quite find the right race, but I’m really glad I’ve put him back over a mile and we rode him a bit more conservatively.

“We have perhaps made a little bit too much use of him before and he has obviously enjoyed running through horses.

“He was a little worried he got caught a little wide, but at the same time he does have a turn of foot.

“I think he will probably get a bit further as well.”

The Andrew Balding-trained Sir Henry Cotton (17-2) brought up the brace for Watson in the six-furlong Watch Racing Free Online At Coral Handicap.

Despite winning a maiden at Wolverhampton 13 days previously, Sir Henry Cotton was a big market drifter, not that it concerned Watson.

He said: “Tactically it all went wrong. I wanted to get a bit of cover behind the pace as I didn’t have the best of draws and we all jumped fairly similarly and I got trapped wide.

“He probably got there soon enough, but he stuck his head out and stayed on nicely.

“He has been a bit of a slow learner but is now getting the gist of it after his win at Wolverhampton and hopefully he will progress again.”

Lilkian/Lingfield
Liam Wright rode the first winner of his career under the Darryll Holland-trained Lilkian (Simon Milham/PA)

Liam Wright is a name to remember. The 20-year-old, who learned his trade with John McConnell and Dermot Weld in Ireland, before arriving at Harraton Court Stables in September, drew high praise from trainer Darryll Holland after guiding Lilkian (11-2) to a head success in the #betyourway At Betway Handicap.

Runner-up at Wolverhampton over the minimum trip 13 days ago, Lilkian continues the fine early season form of his trainer.

“This boy is brilliant. He gave him a superb ride,” said Holland of the 7lb claimer. “Keep an eye on this lad. He’s a natural and has a good head on his shoulders, which is important these days.

“He has a great work ethic and he is just a nice kid. You want to give those boys chances. He works really hard. I’m just thrilled for him and his parents.”

Wright added: “We knew there would be plenty of pace so, when I saw the two go off in front I was happy to sit and as soon as we turned in I knew we’d pick them off.

“I could feel them closing, but he is a game horse and I knew he’d stick on. I could not be on a better animal today.

“My family are all back home in Dublin and they will be screaming at the telly. My nanny always watches me, so she will be delighted.”

Ruith Le Tu (18-5) stayed on really well to take division one of the Play Coral Racing-Super-Series For Free Handicap Stakes under Liam Keniry.

The Stan Moore-trained three-year-old broke his duck with a taking display in mowing down favourite Naughty Nadine in the seven furlong event.

Ruith Le Tu/Lingfield

Ruith Le Tu and Liam Keniry took Division One of the seven-furlong handicap for Stan Moore (Simon Milham/PA)Keniry said: “He did it comfortably. I was drawn outside in stall nine and was able to get across. He travelled nicely and waited coming into the straight.

“There was one who came round the outside but rather than race with him, I just kept sitting on him,” said Keniry.

“He was a bit green in front, but he is a fine, big horse, who will hopefully develop further and win another race or two.”

Richard Spencer has a strong team or horses to look forward to this season and while The Mad Monk may not be at the higher echelons of his group, he was good enough to land the second division of the seven-furlong handicap by three-quarters of a length from Vintage Fashion.

Though the time was over a second an a half slower than the first division, Hayley Turner put that down to the strong headwind, as the 6-4 favourite got off the mark on his first run since being gelded following three outings last year where he beat just one horse home.

“It was a weak enough race, but I think he is progressing with his racing and he is learning as he goes along,” said Turner.

“There is quite a string headwind up the straight and we are nearly dropping our whips, it is quite difficult to pick them up and use them.

“I would leave him at seven furlongs for now. He will sharpen up with his racing.

“He takes his racing seriously and was a little bit toey going down, but in the race he settled well and was uncomplicated. He was green and weak last year.”

Jim Crowley found the frigid and blustery conditions a little different to the warmer climes at the Dubai World Cup meeting, but he had a smile to brighten the coldest of days after powering Swatch (6-4 favourite) to a four-length success in the 10-furlong Betway Median Auction Stakes.

The Robyn Brisland three-year-old had run twice before and had been fifth of seven in a minor event at Kempton last time, but set the standard in a weak event.

“It was a messy race,” said Crowley. “Early on, nobody wanted to go on and it was messy for a furlong, but I always had plenty of horse. He stays well. He is better on softer ground but it wasn’t a strong race.”

Globetrotting star Lord Glitters claims Bahrain gold

Lord Glitters came from last to first to land a thrilling renewal of the Bahrain International Trophy.

Winner of the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2019 and twice successful in Dubai earlier this year, David O’Meara’s “horse of a lifetime” was last seen finishing last of 10 in the QEII on Champions Day last month.

The eight-year-old was forced to concede weight all round to his younger rivals in this £500,000 Group Three, but claimed his 10th career victory under a well-judged ride from Jason Watson.

Positioned at the rear of the field for much of the 10-furlong contest, Lord Glitters began to make smooth headway early in the home straight.

Racing inside the final furlong, it looked like it might be a one-two for Godolphin, with Andre Fabre’s French challenger Magny Cours battling it out for the lead with the Charlie Appleby-trained Barney Roy.

But O’Meara’s veteran had other ideas – finishing strongly to get up in the dying strides.

O’Meara said: “He’s not getting any younger – he’s rising nine. To come out here and give a penalty away to all these is brilliant.

“We came here last year and finished fifth and felt we had a bit of unfinished business. We got behind a little bit and in a steadily-run race it was won off the front.

“Today there was a lot of talk it was going to be well-run, which we were delighted to hear.

“Coming abroad and winning any big race is brilliant. Coming out here is class.”

David O’Meara was thrilled by the victory of Lord Glitters
David O’Meara was thrilled by the victory of Lord Glitters (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

He added: “He is a fantastic horse; I might have been quoted in the past saying that he is a horse of a lifetime and I think he is for us.

“He did well in Dubai last year and that is the plan again if he comes out of this race well. The Saudi Cup meeting is an option now so we will bring him home and see how he is and start planning for that.”

The trainer was also keen to praise Watson’s part in the victory, saying: “Jason is a hell of a talent. He’s substituting for Danny (Tudhope) today, who is off injured, and he’s done a fantastic job.”

Jason Watson steered Lord Glitters to victory
Jason Watson steered Lord Glitters to victory (John Walton/PA)

Watson said: “I came out here with a lot of nerves. I wouldn’t call myself a nervous rider or someone who gets too worried about big days, but this horse is so important to the yard back home and to David and the connections.

“To ride a champion like him, and now to go and win on him, is just an honour really.

“There was always going to a lot of pace in the race, which was always going to suit us.

“Fair play to the horse – I couldn’t have asked him to do any more.”

PJA expresses dismay at Watson punishment

Jason Watson and the Professional Jockeys Association were left disappointed after the rider’s controversial seven-day riding suspension was reduced to only five days on appeal on Thursday.

Watson spoke on social media of his frustration with the punishment when it was handed out by the stewards at Nottingham, after his ride on the Roger Charlton-trained Noisy Night earlier this month.

Making his debut, the Night Of Thunder colt had veered sharply on leaving the stalls, losing many lengths.

Watson said at the time he had simply looked after his mount as he had lost all chance and felt “victimised” by the stewards’ decision, with the officials ruling the rider was guilty of “failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure Noisy Night was given full opportunity to obtain the best possible placing”.

In a statement following the appeal heard by an independent disciplinary panel, PJA chief executive Paul Struthers said: “We are bitterly disappointed to have lost Jason’s appeal and struggle to understand the decision.

“What does the BHA and the panel say Jason should have done? Did he need to ride hands and heels for half a furlong? A furlong? All the way to the line? Did he need to ride more vigorously than hands and heels?

“We are concerned that the BHA and the judicial panel are applying the rules with their focus on integrity, in circumstances where in Jason’s case everyone agreed he acted in good faith. This was not a ride where integrity was an issue.

“They are also ignoring the myriad shades of grey that exist within racing. Jason’s chance had gone before the race had begun and he then acted in the best interests of the horse. After today’s ruling, how does the judicial panel and BHA say a jockey may act in the best interests of the horse?

“A reduction of a suspension from seven to five days still represents a working week where Jason will be deprived of the chance to earn his living.”

Struthers added: “We referred the panel to a race that had taken place at Newbury three days before the race at Nottingham. Jason rode a two-year-old in that race who caused problems immediately after the start and was subsequently ridden in an almost identical manner.

“The stewards at Newbury did not find him in breach, yet the Nottingham stewards did, even though he was beaten almost twice as far.

“What are jockeys supposed to make of that?”

Nymphadora shows plenty of dash to strike at York

Nymphadora claimed a clear-cut victory in the Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes at York.

Sixth behind the exciting Desert Dreamer on her racecourse debut at Newmarket last month, Andrew Balding’s juvenile was a 13-2 chance as she stepped up to Listed class on the Knavesmire.

Jason Watson’s mount moved to the front passing the two-furlong marker and while several challengers attempted to reel her in, the daughter of No Nay Never refused to yield and passed the post with a length and a quarter in hand.

Canonized filled the runner-up spot, with 7-2 favourite Crazyland close-up behind in third.

Paddy Power quote Nymphadora at 8-1 for the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.

Watson said: “She showed ability on her first run and that day she kind of jumped slow and ended up leading the race.

“She’s come on plenty for that today, she travelled like a real star.

“She got to the front and was looking around her, obviously still a bit green with it being her second run.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if she did a stay a bit further, there’s obviously a bit more in the tank.

“She’s obviously shown she can do it over five (furlongs) today, she’s not short of speed.

“Maybe with a bit more time she can go over six, it’ll be interesting to see what she can do – she gave me a really nice feel.”

Balding’s wife, Anna Lisa, added: “She’s always shown plenty at home, at Newmarket she showed her pace and she’s built on that today.”

Surrey Pride (left) on his way to victory at York
Surrey Pride (left) on his way to victory at York (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Joe Tuite-trained Surrey Pride made a successful return to action in the Matchbook ‘Best Value’ Exchange Handicap.

Making his first appearance since finishing seventh in the November Handicap at Doncaster, the 5-1 shot got the better of Makram by a length and a quarter in the hands of James Doyle.

Tuite said: “He stuck to his guns, James was pretty impressed with him.

“He’s a horse we’ve always liked a lot, but we didn’t quite get to where we wanted to go last year.

“There’s Ascot, there’s lots of options now, including possibly coming back here in July for the John Smith’s Cup.”

Boardman (yellow) was much too good for his rivals
Boardman (yellow) was much too good for his rivals (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Boardman obliged as the 7-2 favourite in the Jigsaw Sports Branding Handicap for Tim Easterby and David Allan.

The five-year-old was a winner at Haydock just last week, and followed that victory with another over the same seven-furlong trip when easily cutting through the field of 18 with a furlong and a half left to travel.

Piloted by David Allan, the Kingman gelding defied a 5lb penalty to cross the line a comfortable three and half lengths ahead of 18-1 chance Danielsflyer.

“He’s a very nice horse,” Easterby said.

“He was very hot when he came to us, but we’ve transferred him to our hill gallop now and he’s settled like a baby.

“We bought him to go to Chester because that’s where the owners are from, so if there’s a good race there that’s where he’ll go, but they’re happy to come to York.”

Bedford Flyer (6-1) secured top honours in the Yorkshire Equine Practice Handicap, getting the better of Nomadic Empire by a length under Lewis Edmunds.

Trainer Les Eyre said: “He’s quick. We’ll go back and have a look (at the programme book), we’ve no particular plans.

“We have dreams, but we’ll keep them in the cupboard for the time being!

“He’s an easy horse to train. I’d love to claim a bit of credit for him, but really he does it all himself.

“I think if you try to mess around with him, drop him in or do this that and the other, it doesn’t work. It’s a matter of get him out, hands down and he does the rest.”

Axana lifts Chartwell prize for Andreas Wohler

German raider Axana proved too strong for the British contingent in the Novibet Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield.

A dual winner at Group Three level in her homeland two seasons ago, the five-year-old failed to add to her tally in 2020, but made a successful start to the current campaign in a Listed event at Hoppegarten last month.

With likely favourite Double Or Bubble a late withdrawal on account of the rain-softened ground, Andreas Wohler’s charge was a 4-1 shot in the hands of Jason Watson and travelled strongly towards the head of affairs throughout.

Axana did drift slightly right under pressure inside the final furlong, briefly impeding eventual runner-up Bounce The Blues.

The stewards did call an inquiry into possible interference, but with Watson’s mount ultimately well on top as she passed the post with three-quarters of a length in hand, the placings remained unaltered.

Wohler said: “She’s a good filly and Jason gave her a good ride.

“She had some issues last year, which is why she had a short season.

“This year everything was right, she came back in the correct style, so we were hopeful for today.

“We will see if we can find another race for her in England or France. We’ll see how the filly is and discuss it with connections.

“It’s not easy to bring a runner over to England, especially at this time, so I’m very pleased.”

Great White Shark snaps up Cesarewitch prize

Great White Shark secured the most significant success of her career to provide trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Jason Watson with back-to-back victories in the Together For Racing International Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket.

Having teamed up to take the race prestigious two-and-a-quarter-mile prize 12 months ago with Stratum, the pair combined to good effect once again as the well-supported 9-2 favourite made light work of testing conditions.

Buried among runners for much of the contest, the grey mare, who finished 10th in last year’s race, steadily worked her way between rivals before being produced by Watson to mount a challenge approaching the final quarter of a mile.

As those around her toiled, Great White Shark galloped on in resolute fashion to defeat top-weight Summer Moon by three lengths and complete a hat-trick of wins in the race for Closutton handler Mullins.

Watson said: “I couldn’t go early on in the race. It’s always tough as everyone is trying to get in a position they want to be in and I was a bit worried I was a bit too far back. There was so many horses in front of me I wasn’t too sure where I was.

“I spoke to the boys back home in Ireland, Willie and Paul Townend, and they just said keep her travelling as she loves being pushed along into the bridle and passing horses. They said keep her where she is happy as she will stay all day, and you know coming from Willie Mullins they will be fit and go through this ground and I had the horse for it.”

Though Great White Shark had plenty on her plate with half a mile of the contest remaining, Watson was confident his mount was always doing enough.

He said: “I was off the bridle going into the four and it was quite a gruel and she hit a flat spot, but in the end I was the one going forward and though it was a long way from home I was confident I was going to get up and she finished off really impressively.

Great White Shark hits the front under Jason Watson and the race is over
Great White Shark hits the front under Jason Watson and the race is over (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“She didn’t have the nicest of runs last year, but she still managed to finish 10th running on. They were very confident with the weight she had today. She had a big chance on paper, but it’s a 34-runner field and you never know what is going to happen – I was grateful I had the luck.”

Although Watson has ridden for Mullins on numerous occasions in the past, he still feels privileged to get the call up.

He added: “It is always nice to ride in these big races as they are tough to win. I’m lucky to get on one for a big stable and have a good chance on a good horse.

“Willie is a top-class trainer, you don’t need me to tell you that, and when you ride them you know they are not going to be short on the day and that is what every jockey wants.”

Haggas launches double assault on Cambridgeshire

William Haggas has two runners in his bid to win the bet365 Cambridgeshire for the first time at Newmarket on Saturday.

Seven days on from combining to land the Ayr Gold Cup with Nahaarr, Haggas and in-form jockey Tom Marquand team up with Sinjaari, who won the John Smith’s Cup at York on his only previous start this season in mid-July.

Haggas also saddles Montatham, who reverts to handicap company under Jim Crowley after finishing second in a Listed contest at Sandown recently, however, Ilaraab, the scheduled mount of Cieren Fallon, does not run.

Haggas said: “It might be asking a bit much of Sinjaari to win a John Smith’s Cup and a Cambridgeshire, but he’s very well and I’m very happy with him.

“He’s down in trip so there’s always a concern, but there aren’t many options for these good handicappers – they can run in Listed races and win £15,000, or wait for big pots like this. They may as well run for the big money.

“Montatham is going up in trip a bit, but he will love the cut in the ground and he’s very well, he’s been running well all year.

“They’ve both got decent chances, but I’m not convinced they are drawn on the right side. You’d hope with two to be spread across the track, but they are in two (Montatham) and six (Sinjaari) and having walked the track, the draw could scupper them, but there’s nothing I can do about that.”

The Roger Charlton-trained Tempus bids to make it three from three for the year in the hands of Jason Watson.

A winner at Newbury in August on what was his first appearance in 10 months, the Kingman colt readily followed up at Ascot three weeks ago and carries a 4lb penalty for that victory as he goes in search of the hat-trick.

“He was a nice horse last season, but he has progressed really nicely,” said Watson.

Tempus (left) has been progressing nicely for Roger Charlton
Tempus (left) has been progressing nicely for Roger Charlton (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He had a long time off before running at Newbury and we were expecting him to need the run. He was mightily impressive at Ascot the last day and I believe he will come on for that again.

“My only concern would be the track as it is unique and not to the liking of every horse. That’s going to be the test for him as he has only really raced on nice, galloping tracks so far.

“I do think he has the class to hopefully overcome that. To me, he still has improvement left in him and the more rain that falls, the more it will help him.”

Ralph Beckett believes the demands of the race will bring out the best in Lucander, who won three times last season and opened his account for the current campaign at York last month.

Beckett said: “It was a good effort to win at York and he seems to like these big-field handicaps.

“I was always keen on the idea of the Cambridgeshire for him. The nature of the race will suit him really well.”

Sir Busker was narrowly beaten by Montatham on his penultimate start at York, before chasing home Century Dream in the Group Two Celebration Mile at Goodwood.

William Knight’s stable star must carry 9st 11lb on his return to a handicap, but connections are nevertheless hopeful he will run another big race.

Sam Hoskins, racing manager for owner Kennett Valley Thoroughbreds, said: “We’re really pleased with him at home and he’s a big horse, so he should be able to carry the weight.

Sir Busker won the Silver Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot
Sir Busker won the Silver Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“Obviously there are a lot of young improvers who we’ll have to give weight to. We’re hopefully weighted to reverse placings with Montatham from their York form. Sir Busker has since run second in a Group Two, and Montatham was second at Sandown.

“He’s in great form. It’s a big task to try to win such a prestigious handicap off a mark of 111, but you never know. He’s a highly progressive horse and we’ll keep our fingers crossed – he’ll love the fast pace.”

Other hopefuls include Roger Varian’s Fifth Position, the Andrew Balding-trained Bell Rock and Al Rufaa from John Gosden’s yard.

Of the latter, Frankie Dettori told his Sporting Index blog: “I’ve won the Cambridgeshire three times and all three times I think I had Group horses in Halling, Wissahickon and Lord North.

“We don’t know if Al Ruffa is quite as good as those yet, but I certainly hope so. He’s a three-year-old who could improve further, but he’s got plenty of weight for what he’s done so far.

“He didn’t give his best running last time and it’s a wide-open race, but he’s still lightly-raced so fingers crossed.

“We’re drawn 22 and hopefully that’s the side that’s up with the pace, because sometimes you can win your half of the race and still finish 10 lengths behind!”

La Barrosa moves up in class at Newmarket

Impressive Ascot scorer La Barrosa tests the water at Group Three level in the Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.

The Lope De Vega colt made a big impression on his racecourse introduction three weeks ago – showing a smart change of gear to leave his rivals, which included Enable’s half-brother Derab, trailing in his wake.

Trainer Charlie Appleby immediately identified Thursday’s seven-furlong contest as a suitable target for La Barrosa, and he will be widely-expected to dispatch five rivals on the Rowley Mile.

Appleby told www.godolphin.com: “La Barrosa produced a very pleasing debut at Ascot and has come out of the race well.

“We felt that he has shown us enough to merit the step up to Pattern company and this should tell us more about his future.”

His highest-rated opponent is the Richard Hannon-trained Ventura Tormenta, who carries a 5lb penalty for winning the Prix Robert Papin at Chantilly in July.

Since that summer triumph in France, the son of Acclamation has finished last of 10 runners in the Phoenix Stakes in Ireland and sixth in the Flying Childers at Doncaster.

Hannon said: “We’ve gone up and down in trip with him a bit, but the guys that ride him think that this trip is what he wants.

“He was the last off the bridle over seven furlongs in a Group Two on the July Course (finished fifth in Superlative Stakes), so let’s hope we have made the right decision.

“I hope the ground isn’t too soft. He has been busy all season and he ran a good race last time out at Doncaster.”

Yazaman would not be winning out of turn for William Haggas, having filled the runner-up in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot, the July Stakes at Newmarket, the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood and in a valuable sales race at Doncaster this season.

Qaader (Mark Johnston), Dark Lion (Roger Varian) and Albadri (Jane Chapple-Hyam) complete the sextet.

Six runners are also set to go to post for the Jockey Club Rose Bowl Stakes, which Roger Charlton’s stable stalwart Withhold is bidding to win for the second season running under Jason Watson.

The seven-year-old won a Listed prize on the July Course earlier this year and was last seen finishing second to Trueshan in a conditions event at Salisbury.

“He has dropped in and out of form this season – but as he has got older, he has got wiser,” said Watson.

“He has not been straightforward throughout his career, because he had little injuries and breaks. It was nice to see him run like he did at Salisbury the last day – giving weight away to all bar one.

“I know that was a drop in grade, but it showed that he is still willing to give it a go – and he was only beaten by a progressive, young stayer.

“It isn’t a big field and if we can get out in front and lob along, I think he will run a good race again.

“It really depends which Withhold turns up on the day.”

The standard is set by Johnston’s Mildenberger, who makes his first competitive appearance since being touched off by high-class stablemate Nayef Road in the Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle in early June.

Ghostwatch (Appleby), Ranch Hand (Andrew Balding), Sleeping Lion (James Fanshawe) and Who What When (Murty McGrath) are the other hopefuls.