Tag Archive for: Jim Crowley

Crowley raring to go with Turf hope Mostahdaf

Jim Crowley is feeling “very confident” about Mostahdaf’s chances in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained five-year-old is poised for what is likely to be his final outing at Santa Anita before he embarks on a career at stud.

His services will surely be well sought after given his most recent performances have been career bests, in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and Juddmonte International, two of the most prestigious 10-furlong races anywhere in the world.

Mostahdaf (centre) beat Paddington (left) and Nashwa at York
Mostahdaf (centre) beat Paddington (left) and Nashwa at York (Mike Egerton/PA)

He was due to run in the Champion Stakes at Ascot two weeks ago, but after John Gosden initially gave him the go-ahead having walked the track, a downpour mid-afternoon meant he did not race and was rerouted to America.

Crowley was not on board for his most recent outing at York as he was serving a whip suspension, with Frankie Dettori stepping in. And there is little doubt he is very excited about being reunited.

“The first time I’ve sat on him here was this morning and I’m very happy with the way he felt. He moved great in an easy canter for a circuit. He will probably go a little bit quicker tomorrow,” said Crowley.

“He was very well behaved and behaves himself better when he’s abroad than at home.

“He has plenty of pace, and you can park him up anywhere. I’m very confident.”

Crowley hoping sun will shine on Champion Stakes run for Mostahdaf

Jim Crowley is banking on reports of an imminent heatwave proving accurate to enable Mostahdaf to take his chance in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 21.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained five-year-old has taken his form to a completely different level this season, winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and ending Paddington’s winning sequence in the Juddmonte International at York.

The next logical step for a horse excelling over 10 furlongs would be the Champion Stakes, but his connections have been cautious to make too firm a plan given his liking for good ground.

They do have the Breeders’ Cup Turf in reserve, but that would mean stepping back up to a mile and a half so Crowley would love the weather forecasters’ predictions of a dry week leading into Champions Day to prove correct.

Frankie Dettori stepped in for a suspended Jim Crowley at York as Mostahdaf beat Paddington (left) and Nashwa (right)
Frankie Dettori stepped in for a suspended Jim Crowley at York as Mostahdaf beat Paddington (left) and Nashwa (right) (Mike Egerton/PA)

“If the ground is nice I’m sure he will take his chance,” he told Sky Sports Racing.

“The weather can change in between now and then but he’d go on good to soft, he has done in the past.

“I think if it came up very testing then he might reroute to a Breeders’ Cup or something, so that’s in the pipeline, but we’d love to get him there (Ascot) on good ground because it’s a great race and it would suit him, obviously, as a course and distance winner. It’s a very important race.

“We’ll take one step at a time and see if he goes to Ascot first, but that would be exciting if he went to America. It would be over a mile and a half, but he’s won over that distance and it’s over a tight two turns.

“He won out in Saudi and that is a similar sort of tight track to Santa Anita and he loves fast ground, so he’s got options and it’s great he’s been able to show us this season how good he really is.”

Al Aasy produced to perfection for Rose of Lancaster honours

Al Aasy lunged late to secure a last-gasp victory in the Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock.

Beaten only a neck by Pyledriver in the 2021 Coronation Cup at Epsom, the William Haggas-trained six-year-old has since been gelded and an Ascot Listed win was his only appearance of last season.

He was tailed off on his return to action at Newmarket, but bounced back to winning ways at Newbury three weeks later and he was a 6-5 favourite to follow up at Group Three level on Merseyside.

Ridden by Jim Crowley, Al Aasy was settled at the rear of the field for much of 10-furlong journey before being produced with a withering late run.

He had had to dig deep in the closing stages to reel in El Drama, but got up in the dying strides to prevail by a neck. Midnight Mile was almost three lengths further back in third.

Maureen Haggas, assistant to her husband, said: “He was good today, both horse and jockey were good. Jim said he was cool throughout and it just fell apart in front of him a bit, so the horse had to work. To his credit he did and he got there.

Maureen Haggas was pleased with Al Aasy's performance
Maureen Haggas was pleased with Al Aasy’s performance (Mike Egerton/PA)

“He’s had his ups and downs, but he’s always been a talented horse and I think bringing him back to a mile and a quarter has been a good thing. He travels through the race well and he really looked like he was enjoying himself today.

“He’s been perhaps unfairly criticised, but since we’ve had him gelded we’ve never really classed him as ungenuine. He’s been a bit unfortunate once or twice, though before he was gelded he was definitely thinking about other things and since it has helped him.

“Next steps are for William to work out. He’s won Group Three races before and he’s been competitive at Group One level before and although he’s old he’s a bit like Hamish in that he hasn’t got many miles on the clock.”

Al Husn upsets Nashwa and Blue Rose Cen in Nassau Stakes

Al Husn upset Blue Rose Cen and Nashwa to lift the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

Christopher Head’s Blue Rose Cen was the 10-11 favourite to add to her Classic wins on home soil in the French 1000 Guineas and French Oaks, with last year’s Nassau heroine Nashwa rated her main threat.

Above The Curve, trained by Joseph O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore, made much of the running and it was from the cut-away in the home straight that drama began to unfold.

French jockey Aurelien Lemaitre, riding at Goodwood for the first time, went for a gap on the far rail aboard Blue Rose Cen, but it was firmly and swiftly slammed in his face by Moore, leaving the market leader all dressed up with nowhere to go in behind.

Hollie Doyle, meanwhile, kept out of trouble aboard Nashwa and she looked likely to follow up her latest Group One triumph in last month’s Falmouth Stakes after quickening up smartly to move to the heels of the leaders.

But her effort flattened in the final furlong, and she was unable to get by the front-running Above The Curve, with Roger Varian’s Al Husn, who beat Nashwa in a Group Three at Newcastle on her most recent outing, also in there pitching.

Ridden by Jim Crowley, Al Husn knuckled down to beat Above The Curve by half a length, with Nashwa the same distance further back in third and Blue Rose Cen close behind her in fourth.

The victory was the latest in a rollercoaster few days for Crowley, after receiving a 20-day suspension and £10,000 following his winning ride aboard Hukum in the same colours in last weekend’s King George at Ascot.

Jim Crowley celebrates winning the Nassau Stakes aboard Al Husn
Jim Crowley celebrates winning the Nassau Stakes aboard Al Husn (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“She’s not a big filly but she’s all heart – she tries so hard,” said the jockey.

“I was very fortunate with the way the race panned out. We had a kind draw and when Ryan went on to make the running, it was the obvious thing to do to sit second and I was effectively in a bit of a pocket on the inside, so I had to be a bit careful with that

“I knew Nashwa was going to come at some point. Two out she stuck her neck down and really battled and really wanted it, which was great.

“Roger’s done a fantastic job with her and she’s just kept on improving all season.”

Varian said: “She’s a remarkable filly, I think she’s won seven of her last eight now. The truth is that none of us really knew how good she was, she’s one of those that just beats what’s in front of her.

“She’s never particularly flashy but she’s got such an admirable attitude and she’s tough. We thought we’d come here and run very well, I’m delighted Sheikha Hissa is here to have a Group One winner with a homebred filly like this – it’s fantastic.

“It’s a fantastic race, it’s steeped in prestige and history. It’s one of the magical races for fillies to win, it’ll be forever in her stud book and hopefully when she’s done racing she can go back to the farm and be a broodmare.”

Roger Varian and Jim Crowley lift the Nassau Stakes trophy
Roger Varian and Jim Crowley lift the Nassau Stakes trophy (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Considering future plans, the trainer added: “She’s well entered up – she’s in the Prix Jean Romanet in Deauville, she’s in the Yorkshire Oaks over a mile and a half, though I’m not sure about that, and later in the year races like the Prix de l’Opera I’m sure will be considered. Who knows, perhaps we’ll look at the Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita (Breeders’ Cup).

“We trained her mum, Hadaatha, who was third in the Prix de l’Opera, and always had faith that Hadaatha would breed a good one.

“You never know, really, if they can perform on the big stage. The majority of them can’t but when you find one that can it is very satisfying.”

Jim Crowley banned for 20 days and fined £10,000 for Hukum ride

Jim Crowley has been banned for 20 days and fined £10,000 for his winning ride aboard Hukum in Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Both Crowley and Rob Hornby, who finished second aboard Westover, were referred to the British Horseracing Authority’s Whip Review Committee following a duel to the line in the midsummer highlight, with Hukum prevailing by a head.

Flat riders are allowed to use their whip six times in a race, with a four-day ban for going one over the limit and seven days for going two over. Crowley used his whip nine times, which incurs a 10-day ban and is doubled for a class one race.

Had Crowley used his whip four times over the limit then Hukum would have been disqualified.

Westover (left) and Hukum fought out a thrilling finish to the King George
Westover (left) and Hukum fought out a thrilling finish to the King George (Adam Davy/PA)

The rider will be banned August 15-21 and August 23 – September 4, meaning he misses the Ebor meeting at York, where he was due to ride runaway Prince of Wales’s Stakes winner Mostahdaf in the Juddmonte International. He also received the substantial fine due to the class and value of the race.

On Monday the whip rules were tweaked once more by the BHA following a six-month review period and while the changes would not have affected Crowley’s punishment due to the severity of his offence, Hornby has benefitted from the revisions.

He used his whip once above the permitted level, but given he has had more than 200 rides in Britain since his last whip offence, his initial ban was cut to two days. However, that is then doubled due to the calibre of race, meaning he will be out of action for four days (August 15-18 inclusive).

Had the rules not been changed 24 hours previously, Hornby would have had an eight-day suspension imposed.

Crowley had anticipated a significant punishment, but felt the penalty was “severe”.

He said: “I’m extremely disappointed, obviously I had an inkling it was coming so I prepared myself. I can’t change it, I’ve got to get on with it.

“I don’t think anything untoward has happened to those horses in any way, it was a brilliant race. I used my whip in a very correct manner, how I’ve been brought up to use it.

“I gave the horse time to respond, we never used it in any incorrect place or at shoulder height or anything like that. Unfortunately it’s not something I was aware that I’d done, and neither was Rob.

“It’s very difficult to count in that scenario. If you’re in a men’s final playing tennis, you’re concentrating on everything else and not counting in your head.

“Rules are rules but it’s very severe, I can’t change it. It is what it is.”

When asked if he would consider an appeal, Crowley said: “I haven’t had chance to discuss it with anybody yet, I found out 10 minutes ago so I’ll let it sink in.

“Although I broke the rules and I wasn’t aware I broke the rules, I didn’t think it was a problem watching the race. The horse’s welfare always comes first and to me that wasn’t a problem.

“I think they’ve been very severe and ruled with an iron fist, they don’t want the win-at-all cost races. Jockeys aren’t aware they’re doing it, that’s the problem.

“When you’re in a finish you are aware that you need to be careful, but you cannot physically count. You’re trying to keep your horse straight – if those horses had touched, if there had been any interference in anyway, one of them would have got chucked out.

“You’re trying to keep your horse straight, you’re in a rhythm with the horse. Both of us were unaware pulling up, which tells you that we didn’t think we’d gone over the limit.

“It’s very unfortunate but it shouldn’t take away from a brilliant race and a fantastic horse. I hope this doesn’t overshadow that.”

Hornby echoed those sentiments and admitted he did not initially think he had contravened the rules.

He said: “I wasn’t aware on the day, not at all. In fact I was kicking myself as I thought I’d only done five (strokes) – that shows what my counting is like in that situation.

“I’m sure Jim is the same. It’s a shame that it has cast a shadow over such a brilliant race, it should be remembered for two great horses.”

Rob Hornby will miss four days through suspension
Rob Hornby will miss four days through suspension (Mike Egerton/PA)

A spokesperson for the BHA underlined the rarity of such a sizeable ban resulting from a headline contest, but also pointed out the aim of the revised rules was to deter such use of the whip.

They said: “The use of the whip in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes was not reflective of the riding we have generally seen in major races since the introduction of the new rules. For example, the Cheltenham, Aintree, Epsom and Royal Ascot meetings have all taken place this year without a single rider using the whip above the permitted level on a winning ride.

“Specific thresholds for whip use is now standard policy amongst most major racing nations, including all of our nearest neighbours.

“On Saturday the whip was used three times above the permitted level on the winner, for which there is very little justification.

“It is to deter whip use like this that strict penalties are in place, especially in major races.

“They are designed not only to safeguard the perception of the sport, but also maintain fairness in close finishes, encouraging riders to stay within the rules, in the interest of the betting public and fellow riders.”

Crowley shoulders ‘huge punishment’ for winning ride on Hukum

Jim Crowley is set to miss the ride on Mostahdaf at York after picking up what is believed to be a significant suspension for his winning ride on Hukum in Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Crowley and Westover’s jockey Rob Hornby, who finished second, were both referred to the British Horseracing Authority’s Whip Review Committee in the wake of what was unforgettable finish to the midsummer showpiece.

Flat riders are allowed to use their whip six times in a race, with a four-day ban for going one over the limit and seven days for going two over. Crowley reportedly used his whip nine times, which incurs a 10-day ban and is doubled for a class one race.

Had Crowley used his whip four times over the limit then Hukum would have been disqualified.

The punishment is doubled-edged for Crowley as he was due to ride runaway Prince of Wales’s Stakes winner Mostahdaf in the Juddmonte International at the Ebor meeting.

On Monday the whip rules were tweaked once more by the BHA following a six-month review period, but the changes would not have affected Crowley’s punishment due to the severity of his offence.

Speaking to ITV Racing before any official publication of the committee’s findings, Crowley said: “It’s a huge punishment. I spoke to Rob and neither of us knew we had gone over.

“I had absolutely no idea. When we go out we are aware of the whip rules and aware of the severity of them.

“In the finish we are both thinking, ‘don’t go over’, as one thing and secondly you are trying to keep the momentum of your horse, you can’t cause any interference as a slight bump and you could get chucked out. You are trying to stay in rhythm with the horse and you are really in the zone.

“That is not to say you are not thinking about the whip because you are, but it is very difficult to be counting the strokes when you are in that scenario. It’s not a win-at-all costs ride, but it is so difficult, until you are in that situation yourself – it is hard to explain.

“Neither of us were aware we’d gone over, that’s the worrying thing. We got back to the weighing room and got a tap on the shoulder and straight away a feeling of dread comes over you.

Jim Crowley at Ascot
Jim Crowley at Ascot (Adam Davy/PA)

“Imagine a tennis player in the Wimbledon final, you are not counting numbers in your head – it’s very difficult.

“The rules are the rules. Does the punishment fit the crime? I don’t think so, but I would say that. It’s going to be a tough pill to swallow.

“Some jockeys were consulted about the rules, there’s a bit of a stigma about that, but I can guarantee you know there isn’t a jockey in that weighing room who agrees with the rules.

“Neither jockey went out there to win at all costs. It was a mistake, it’s very unfortunate. He’s my favourite horse, it’s a shame it’s worked out this way.”

Ralph Beckett, the trainer of Westover, said: “I think once you put a finite number on it, you run into more problems than you solve and that is where we are now, we’ve created more problems than we’ve solved.

“Westover is fine, he bounced out of it and if I showed you a video you’d say he was ready to go again.”

Crowley hails ‘special’ race as Hukum takes King George title

Sport does not always scale the heights anticipated. Yet inarguably, with toes hanging off the edge, this King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes offered an epic view.

One wishes more dare scale the steep, magnificent Ascot grandstand steps to witness such an incredible spectacle of rippling thoroughbred power.

On such occasions, one has a vague idea of what will unfold before the eyes. This was refreshingly different, there was not an inkling what to expect from either racegoers or participants.

“No-one is ducking it,” Hukum’s jockey Jim Crowley succinctly put it beforehand, “which means everyone fancied their chances.”

None more so than him, as it turned out.

This season’s search for such a clash of the crème de la crème had reached the rainbow’s end, for this was as close to nirvana as a horse race gets.

There had been very little swinging and missing. Emily Upjohn had won the Coronation, with runner-up Westover subsequently taking the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

Reigning champion Pyledriver had scored with ease on his belated comeback in the Hardwicke, dual Derby winner Auguste Rodin had only been luckless in the 2000 Guineas, and the other young pretender, King Of Steel, had gained compensation for a narrow Epsom defeat by taking the King Edward VII over course and distance. Luxembourg had a Tattersalls Gold Cup in the locker.

All in good form. Connections, to a man, hopeful if not confident, even given the unseasonably good to soft ground.

Hukum is welcomed in by Shadwell owner Sheika Hissa (Simon Milham/PA)

Superlatives are dangerous things, often inviting contradiction and sometimes scorn. Yet from overture to curtain, what unfolded was a drama for the ages, perhaps not quite on a par with Grundy and Bustino in 1975, yet ovation-worthy, nonetheless.

The bare result saw Hukum beat Westover by a head. King Of Steel was a further four and a half lengths back in third, with Auguste Rodin beaten before the race got started, suggesting something more than the ground was amiss.

Crowley had tasted some extraordinary moments with Hukum’s full brother Baaeed. Yet after a monumental battle with the doughty Westover for the last two furlongs, Rob Hornby’s mount matching the six-year-old blow for lung-busting blow, and having come out on top, the victor knew he had been part of another historic race.

“This was special,” said Crowley. “It was a great race to be part of. I knew going into the race, I wouldn’t swap him – and every jockey in the race said the same about their horse.

“Hence why everybody turned up as we all thought we could win.

“It was amazing, really. Both myself, the horse, Rob Hornby and Westover, were giving it everything. The kitchen sink is thrown in those situations.

“It must have been exciting to watch. To come out on top, it was fantastic, probably the most enjoyable race I’ve ever won. It was a race for the ages – just fantastic.”

Crowley’s ride was masterful. There were plenty in with chances as they swung six abreast round the home turn tracking Pyledriver. While he had to be reminded, Hukum lengthened his stride with a sudden explosive power that is flat racing’s most exhilarating sight.

Pyledriver and King Of Steel both ran their races, but while Crowley was was happily deciding they were beaten, he knew with greater certainty that once Westover had almost drawn upsides, the game could well have been up.

Yet the former champion has been here before and once Westover had served it up, Hukum had locked on to the task in hand and knocked it out of the park.

“The ground had dried out more than I was hoping for, but he is not essentially a soft-ground horse – he just likes good ground,” Crowley added.

“He missed the Hardwicke, which was good to firm and that was a good decision.

“He is just a very good horse who is getting better with age. He is finally coming out of his brother’s shadow now.

“He is just hard as nails, he is chilled, walks round the paddock like he owns the place – he’s a real dude.

“In some ways he’s flown under the radar, as he is a six-year-old, who has just won that one Group One, but if you go through his form, he hasn’t finished out the first three many times. He is a proper, tough horse.”

Hukum will likely be given a break, before being brought back for ParisLongchamp.

“You’d have to say the obvious race would be the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe now,” said Crowley. “He would get his conditions there and you always need a bit of luck round there – a low draw is very important. But let’s enjoy today – this was special.”

His victims offered no excuses, this was just a rare and precious thing – an entirely satisfactory all-aged midsummer highlight, won by the best horse and a great rider. This was as good as it gets.

Hukum pips Westover in King George thriller

Hukum edged out Westover in a pulsating renewal of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes.

A field of 10 runners went to post for the Ascot’s midsummer highlight and the mile-and-a-half contest was rightly billed as the race of the season so far.

Last year’s Coronation Cup hero Hukum was a 13-2 shot after returning from injury to see off the 2022 Derby hero Desert Crown in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown in May.

Always travelling well in the middle of the pack under Jim Crowley, the six-year-old moved up to challenge Westover for the lead passing the two-furlong marker and the pair settled down to fight it out from there.

No quarter was given by either horse or jockey, but it was the Owen Burrows-trained Hukum who just found most for pressure to win a race for the ages by a head.

King Of Steel was best of the rest in third ahead of Luxembourg in fourth and the defending champion Pyledriver in fifth.

The disappointment of the race was dual Derby winner Auguste Rodin. The 9-4 favourite was trapped wide throughout, came under pressure racing down the back straight and weakened quickly before being eased right down by Ryan Moore, eventually passing the post in last place.

Burrows said: “I’m just speechless. He’s an absolute star, isn’t he.

“It is a big team effort – I have a great team behind me. My head lad rides him every day, John Lake.

“To be honest, we felt he has never been better, this season for whatever reason, he’s shown a lot more speed. But what a tough horse – and he had to be, because the second didn’t lay down, did he? He made us fight all the way.

“What a race. It lived up to its spectacle. I’m a bit hoarse from shouting.

“What can you say about him – he’s an absolute star. I can’t put into words what it means. I’m in my second season as a public trainer and we have a great team. The guys back at Shadwell rehabbed him after his injury at Epsom – huge credit to them.

“It was the type of injury that wouldn’t retire a horse, but he’d just won a Group One and he was five, so you think – hats off to Sheikha Hissa for giving him a chance.”

Hukum won the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2020
Hukum won the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2020 (Edward Whitaker/PA)

He added: “This horse has been a huge part of my career. He is my first Royal Ascot winner, first Group One winner and he won in Dubai when we first went out after the sad passing of Sheikh Hamdan, so to come back and so what he’s done is just amazing.”

Crowley said: “It was a performance of pure determination. The race went smoothly, I had a nice position, I got onto the back of Westover turning in and had to hope that something didn’t come from out of the pack because in fairness to the second, he didn’t lie down.

“Full credit to Sheikha Hissa because this horse could quite easily have gone off to stud after winning the Coronation Cup, being how he’s bred, but they decided to keep him in training and they’ve been rewarded.

“It’s a good training performance as well. This horse was off for a while, it was a brave decision not to run in the Hardwicke (at Royal Ascot last month) and it came to fruition today.

“It was the best King George on paper I’ve seen for a while and it was nice for him to win in the manner that he did.”

Aidan O’Brien was at a loss to explain Auguste Rodin’s effort, with the colt beaten a long way from home.

He said: “There are no excuses. Whatever happened, the power ran out and it ran out early.

“That is the unusual thing. The race wasn’t even started.

“He was calm in the paddock, we were very happy with him. There is obviously a reason and we’ll find it. It is frustrating, but that’s the way.”

Crowley thrilled to be heading for stellar King George on Hukum

Hukum’s jockey Jim Crowley is excited to be part of Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth II Qipco Stakes and hailed one of the deepest renewals in recent years as “great for the sport”.

The Group One Ascot showpiece looks set to feature Derby one-two Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel, last year’s Epsom hero Desert Crown, defending champion Pyledriver and the first two home from the Coronation Cup, Emily Upjohn and Westover among others.

The Owen Burrows-trained Hukum, who won last year’s Coronation Cup before injury sidelined him for a year, returned to defeat Desert Crown in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown in May.

With the ground currently described as good, good to soft in places at Ascot and rain forecast on Wednesday evening, connections of the Shadwell-owned Hukum are growing increasingly confident that the six-year-old will handle the white-hot opposition.

Crowley is happier when he lets his riding do the talking and the former champion jockey knows the quality of the opposition could not be higher.

“All I can say is that Hukum is in great form. It is a very, very good race – the best King George I’ve seen on paper for a long, long time, and it is great to be part of it,” he said.

“The horse is in great form going into the race and that is all we can ask for. If he is good enough, he is good enough.

“It is great to be part of it and great to be riding a horse with a chance in it.”

Hukum goes into the contest as the winner of six of his last eight races. The two defeats came by a head to Hamish in the September Stakes at Kempton in 2021 and by a length and three-quarters to Shahryar in the 2022 Dubai Sheema Classic.

After making a pleasing return at Sandown and following sustained support in recent days, he is now vying for favouritism with Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel with some bookmakers.

Crowley has ridden in most of the top races around the world, yet sees the mile and a half midsummer spectacular as one of the most eagerly-anticipated in recent times.

“I’m the same as all the other jockeys, really – it is going to be very exciting for a lot of people to watch and it is going to be very exciting to ride in it, but on the other hand, it is very important,” he said.

“It is great for the sport – it is what people want, isn’t it? It is our version of the Arc.

“No-one is ducking it, so that means everyone fancies their chances. It is when they don’t fancy their chances they start ducking it.”

Crowley added: “We are very happy with him and very respectful of the opposition, because it is a very good race. Any rain would not be a negative, it would be beneficial to him.”

Hukum’s connections will be content, with almost their ideal ground conditions on the cards.

Ascot’s clerk of the course Chris Stickels is expecting overnight rain into Thursday.

Speaking at 4pm on Wednesday, he said: “The going is good on the straight course, and good (good to soft in places) on the round course. We had two millimetres of rain on Monday and have not had any since.

“We are expecting rain this evening and through the night. The ground would be getting quicker as we speak – it would be getting close to good to firm now in places – but obviously it is going to rain, so, we won’t see that change. We are expecting between seven and 15 millimetres.

“Until we get the rain we don’t know what the going will be but 12 millimetres will probably make us good to soft.”

Jasour sweeps to impressive July Stakes success

Jasour came from last to first to put up a visually impressive display in winning the Kingdom Of Bahrain July Stakes at Newmarket.

Trained by Clive Cox, the son of Havana Grey was sent off a 16-1 chance on the back of victory at Nottingham last time out.

The well-fancied Purosangue attempted to make all under Ray Dawson but with two furlongs to run he had done the best of his running.

Norfolk Stakes runner-up Malc was under pressure from a long way out before staying on again.

Toca Madera made a bold bid for home, before Jim Crowley got a lovely split at just the right time on Jasour, who quickened up in taking fashion to put the race to bed in a matter of strides.

Lake Forest, a debut winner for William Haggas, was another to make ground from the rear but was beaten a comprehensive two lengths with a head back to Toca Madera.

Cox said: “Really pleased. He always gave us a lot of promise and we felt at home that dropping in behind was going to see a big improvement. He has just run in two races where nothing has been able to lead him early.

“Stepping up to six was a step into the unknown. He had to really settle and he did – beautifully. In a race of this class, it was magical to see him do that. I’m just so pleased, so happy, so proud of him.

“I’m so pleased for Sheikh Sultan. He’s a big supporter and following on behind Golden Horde – and sadly he missed that one winning at Royal Ascot – this is a really nice horse to have and a nice one to witness in person.”

He added: “We will go to the Richmond (Stakes, at Goodwood) from here. He will have an entry in the Prix Morny and we’ll see what’s what. The natural progression, everything is possible. He has a lovely mind and is very well behaved. He has been an absolute Christian to deal with.

“What is really pleasing is the stallion, Havana Grey, is producing three-year-olds as well, so we have every bit of confidence he will hopefully continue. He is clearly a very good two-year-old.

“He has won a Group Two now, so it will be front-foot all the way.”

Jockey Profiles: Best of the Rest

This is the fifth and final article in my series of articles on jockeys, writes Dave Renham. In this piece I will be looking at three more top jockeys trying to pinpoint their strongest stats, be it positive or negative. As with the previous four articles I have analysed the last eight full years of flat racing in the UK and Ireland (2015-2022). I have used the Geegeez Query Tool as well as the Profiler Tool, amongst other things. In all the tables the profits/losses quoted are to Industry SP, but I have shared Betfair Starting Price where appropriate. Let's start with last season's champion jockey...

William Buick Jockey Profile

William Buick became Godolphin’s first choice jockey in 2016 and hence it should come as no surprise that within a year his win strike rate soon began to edge up:



As we can see from 2017 onwards he has achieved yearly strike rates in excess of 20%, with 2022 being a particularly good year. His overall record reads as follows:



Buick backers incurred relatively modest losses to Industry SP when we look at all races as a whole. Considering he has had over 4000 rides this is quite impressive. To BSP, backing Buick ‘blind’, you would have made a profit of £317.71 (ROI +7.5%).

Let us now look at his performance for different trainers over this eight year period (minimum 100 rides):



Buick when teaming up with his boss, Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby, has secured a strike rate edging close to three wins in every ten rides. Not only that, they have combined to virtually break even to SP, with profits to BSP hitting £139.33 (ROI 9.6%). Indeed, to BSP they have secured profits in six of the last seven seasons. His record is less impressive when riding for the Gosden stable – a stable for whom he has been stable jockey in the past - with a modest strike rate of under 15% and poor returns.

One trainer not in the table due to the minimum ride stipulation is Sir Michael Stoute. Buick and Stoute do not team up that regularly, but when they do their record is excellent – 19 wins from 73 (SR 26%) for a profit of £42.07 (ROI +57.6%). To BSP profits that increases to £57.59 (ROI +78.9%). Their PRB figure is excellent also standing at 0.68.

One thing I like about Buick is that he is an excellent rider from the front. He wins on board virtually one ride in three when taking the early lead. Here are his win percentage splits for the four main run styles:



Buick follows the usual trend in that his front running rides win more often than his prominent ones which in turn out-perform mid div / hold up rides. For the record, at distances of 1m2f or less his front running strike rate stands at 35.1%; at 1m3f or longer it drops to 19.1%.

As regular readers will know, I like to look at favourite run style data, too, as this eliminates any potential selection bias regarding ‘good horses at the front, bad ones at the back’. Here are the relative win strike rates for Buick-ridden favourites in terms of the four main run styles:



Again, front running market leaders did best by some margin, while favourites that raced mid-division early had a very poor record: these runners would have lost you 26p for every £1 bet. Buick's record on held up favourites are a lot stronger than most jockeys, presumably because of the number of Godolphin horses able to outclass their opposition.

Before moving on, let us look at some additional statistics for the reigning champ:

  1. Buick has a great record at Newmarket from a significant number of rides. Specifically, he scored on 212 winners from 843 (SR 25.2%) for a BSP profit of £94.09 (ROI +11.2%). When riding for Charlie Appleby at HQ the record is even more impressive – 132 winners from 412 rides (SR 32%) for a BSP profit of £93.34 (ROI +22.7%).
  2. In contrast, at York his record reads 24 wins from 197 (SR 12.2%) for a BSP loss of £41.53 (ROI -21.1%).
  3. On 2yos Buick has won 25% of races returning a BSP return of 6p in the £.
  4. On 2yos having their second career start Buick has a strike rate of 1 in 3 and has returned a profit to BSP of just over 15 pence in the £.

Buick is a very good all round jockey who I am always happy to see riding a horse I fancy.


Jim Crowley Jockey Profile

Jim Crowley is a seasoned campaigner, and retained rider for the Shadwell operation, who is right up there when it comes to win rate. Here is his overall record going back to 2015:



These are excellent stats and backing all Crowley runners to BSP would have yielded a profit of £424.79 to £1 level stakes, equating to returns of nearly 8p in the £.

Crowley rides for numerous different trainers and there are 16 trainers for whom he has ridden more than 100 times. Here are their stats:



We see some very good stats here with seven of the 16 trainers showing a blind profit to Industry SP; and 11 trainers showing a profit to BSP.

Crowley has produced excellent results with horses from the top two in the betting when riding for Owen Burrows, William Haggas and the Gosden stable. All three have yielded good BSP returns on investment (Burrows +19.8%, Haggas +16% and the Gosden stable +8.6%).

In terms of courses, Crowley has ridden more than 100 times at 18 different venues. Here are the A/E indices at these tracks:



It is very impressive to note that eight courses have A/E indices in excess of 1.00 with Nottingham hitting a remarkable 1.57. His overall Nottingham stats are unsurprisingly outstanding – 43 wins from 131 rides (SR 32.8%) for an SP profit of £159.14 (ROI +121.5%). To BSP this improves to a profit of £186.86 (ROI +142.6%). His PRB course figure is also very strong standing at 0.65.

Here are a couple of stats for Crowley that are also worth sharing:

  1. He has an excellent record in very small fields. In races of five runners or fewer he has won 144 races from 410 rides (SR 35.1%) for a BSP profit of £130.46 (ROI +31.8%). He has made a profit to industry SP also of £84.64 (ROI +20.6%).
  2. On front runners he has performed especially well for trainers Charlie Hills and Owen Burrows. This is particularly true in races of 1 mile or less where Crowley hits the 34% win percentage mark for both trainers.

Crowley is hugely experienced and this shows in his stats.


Oisin Murphy Jockey Profile

Oisin Murphy was British Champion Jockey in 2019, 2020 and 2021. He did not race in 2022 as he was banned for two failed breath tests and breaking coronavirus rules but has resumed riding with a win percentage of 17.5% in 2023, slightly above his overall record as can be seen in the table below:



These are sound stats given Murphy has taken over 2000 more rides than Buick and 1000 more than Crowley, despite missing the whole of 2022! He clearly is a rider who does not have an issue with being busy. Like Crowley he has ridden 100 times or more for several trainers and here are the stats (ordered by strike rate):



Although he has not made a profit to SP when riding for Saeed bin Suroor, they are a combination to keep an eye on. The PRB of 0.70 is particularly high and, when betting to BSP, they have snuck into profit. Indeed to BSP, all bar Simcock and Williams have produced a profit with Oisin in the plate. Keeping with the BSP theme, if we combine all nine trainers, then Murphy has made a profit with them as a group in every year from 2015 to 2021. The combined yearly returns to BSP are shown in the graph below:



It is rare to get seven profitable years in a row when combining as many as nine different trainers.

There are four other trainers to keep an eye out for where Murphy has had less than 100 rides in each case. They are the Harry & Roger Charlton barn (10 wins from 32), Mick Appleby (16 wins from 66), John & Thady Gosden (31 wins from 84) and John Butler (8 wins from 21).

Murphy has a notably good record on 2yos with an overall strike rate in the review period of 17.4% thanks to 256 winners from 1473 runners. To Industry SP these runners yielded small losses of just under 4p in the £; to BSP, however, this turns into a profit of over 13 pence in the £. Here are three additional 2yo stats worth sharing:

  1. 2yos that have started in the top four of the betting have provided 226 wins from 971 runners (SR 23.3%) for a BSP profit of £92.32 (ROI +9.5%)
  2. For the Gosden stable he has had 14 2yo winners from just 39 runners (SR 35.9%) for a BSP profit of £12.08 (ROI +31.0%)
  3. 2yos that Murphy has taken into the lead early have won over 30% of their races. But...
  4. 2yos that were held up by Murphy have won just 8.4% of the time

Continuing with the run style theme, I have always liked Murphy from the front as an angle. Indeed, if your crystal ball was in mint condition and you had predicted pre-race all of Oisin's front runners in all races (not just 2yo ones), you would have been rewarded with an SP profit of £312.85 (ROI +30.9%). To BSP returns were nearer 45p in the £.

Looking at his run style record on favourites we see the same pattern we have seen numerous time before:



Front running favourites do best as is the norm and they would have been profitable to the tune of 12p in the £. Prominent racers would have seen you lose 2p in £, mid div 'jollies' lost 24p for every £1 bet, while hold ups lost 19p.


Here are some additional stats for Murphy, starting with two negative ones:

  1. Murphy has a poor record with very short priced runners. On horses priced 8/13 or shorter he has had 61 wins from 112 (SR 54.5%) for losses to Industry SP of £28.10 (ROI –25.1%)
  1. With big-priced runners his record is poor also. Horses priced 28/1 or bigger accounted for just four winners and nine placed runners from 337. Losses to Industry SP stood at £206.00 (ROI –61.1%). To BSP it improves a little but he still lost over 42p in the £
  1. Murphy has achieved a strike rate of 20% or more at five courses (with a minimum of 100 rides) – these are Chelmsford 20.1%, Newcastle 21.5%, Nottingham 20%, Salisbury 21.1% and Wolverhampton 20.5%. Four of the five have yielded blind profits to BSP (Wolverhampton being the only track that has not)
  1. When teaming up with Hughie Morrison at Nottingham they are 6 wins from just 13 runners. They have also had two seconds at 14/1 and 12/1. When riding at Lingfield for Archie Watson, Murphy is 12 wins from 35 (SR 34.3%) for a BSP profit of £11.80 (ROI +33.7%)

I really like Murphy as a jockey and I especially look for horses he is riding that may take the lead early.



Below is a summary of my key findings, firstly for William Buick:

  1. Buick has a good record riding for his boss Charlie Appleby, making a blind profit to BSP with a decent strike rate. He also has a good record when booked to ride for the Stoute stable
  2. He is outstanding from the front especially in races of ten furlongs or less.
  3. He has a very good record at Newmarket for all trainers, but especially with Appleby. At York his record is relatively poor.
  4. His record with 2yos is decent, with second starters doing particularly well.

Onto Jim Crowley now:

  1. Crowley has a strike rate of better than one win in four with four trainers (100 rides or more) – John & Thady Gosden, William Haggas, Roger Varian and Owen Burrows. Three of the four have yielded a profit to Industry SP
  2. He has an outstanding record when riding at Nottingham
  3. In small fields of five runners or less Crowley has been exceptional

And finally Oisin Murphy:

  1. Murphy has a good record with many trainers he rides regularly for.
  2. Harry & Roger Charlton, Mick Appleby, John & Thady Gosden, and John Butler are trainers he rides less often for but his record with all four is excellent.
  3. He goes well on 2yo runners.
  4. He is excellent when riding from the front.
  5. He has a relatively poor record with very short priced runners (8/13 or shorter); likewise with outsiders priced 28/1 or bigger.
  6. Two trainer/jockey course combinations to note are Murphy and Morrison at Nottingham, and Murphy and Watson at Lingfield.


So I have come to the end of this series on jockeys. Of course, I have barely scratched the surface as there are hundreds of riders I have not analysed at all. Most punters have favourite jockeys or indeed ‘lucky’ ones, but digging into the stats is a worthwhile use of all of our time. Building up a picture of strengths and weaknesses is important, and with Geegeez’s tools - especially the Profiler and Query Tool - it is not difficult to do or time consuming. In fact, it's fun!

Other jockeys you may want to look at in your own time include James Doyle, Andrea Atzeni, Jack Mitchell, Kevin Stott and Adam Kirby; or indeed whoever interests you. If you find anything noteworthy, feel free to comment below as it will help the Geegeez community. Until next time, when I'll be looking at something different, stay lucky.

- DR

Anmaat battles for Group One glory at ParisLongchamp

Anmaat secured his first Group One success when leading home a British one-two in the Prix d’Ispahan at ParisLongchamp.

The five-year-old progressed rapidly throughout an unbeaten 2022 which culminated in a Group Two success in the Prix Dollar at the same track on Arc weekend.

And following a pleasing return behind Adayar in the rearranged Gordon Richards Stakes at Newmarket, the Owen Burrows-trained runner showed his liking for the French capital once again on Monday afternoon.

Ridden with patience by Jim Crowley in the 10-furlong contest as David Simcock’s Light Infantry dictated terms on the front end from Joseph O’Brien’s Buckaroo, Anmaat was asked to go through the gears and deliver his challenge when angled out by his rider in the home straight.

But with Light Infantry and Buckaroo refusing to lie down, plus home contenders Erevann and Facteur Cheval quickening along with Anmaat, Burrows’ gelding had to pull out all the stops to claim gold in a fantastic five-way dash for the winning post, with Light Infantry holding on for the silver medal.

“He’s such a tough horse and it is very pleasing to keep his progression going,” said Burrows.

“I don’t think he has been out of the first three throughout his career and it’s a credit to him.

Trainer Owen Burrows has enjoyed a fine few days thanks to Hukum and Anmaat
Trainer Owen Burrows has enjoyed a fine few days thanks to Hukum and Anmaat (John Walton/PA)

“We were a little concerned going into today that the ground was plenty quick enough. I’m not saying things went wrong in the race, but we weren’t as far forward as we ideally hoped we would be and it turned into a bit of a sprint and like Jim said, they didn’t go overly quick.

“So he was sprinting and they were sprinting and he’s done well to pick them off you know. We just about got away with that today and we were thinking the ground would be a little slower than it was.”

Anmaat holds entries in both the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and Sandown’s Coral-Eclipse, but the Farncombe Down Stables handler is in no rush to pick out a new target following his successful raid on Paris – a win which completes a fine few days for the trainer following Hukum’s winning return in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown.

Burrows continued: “He’s in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and he’s in the Eclipse, but let’s get him home and see how he is after this and we’ll have a chat with the team and come up with a plan then.

“It’s been an amazing few days and I don’t think I’ll have many weeks like this. It’s a credit to the team at home to get Hukum back and to get this lad to keep progressing as he has.

“Four runs ago he was winning a John Smith’s Cup and then he has gone Group Three, Group Two, Group One which is a big big team effort.”

Mutasaabeq pointing towards Lockinge following Newmarket strike

Mutasaabeq began his season in the same fashion that he ended the last with a dominant display at Newmarket in the rearranged bet365 Mile.

Winner of the Joel Stakes when last seen, he was due to reappear at Sandown last week but when that race was lost to the weather, it was rescheduled for the Guineas meeting.

Trained by Charlie Hills, Mutasaabeq (4-1) was smartly away under Jim Crowley, with Irish Guineas winner Native Trail a little sluggish upon leaving the stalls.

That allowed Crowley to dictate matters and despite carrying a Group Two penalty for his Joel Stakes win, Mutasaabeq had matters under control from a long way out.

On meeting the rising ground Native Trail did start to make some inroads but was still beaten by three lengths.

The winner can still be backed at 14-1 for the Lockinge with Coral but Betfair were more impressed and cut him to 7-1.

Hills said: “He was supplemented for the Guineas as a three-year-old, so he’s always been a good horse.

“He’s got a good record here and I’m delighted with the way he’s put it to bed, especially given he had the penalty to carry as well today.

“The blinkers seem to have helped him and we’ll have to look at the Lockinge now, I suppose.

“He’s beautifully bred, being by Invincible Spirit out of Ghanaati, so that will have done him no harm today (winning a Group Two).

“It’s obviously a week shorter now than it would have been between this and the Lockinge, had it been run at Sandown, but I think he should be fine.”

Baaeed the world’s best on turf – and only Flightline ranked higher

Baaeed was crowned the world’s highest-rated turf horse at the the 2022 Longines World’s Best Racehorse Awards in London.

The William Haggas-trained superstar also finished second to the imperious Flightline in the overall standings and was handed a rating of 135 which is just 5lb shy of the 140 handed to Frankel in 2012, which makes Baaeed the best turf horse to set foot on a racecourse since Sir Henry Cecil’s unbeaten colt.

Although suffering his only defeat in his final racecourse appearance on Qipco British Champions Day, Baaeed captured the imagination by going unbeaten in his first 10 starts.

Having taken the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on his final start at three, it was Group One action all the way at four and having outlined his credentials to be the standout miler of his generation was tasked with proving so in the Queen Anne Stakes which kicked off Royal Ascot.

“I think before Ascot I was at my most nervous because it is the first race of such a prestigious meeting for us,” explained Haggas when asked about the experience of stewarding such a talent throughout his career.

“He was about 1-6 and everyone expected him to win and things can happen in horse racing.”

He continued: “Fortunately he did win and we’ve had a wonderful journey, much like the owners and trainer of Flightline – but we’ve had our own journey and it has been fantastic.

“I wish I could guarantee it would be repeated but I doubt it will.”

Baaeed received his rating of 135 after his performance in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York where the son of Sea The Stars replicated both his sire and Frankel by taking the 10-furlong event in style.

The man in the saddle that day and for the majority of Baaeed’s career was Jim Crowley, who went on to describe the feeling he got when sauntering to success on the Knavesmire.

He said: “It was an experience like I’ve never experienced before, it was like everything happened in slow motion.

“He was just a pleasure to ride, there was never a moment’s worry. When I could go between horses and just keep taking a pull and all season I had never really let the handbrake off. I always knew it was there so when I finally did let go, it was a great feeling.

“Just to hear the crowd clapping was unusual. Normally they cheer, but it was just applause and appreciation.”

Jockey Jim Crowley (left), with Sheikha Hissa Hamdan Al Maktoum and trainer William Haggas  following his winning ride on Baaeed in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood
Jockey Jim Crowley (left), with Sheikha Hissa Hamdan Al Maktoum and trainer William Haggas following his winning ride on Baaeed in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood (Steven Paston/PA)

A Shadwell homebred, Baaeed will now stand as a stallion at the operation’s Nunnery Stud and Richard Hills – a key member of the Shadwell team and closely associated with the horse’s preparations – looked back at his achievements with pride, while also highlighting the comfortable Queen Anne victory as the moment Baaeed fever really began to build.

“The most important thing for us was Royal Ascot,” said Hills. “Sheikha Hissa had never been to Royal Ascot before and we were the first race and nervous.

“Angus (Gold, racing manager) and I weren’t sure whether she should come down to the paddock and of course Baaeed, Jim and William did their stuff. Sheikha Hissa then got to lead the horse in which lifted us all and her.

“The journey started from there all the way through to York. We were very proud of him.”