I’ve been specific in giving details of the relevant races so that if you want to see them you can call them up on the Sporting Life, Racing Post or At The Races sites.
1. Freddie Tylicki – Chapter Seven
Tylicki’s ride on Chapter Seven in the Betfred Royal Mile Handicap at Musselburgh on 7 April was one in which a win came about as a result of holding his nerve and taking his one opportunity. Tylicki was drawn in stall 11 in a field of 12, and almost left in front in a race where nobody wanted to go on. He certainly didn’t and quickly took his mount to the inside at the back of the field. They stayed there and with three furlongs to go he was still in last place, as the horses began to fan out across the track.
Tylicki decided his way to the front was up the inside rail. He waited for a gap, pushed Chapter Seven through and took the lead in the final 10 yards, without any use of the whip.
2. Michael O’Connell – Qubuh
I can’t say that either Michael O’Connell or Qubuh have crossed my radar before, and there’s no obvious reason why they would do so again. As the RP put it, Qubuh “seems to need a mix of cajoling and driving”, and they could also have said that the horse needs to learn to run in a straight line. A 6f race doesn’t give you a lot of time to sort out the direction of travel, and Qubuh veered off to the right on leaving her outside berth in the Cancer Research UK Claiming Stakes at Hamilton on 6 May. Soon he had ducked left, but with two furlongs left O’Connell sent him to the front, and despite being headed inside the final furlong, he responded to O’Connell’s urgings to get back up by a head. Perhaps it was a case of everything falling into place that day. Qubuh ran another five times last season, beating just one horse home in three of them, and finishing 7/10 and 8/10 in the other two.
We’ll take a look at the other two contenders tomorrow.