Delighted about new quarantine rules allowing me to ride in Betfair Sprint Cup

Many thanks to the Irish Government, and Horse Racing Ireland, for lifting the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for jockeys on Thursday, so my isolation in Ballydoyle has come to an end and I am now on the way back home.

The decision makes a lot of sense, given what is happening in other sports, like football, and all credit to those who have made this happen.

It not only allows me to get home to the family and some normality, but to return to my job and ride in Haydock’s Betfair-sponsored card on Saturday, where I have three rides, headlined by Lope Y Fernandez in the Group 1 Betfair Sprint Cup.

I think he will go well but here’s my take on all of my rides at Haydock on Saturday.

Form makes him the one to beat

13:10 – Fancy Man

He won here over 7f on soft ground on his debut and he obviously stepped up considerably on that effort when second in a 1m Listed race at Salisbury last time. The form of that race looks pretty strong, with the front two pulling well clear of the third, and he would appear to have a lot to recommend him here. He is probably the one to beat on what we have seen going into the race.

Likes the track, has the form, but might be up against it

13:45 – Qaysar

He is the joint second top-rated in this Group 3 on a mark of 111 – Stormy Antarctic heads the field on 114 and he will enjoy the ground – and that rating is deserved on the evidence of his easy course and distance handicap win in July. He won by over four lengths off a mark of 105 there, so he obviously holds decent claims on that form, but he hasn’t run up to that level in his two subsequent starts and he meets a good calibre of opposition here in what looks a strong Group 3. He could well be up against it here but we know he likes the track and ground, and he has the form to figure.

Has a Group 1 win in him, so is this it?

15:25 – Lope Y Fernandez

It’s a strong renewal, even in the absence of July Cup winner Oxted. Dream Of Dreams looked very good at Newbury last time, while we know Hello Youmzain and The Tin Man are past winners of this race and are both in good form. But I think you have to give my colt a big chance.

He didn’t quite see out the trip when travelling powerfully into the race when third in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, and he simply ran flat for me just seven days later in the Commonwealth Cup. But he has to have strong claims here on the form of his Group 1 runs in France on the last two starts, and I thought I was going to finish second to Hello Youmzain in the Prix Maurice de Gheest last time before Space Blues took off. I am sure he has a Group 1 in him, and it could be this one.

Form: 2316-3023

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Date Course/Class Pos Type Dist. Gng. HDGR WGT Jockey BSP
09/08/20 Deauville 3/11 Flat 6f 102y Good 8st 13lbs Ryan Moore
12/07/20 Deauville 2/11 Flat 6f 211y Good 9st 2lbs Ioritz Mendizabal
19/06/20 Ascot Commonwealth Cup 11/16 Flat 6f Gd/sft 9st 0lbs Ryan Moore 4.18
12/06/20 Curragh 3/11 Flat 1m Good 9st 2lbs Seamie Heffernan 6.73
28/09/19 Newmarket (Rowley) Middle Park 6/8 Flat 6f Gd/frm 9st 0lbs Donnacha O’Brien 9.86
30/08/19 Curragh 1/12 Flat 6f Good 9st 3lbs Ryan Moore 2.59
30/07/19 Goodwood 3/7 Flat 7f Good 9st 1lbs Ryan Moore 6.2
22/06/19 Ascot Chesham Stakes 2/14 Flat 7f Gd/frm 9st 3lbs Ryan Moore 2.36
07/06/19 Curragh 1/9 Flat 7f Soft 9st 5lbs Donnacha O’Brien 3.22

He had earlier shaped really well when a close second to Pinatubo in the Prix Jean Prat, too. This is likely to be the softest ground he has raced on but I reckon he could improve for it. He may even want it. I’d be hopeful of a big run anyway, especially as his proven stamina over 7f could prove very useful in this ground. I hope his draw in 13 of 13 proves okay, though.