We caught up with QIPCO British Champions Series ambassador Oisin Murphy as he prepares for his rides on the first day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival on Tuesday.
All the talk this week is quite rightly on the Qatar Goodwood Festival starting on Tuesday, and what a week it's shaping up to be.
I'm really looking forward to riding at the beautiful Goodwood Racecourse. The Qatar Goodwood Festival is a little bit like Royal Ascot for the jockeys, you're keen to get a winner on the board, and anything after that is a bonus. It's a very unique track that doesn't suit everyone, but I've been lucky in the past, most recently with the likes of Lightning Spear, and I can't wait to see what this year holds.
Tuesday's QIPCO British Champions Series race is the Qatar Goodwood Cup (3.35pm, live on ITV1) and I ride Royal Ascot winner Dashing Willoughby. He's a three year old so receives a kind amount of weight-for-age here, which is particularly useful at this distance range. He's getting 15lbs from the likes Stradivarius, the last horse to win this race at that age, which is a lot of weight.
I'm really looking forward to Dashing Willoughby's chances and any rain between now and the race would be a massive help. He's still learning and progressing as you would expect, and I'm sure he can run a good race against a lot of talented rivals.
Stradivarius is the obvious one here having shown himself to be a stayer of the highest order time and again, and the best around at the minute who they all have to beat. Cross Counter is a Melbourne Cup winner with a huge amount of talent also. You then have Dee Ex Bee who has progressed a huge amount and will run his usual tough race. I also wouldn't count out Wells Farrh Go, I thought he won very well on his seasonal debut.
It's a very good line-up for Tuesday's feature and one to get excited about.
Tactics wise I'd say Dee Ex Bee will once again be ridden forward, and I'd imagine Cross Counter will be ridden closer to the pace than he was in the Gold Cup at Ascot. I'll be happy to ride Dashing Willoughby where he's comfortable, and I imagine that'll be close to the pace as well.
The Qatar Vintage Stakes (2.25pm, live on ITV1) is pretty, well, vintage this year! Some really promising sorts have lined up for this Group 2. I ride the lovely Platinum Star who is by Lope De Vega. He ran a career best last time out at Newmarket, where he was just beaten by a short head in the Tattersalls July Stakes. He'll have his work cut out to beat Pinatubo who has been the standout two-year-old this year, looking incredibly progressive when winning at Royal Ascot.
Soto Sizzler gets my Goodwood campaign underway in the Unibet Handicap (live on ITV1, 2.25pm). He's coming back in distance for this, and has a very fair mark. The ground won't be a problem for him and he's improved for every run this year, so I'm pretty positive on a big run.
Lost In Time (European Breeders Fund EBF Maiden Stakes, 4.10pm) needs to come forward from his latest run at Chelmsford, having run a little green for my liking. If he has, he's going to run well in what looks a typically good Goodwood maiden.
I know Dark Shot (Chelsea Barracks Handicap, 4.45pm) from my time at Andrew Balding's. He's a bonny little fella whose run the other day was really good. The track will suit him and he gets in off a nice light weight so should be going well in this.
* The QIPCO British Champions Series showcases 35 of the UK’s finest Flat races, including six of the world’s top 12. The Series features at all of the UK’s most iconic Flat festivals, from the Derby and St Leger, to Glorious Goodwood and Royal Ascot, presenting unparalleled, quality racing across 10 of the country’s finest racecourses.