Kieren Fallon takes the reins on Ascription as he bids for compensation at Ascot today after being ruled out of last week’s Cambridgeshire.
Unsuitably quick ground saw Ascription bypass the Newmarket heat, with Hugo Palmer biding his time in favour of the �150,000 Betfred ‘Goals Galore’ Challenge Cup over seven furlongs at the Berkshire track. The four-year-old will shoulder top weight.
It will mark the first occasion Fallon has ridden for owner Ibrahim Araci since their dramatic court battle in 2011, when the jockey sought to get off Araci’s Native Khan to ride the Coolmore-owned Recital on the eve of the Investec Derby.
Palmer said: “William (Buick) gets on incredibly well with the horse, but I don’t think he does anything particularly clever. I think he just keeps it simple, he’s got good hands and fires him at the right moment.
“Kieren is more than capable, he’s one of the world’s leading riders, and you get to the stage on a Saturday when the talent is spread pretty thin. There’s good racing at Redcar this weekend as well as Newmarket and Ascot, not to mention France. If you’re lucky enough to have a Group One pilot, you take them,” he told his www.StanJames.com blog.
Palmer is well aware of the task his recent runaway Doncaster winner faces conceding weight to all in the ultra-competitive handicap heat.
He went on: “It’s a big ask for Ascription. When I was at Hughie Morrison’s we won the Wokingham with Baltic King off top weight and I remember the write-up in the Racing Post afterwards described it as one of the great weight-carrying performances of the modern era.
“I would suggest Ascription has a similar task ahead of him. It’s hard to know whether or not he’s up to it. He is in really good form. He’s come out of Doncaster very well. I’m very pleased with him and he looks fantastic. I’ve said for a long time that I think the stiff seven furlongs at Ascot would suit him and I think there’s a lot of things in his favour.
“He seems to be nicely drawn – he’s drawn quite near to the speed. The ground will go his way, there’s a lot of boxes ticked, but then he has got to carry 9st 10lb. We go there in good form and if we can shoulder the weight, we’ve got a great chance.”
Morrison himself has a representative as Pastoral Player drops back to handicap company for another crack at the race he won in 2011. The six-year-old was not disgraced when sixth behind Prix de la Foret contender Viztoria in the Park Stakes at Doncaster and had been campaigned at Listed level or higher in his 12 previous starts.
However, he returns to handicap company for the first time since May 2012, with Morrison hoping conditions will suit. He said: “He’s one of those horses that has got lots of ability but the race isn’t always run to suit him.
“He didn’t really have a race at Doncaster as he’s a six-year-old, he’s not stupid, and he just didn’t like the ground. I wouldn’t expect there to be too much rain at Ascot and good to soft at Ascot is different to good to soft at Doncaster.
“He won on that kind of ground at Ascot a couple of years ago and I’d expect it to dry there a little, so it should be fine for him. Quite often in these handicaps they go off quickly and then come back to him, and he enjoys that kind of race.”Read the rest of the story British Horseracing Authority News Headlines