Alex Hammond: Nuno to score
Sky Sports presenter Alex Hammond reflects on the career of Paul Carberry and selects a horse for the big race at Ripon.
Nuno Tristan was third behind Hoof It at Goodwood
Paul Carberry has been forced to call time on his career this week. What's your favourite ride, memory or anecdote concerning him?
Paul Carberry was one of the most talented but also one of the most divisive jump jockeys of all time. He was one of those riders that was either a joy to behold, or you felt as if you were watching a horror show, but I always leaned towards the former. He had supreme balance and rode with just his toe in the iron (rather than full foot) when only the top flat jockeys were balancing on their big toes! He would sometimes look like he was floating on a horse's back and he could cajole the most reluctant to put their best foot forward. Remember Harchibald?!
The sort of balance he is blessed with is God given, but he had more than that. Carberry is a true horseman, a stockman, he understands horses and wasn't in the least bit afraid of anything as a rider. He was fearless on a racecourse and also revelled in his hunting and took some shocking falls in the field; only the bravest of the brave would follow him across country.
I think the ride that immediately sprung to mind when I heard the news was the winning one on Frenchman's Creek at the Cheltenham festival in 2002. That must surely be one of the coolest rides ever seen. Of course, it didn't quite come off on Harchibald in the 2005 Champion Hurdle when he was runner up to Hardy Eustace, but the sheer audacity of the man was thrilling.
He said his finest moment came on Bobbyjo in the 1999 Grand National for his father Tommy. I seem to recall he came back into the old winner's enclosure which was under cover by the weighing room and swung off a beam in the ceiling… that beats a flying dismount! He was associated with many great horses; from those mentioned to Go Native, Looks Like Trouble and Solwhit. The list goes on and on. He'll be much missed.
Caravaggio won the Phoenix Stakes as an odds-on shot should but should he be as short as he is for the Qipco 2000 Guineas?
I'm not sure anything should be that short for a race that is still around eught months away, but there's no doubt that he looks pretty bombproof at this stage. He was flawless at the Curragh and all the talk afterwards was the pace that this colt shows at home with Aidan O'Brien highlighting a piece of work he did at Ballydoyle that saw him travel at speeds of up to 45mph – exceptional for an older sprinter let alone a juvenile.
"…will he end up excelling over sprint distances, and can we be certain a horse with so much precocity will train on? I refer you to the colt that won this race 12 months ago, Air Force Blue, who alone is enough to make us tread carefully."
Alex Hammond on Caravaggio
However, impressive though his speed is it leads to an obvious concern: will he end up excelling over sprint distances, and can we be certain a horse with so much precocity will train on? I refer you to the colt that won this race 12 months ago, Air Force Blue, who alone is enough to make us tread carefully.
It's the highlight of Ripon's season on Saturday with the William Hill Great St Wilfrid. Has anything caught your eye in that race or in the consolation?
Ripon's most valuable race of the year promises to be as competitive as ever with some familiar names amongst the entries.
Richard Fahey and David O'Meara have been the trainers to follow most recent with David 'Dandy' Nicholls sending out a couple of winners in the past too. It's the latter that dominates the market with Orion's Bow and Kimberella.
Orion's Bow has been on a roll of late winning five races and finishing runner-up in the Stewards' Cup last time out. He has struck up a good partnership with jockey Barry McHugh and was beaten by a very good filly in Dancing Star at Goodwood, With his confidence at an all-time high, he may not be done with yet ahead of his first run at the track.
Kimberella was 13th in Stewards', beaten just under five lengths. Apparently it is his owner's dream to win this race and I think he'll run well if the handicapper hasn't caught up with him of what's effectively a 2lb higher mark.
The horse that caught my eye when I looked at the entries hails from the Fahey yard in the shape of Nuno Tristan, who has been well-backed antepost.
This horse runs from a mark of 94 after an unlucky third in the Stewards' Cup consolation last time out off 1lb lower. He was squeezed at the start there and hampered when trying to make his run and I hope he gains compensation for that here.
Related represents trainer Paul Midgley who does well with his sprinters. He was one place in front of Nuno Tristan at Goodwood, but things should be different granted better luck for the Fahey runner.
Intisaab represents another trainer that does well in this race in O'Meara. The horse has become incredibly consistent for the fitting of cheekpieces and should again run his race.
Mick Easterby's Perfect Pasture has the burden of top weight but comes here in top form having won a decent handicap in Ireland last time out. He has a 10lb rise to overcome, so he'll have to keep improving to win this.
It's Nuno Tristan for me in a wide-open race.
Can you give us the winner of the Betfred Hungerford Stakes or is there a better bet to be had on Newbury's card?
It's a shame that last year's leading juvenile Hit It A Bomb doesn't reappear in this, connections preferring a race at Leopardstown on Thursday night, and I'm disappointed that Nemoralia is to be redirected to York as I really thought she could run a good race here. It's still a hot race despite their absence.
Hugo Palmer's Home Of The Brave made all to beat Convey in the Jury Stakes at Haydock and then ran well to be second to Dutch Connection in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood last time. He isn't a straightforward ride and was keen at Goodwood, but can be excused that as he was forced to race a bit more patiently than usual to allow stablemate Gifted Master to go on. Both Dutch Connection and Gifted Master have been beaten since but the form should stack up well enough in time.
Convey represents Sir Michael Stoute, but while winning a minor race at Pontefract last time gave him a nice confidence booster, he looks quirky and was keen there in first time cheek-pieces.
Richard Hannon's Toormore never seems to run well when I fancy him! He's penalised in this so has to give weight to his rivals but ran well for fourth place in the Sussex Stakes. That said the three-year-olds are strong this year and have dominated the race so despite a high cruising speed he's opposed.
Adaay is another to consider for William Haggas but I'm concerned that he may be more at home on softer ground. He's effective over this seven-furlong trip and stays a mile, but the question remains is he better at six?
So, it would have been a big positive for Nemoralia if she had lined up, but as the plan is to run next week instead I'm with Home Of The Brave. The right trip and a good run in the Lennox make him the one to beat.
On the same card I like the look of King's Fete in the Geoffrey Freer.
Stoute's horse is penalised for his win in the Glorious Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last month, but despite that remains of interest.
He can be headstrong, but settled better at Goodwood and should take all the beating if showing a similar attitude here. The unexposed Muntahaa looks like his main danger for John Gosden.
There is some top class international racing to look forward to this weekend; anything you are particularly looking forward to seeing run?
Well, the Arlington Million in Chicago looks like a humdinger of a race. It is wide open with plenty of European interest; in fact the market is dominated by overseas raiders.
Mondialiste represents David O'Meara and is unexposed at this mile and a quarter trip. He was second to Time Test in Sky Bet York Stakes last time, giving the hot favourite more of a scare than had been expected. The thought after that was he could be supplemented for the Juddmonte, but comes here instead and a reproduction of his second place to Tepin in Breeders' Cup Mile over this extra couple of furlongs puts him right in there.
Tryster has continued to improve for Charlie Appleby and has now won nine of his 14 outings. He had his first run since Meydan back in March in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot. The soft ground there wasn't ideal, so it was an encouraging reappearance and conditions will suit better on Saturday night.
Then we add Dante runner-up Deauville into the mix for Aidan O'Brien. He has proved to be a decent money-spinner for connections having won the valuable Belmont Derby last time out. Roger Charlton has also sent Decorated Knight over for the race. He will enjoy fast ground, is progressive, but will have to keep improving to win this.
The Americans will be cheering on World Approval for Mark Casse who comes here having won a Grade 1 at Monmouth last time out over 11 furlongs. It promises to be a superb race and I can't wait to see who comes out on top.
That's not the only top-class action away from our shores, as in Deauville on Sunday it's the Prix Jacques le Marois and Hugo Palmer has given the green light for Galileo Gold to head to northern France for this Group One.
The 2000 Guineas winner worked well in the week and won't have to face The Gurkha again as that horse has a summer break before an autumn campaign.
It might not be a straightforward task for Galileo Gold though as Ribchester re-opposes for Richard Fahey having been just behind when the pair chased home The Gurkha at Goodwood last time.
Fahey says he is very happy with the Guineas and Sussex Stakes third and given his staying-on performance in Sussex he must go well again. He just failed to reel in the front two that day, is held in very high esteem by his Yorkshire handler and could be more straightforward than the favourite.