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This stiffer test of stamina will definitely be in his favour – Sean Bowen's Weekend Preview

25 Nov 2023
Coral Racing Ambassador, Sean Bowen, reflects on hitting 100 winners for the season and gives us a preview of his rides this weekend, including his mount in the Coral Hurdle, Strong Leader.

I was thrilled to bring up my century of winners for the season at Uttoxeter last weekend, and although I could have ridden a couple of nice horses at Cheltenham that day, I think it vindicated the decision to go up to Uttoxeter instead.

It’s always difficult deciding where to go and ride when you have plenty of nice horses to get on, but when you want to be champion jockey, you just have to go where the winners are, and I had a really nice book of rides last Saturday.

I think for some people chasing the jockey’s championship would be stressful, but I like to think I don’t get too stressed with it all, even when I have those frustrating days when things don’t go to plan. I have had a few of those in recent weeks, but thankfully it doesn’t happen too often, and it’s nice to be in that position of being busy and riding plenty of horses each day.

I try not to put too much pressure on myself, and while it’s nice to be at the top of the leaderboard, I don’t think that makes much difference to your mindset when you are riding In a race. It might give some people a bit more confidence, but I try to ride with that confidence at all times regardless of whether you’re going through a quiet patch, or riding winners on a regular basis.

I find that when you lose that confidence in the saddle, that’s when things tend to go wrong, so I do think the key is to just remain positive and believe in your own ability, and I know if I do that, then the winners should never be too far away.

I have a bit of a quieter weekend this week with regards to rides, but I’d say each of them has some sort of a chance, so it would be a lovely to ride a couple more winners over the course of the weekend.

Saturday Preview

12:55 Ascot – Genietoile

I rode this horse in a bumper at Ffos Las last season, and although we only finished fourth, I actually quite liked him that day. He was disappointing the next time, but he fared much better on his return from a break at Chepstow last time, and I think he just got a bit tired close home, so hopefully he’s improved for that outing.

This is a competitive little race, but I actually think he is a nice horse, so if he does strip fitter for that last run, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he put up a bold showing.

14:05 Ascot – Strong Leader

I’m very much looking forward to riding in the Coral Hurdle, and although it’s a relatively small field, it does look a competitive renewal.

Strong Leader showed some high-class form as a novice last season, and I don’t think there’s any doubt that the best of that form gives him a huge chance in this race. He didn’t handle the track too well in the supreme, but he made up for that when finishing second at Aintree behind Inthepocket, and he did just shape like he needed further that day, so this stiffer test of stamina will definitely be in his favour.

I think Olly was a little bit concerned he wasn’t 100% where he wanted him going into the race at Ffos Las, and that’s how he felt to be honest, he just felt a bit flat and never really travelled. He seems in much better form now, and I think this is the right race for him, so in receipt of weight from the top couple, I think he goes there with a really good chance.


Sunday Preview 

11:55 Uttoxeter – Itsnoteasy

He does need to step forward from his run here the last day, but I think there are definitely reasons to believe he will. I think the softer ground this weekend will help him, and we were quite forward on him last time, so I think we’ll change how we ride him, and hopefully that will help him put up a better showing.

It does look a competitive race, and there looks to be a few in here capable of winning, but I’m hopeful there will be a few things in his favour on Sunday, so hopefully he can go well.

12:30 Uttoxeter – Little Miss Dante

She’s a filly we’ve always thought a lot of, and following a pleasing start when second in a bumper at Huntingdon back in January, she’s won her last two in impressive fashion. She was a bit green at Ayr last time on her first run over hurdles, and the ground was probably as quick as she’d want it, but she still got the job done in good style, so she’s definitely a filly with plenty of ability.

She does carry a penalty here which is never easy, but she carries that for a reason, and I’m really looking forward to riding her again on Sunday afternoon.

Sean Bowen, Coral Racing Ambassador

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