Friday 30 September 2016

Mick Kinane: Golden Horn can strike again at Ascot

Read Mick Kinane's column exclusively in the Herald every Friday.

Mick Kinane

Published 24/07/2015 | 14:50

Golden Horn
Golden Horn

Tomorrow's King George at Ascot will pose a more difficult challenge to Golden Horn than the Coral-Eclipse probably did but I still think he has the class to come out on top.

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Going a mile and a half was a slight doubt earlier in the year but he showed in the Epsom Derby that it was no problem to him and I'm just not sure that the four-year-olds of this year are a vintage crop.

I'd just have my doubts about how good the older horses are yet I would have no doubt that Golden Horn is an above average three-year-old and a good one in any year.

All around Golden Horn looks a very well balanced horse and I think the way the race will be run and the track will suit him.

Snow Sky was very impressive in Ascot but his overall form is not as strong looking as Golden Horn's.

I am thrilled to see that Pat Smullen is getting such nice opportunities at the moment though. His good ride on Snow Sky tomorrow comes hot on the heels of winning the Irish Oaks on Covert Love for Hugo Palmer last weekend.

Top jockeys like Pat just seem to get their time and it certainly seems to be Pat's time at the moment and it is fully deserved.

Pat has all the experience behind him and now he's just getting that exposure that you need to bring it on to that next level.

People in Ireland are fully aware of how good a rider Pat Smullen is but I think Pat's talents were very evident at the Curragh in the Oaks where I thought he really shined on Covert Love and it made all the difference.

The Ballydoyle pacemaker went off and Pat rode his own race and rode it down to a tee and I think any time a guy gets it so right like that in the high pressure stakes of a Group One, he deserves all the credit he gets.

Places like Royal Ascot and Classic's and getting winners on those types of stages are where people start to sit up and recognise and I think things should really flourish for Pat now and it is now before time that people started taking note.

While Pat is at the top of his career as a jockey now, Richard Hughes is bowing out at the top to pursue his training career.

Richard has been a fantastic professional jockey and done phenomenally well and it was always nice to watch Richard Hughes.

He has always been a very calm person and very calm on a horse and a he excelled so often over a great career and I'd be surprised if he couldn't apply himself to training.

This is something he always wanted to do, it wasn't something that he decided he'd just do now because he had to finish riding, it was something he always had the desire to follow his father Dessie into and I'd expect him to get the support that you need and he seems to be moving into a very nice training yard.

This is a crucial time of year coming up and Richard is making sure that there is no half measures in what he is doing so with all the sales coming up and meeting potential owners and buying yearlings he is going to be too busy to ride at a high level and he is doing the right thing, I feel. It's a very important time.

Richard is also giving Richard Hannon the time to get used to life after Richard Hughes and I think it is a nice gesture for him to do what he is doing.

It would be fantastic to see him finish off by winning a King George tomorrow or something big at Goodwood next week and Goodwood is a track that he has always rode very well and it is a meeting he has a great record at so it would be nice to see him go out on a big note if at all possible.

I don't think that big note will be the Sussex Stakes as this looks set to be a mouthwatering clash between Gleneagles and the French horse Solow and I'm just going to swing with Gleneagles.

I think Goodwood will suit him and I think he'll be able to get into Solow's slipstream and use his telling turn of foot which is needed at Goodwood to win.

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