David Probert is counting his blessings after being drafted in to ride Royal Ascot winner Chipotle in Saturday’s Super Sprint Stakes at Newbury.
Probert replaces Charles Bishop, who has ridden Eve Johnson Houghton’s two-year-old for each of his four career starts, with the latter suspended for the meeting.
Chipotle, a son of former Prix Jean Prat winner Havana Gold, made it three wins from four starts in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes last month, with his only defeat coming on soft ground at Sandown.
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“I’m lucky enough to be stepping in for the ride,” Probert told Sky Sports Racing. “It’s pretty exciting and his form at Ascot is pretty rock solid.
“He looked like he had a great turn of foot the last half furlong in the Windsor Castle and a great attitude to go with it.
“The ground looked a bit too soft for him at Sandown but on that quicker ground [at Ascot] he seemed to have an electric turn of foot.”
Chipotle takes on a field of 22 for the class two at the weekend, with the main danger appearing to come from Richard Fahey’s Vintage Clarets, who steps back to five furlongs after coming home third in the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting.
“There should be plenty of speed in the race and he enjoys passing horses by the looks of the way he runs,” Probert said.
“I would imagine we will be taking a lead and aim at something in the last furlong.
“We are the highest-rated horse in the race but we’re taking on a nice colt of Richard Fahey’s [Vintage Clarets] who brings in the Coventry Stakes form so it looks a tough race but he goes there in the form of his life and probably with the best form.”
York ‘unlikely’ for Sandrine
Some of Probert’s best days this season have come courtesy of another two-year-old, Andrew Balding’s unbeaten filly, Sandrine.
She gave Probert a thrilling ride to win the Group Three Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot before following up in Group Two company at Newmarket in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes last weekend.
“She’s really special,” Probert said. “Nothing seems to bother her. She’s got a lovely attitude and it’s a pleasure to be a part of something special like her.
“Even at Ascot, in very heavy conditions, she felt as though she’d done it very easily.
“She had to prove herself at Newmarket in much different conditions and I felt she did not hit top gear. All she is going to do this year is progress hopefully.”
Sandrine holds an entry in the Group Two Lowther Stakes at York next month, where she would carry a three-pound penalty, but connections might instead wait for a shot at a Group One with the Cheveley Park Stakes back at Newmarket in September.
“I’m not quite sure what the plan is quite yet but we’ll leave that up to Kirsten [Rausing, Sandrine’s owner] and Andrew (Balding),” Probert said.
“She’s probably unlikely to go to York as she will pick up a penalty.
“She feels as though she would stay further so it’s an exciting year.”
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