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Sammy-Jo out to seize Glorious opportunity

By Frank Brownlow

Published 01/08/2015

Rising star: Sammy-Jo Bell has hit the big-time
Rising star: Sammy-Jo Bell has hit the big-time

Ulster jockey Sammy-Jo Bell is on the up and up and her meteoric rise continues with rides on Canyari and Imshivalla at Glorious Goodwood.

Sammy-Jo, from Ballyclare, goes for glory in the Stewards' Sprint Stakes and has hard acts to follow - Canyari's last two jockeys were Paul Hanagan and Ryan Moore, among the world's finest.

Imshivalla runs in the concluding Apprentice Stakes.

Sammy-Jo - based in Yorkshire at the yard of top trainer Richard Fahey - is a front runner in the apprentice jockeys championship, racking up £133,000 in prize money so far.

The 24-year-old has more than doubled her combined winning totals for the two previous seasons and, having reached her 20-win target for the year, hopes to remain the season's top female rider.

"I think really that if you are good enough you will probably get the rides, that's the long and short of it," Sammy-Jo said.

"I've got more rides this year because I've improved so maybe I didn't deserve many more rides before.

"I think if you're as good as everybody else, there's no problem with whether you're a girl or a boy.

"Probably girls will never be as strong as boys, but sometimes strength isn't really everything; there's putting your horse in the right place in the race and things like that.

"Maybe we take a little bit longer to get strong. I'm 24 now, and when I was 18 I didn't ride like this, so I've had to wait to get my chances."

Ruwaiyan can spring a minor surprise for trainer James Tate in the Stewards' Cup today.

The gelded son of Cape Cross does not stand out in neon lettering as an obvious contender for one of the toughest handicaps, but a little bit of digging paints a more encouraging picture.

Perhaps the best thing going for Tate's sprinter is his fondness for Goodwood.

A convincing success over this six-furlong trip in a strong 10-runner handicap in May is obviously a significant piece of form with the Stewards' Cup in mind.

As, too, was his performance in this race 12 months ago when fourth off a 2lb lower mark.

Ruwaiyan was a little awkward leaving the stalls and had to be switched right to find daylight, but what was also interesting about that run was the fact the ground was much too quick for his liking.

That was similarly the case in a Listed race at Windsor last month, when he was never a factor, while it was hardly forgiving terrain in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot - a race often used as a springboard for the Stewards' Cup.

Tate's inmate still shaped promisingly, though, as he made decent late headway to finish ninth of 25 - a run which should have ideally teed up Ruwaiyan for this challenge.

Legatissimo's claims in the Qatar Nassau Stakes are far more apparent.

The 1000 Guineas winner could easily be heading to Goodwood in pursuit of a fourth consecutive Group One triumph but, slightly painfully for connections, she succumbed by just a short head in both the Oaks and the Pretty Polly.

There were excuses at Epsom and the Curragh, though, as she did not quite convince over a mile and a half in the Oaks, while Diamondsandrubies got first run in Ireland.

Back over what looks an ideal trip, Legatissimo should take some stopping.

Muthmir narrowly got the better of last year's winner Take Cover in a thrilling King George Stakes yesterday.

The former was the 3-1 favourite for trainer William Haggas and jockey Paul Hanagan after finishing a close third in the King's Stand at Royal Ascot before a slightly disappointing effort in the July Cup.

Back over the minimum distance, Muthmir then encountered the strong pace off which he thrives. Once he quickened clear of Justineo, Haggas' inmate had to see off a rallying Take Cover but he did so by a head.

Hanagan said: "He's very good. Everyone knows how strong he is now."

Haggas said: "He's fast and they went very fast. I would say that (Nunthorpe at York on August 21) is exactly where we'll go."

Richard Hughes - champion jockey for the last three years - enjoyed his second Goodwood winner of the week on the eve of his retirement aboard Belvoir Bay in the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Nursery.

Belfast Telegraph

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