August 28 – 5 talking points ahead of the weekend

Ahead of the racing action this weekend, we take a look at the subjects that are expected to dominate the racing headlines.

From riding centurions in Britain to the return of the king in America, here are our five talking points to take in.

 

Will De Sousa notch up a #JockeyChamps century?

The success story in the saddle this season.

After coming so close to the Jockeys Championship title in 2011, pipped to the accolade by Paul Hanagan, Brazilian-born De Sousa has revived his career in the saddle and is well and truly on top in the race to be crowned the 2015 Stobart Champion Jockey.

Currently on 97 winners for the campaign, the multiple Group 1-winning rider is on the verge of becoming the first Flat rider this year to reach 100 winners in Britain.

His notable successes this year include riding Arabian Queen to Juddmonte International Stakes glory at York and to victory in the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes on Investec Oaks day at Epsom.

De Sousa is set to ride at Thirsk, Newcastle, Beverley and Epsom over the weekend, with a number of fancied rides.

 

Is Kodi Bear a serious Group 1 contender in the making?

Hit with an early season setback, Clive Cox is of the opinion that Kodi Bear could be quite special.

The three-year-old, who finished second in last season’s Dewhurst Stakes, was an ultra-impressive winner of the Group 3 Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury earlier in the month.

Connections are hopeful he can follow up in the Group 2 Celebration Mile on Saturday at Goodwood, before heading to QIPCO British Champions Day for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes to potentially face Solow.

We’ll know Saturday evening whether he is the real deal.

 

Will Captain Cat purr again?

It’s amazing how two seasons can completely contrast.

This time last season, Captain Cat was preparing to head to Haydock Park where he would put in an impressive display in the Superior Mile.

However, 2015 has seen four runs – all of them with the Roger Charlton-trained six-year-old finishing fifth-placed or worse.

Connections will be hoping he can regain his form. Though, with Kodi Bear thrashing him at Salisbury last time, it seems unlikely.

 

Can Maarek get back to winning ways?

Like Captain Cat, Maarek has lost his way a bit this season.

Normally very reliable when the ground turns soft, the eight-year-old son of Pivotal has just not fired.

Maarek is a previous Group 1 winner, but connections will be hoping the Beverley Bullet will provide the perfect platform to help reenergise him.

Jamie Spencer, who partnered him to QIPCO British Champion Sprint Stakes success in 2012, rides him again.

 

In America, will American Pharoah prevail in the ‘graveyard of champions’?

After becoming the first American Triple Crown winner since 1978, American Pharoah is now a national icon.

The Bob Baffert-trained star has featured on the front cover of Vogue magazine, while jockey Victor Espinoza has done, or is in line to do, it all. Letterman, Dancing With The Stars – he even donated all of his Triple Crown winnings to charity! What a top man!

Vogue

American Pharoah and Espinoza will return to the track on Saturday in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes in Saratoga, after coming back from a small break to win the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational earlier this month.

The Travers Stakes has the reputation of being a ‘graveyard of champions’ following the defeats of the likes of Secretariat and Man ‘o War. No pressure then, American Pharoah!

Having said that, he doesn’t look that fussed – does he?