Curtis Receives Derby Ride on Highland Chief

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Ben Curtis | Racing Post

Ben Curtis has been handed a first G1 Investec Derby ride on Royal Ascot winner Highland Chief (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}). Trained by Paul and Oliver Cole, the colt was ridden to victory at Ascot by Rossa Ryan but was due to be partnered by Andrea Atzeni at Epsom. However, with Atzeni claimed to ride David Simcock’s Mohican Heights (Ire) (Australia {GB}), Curtis has been called up after a brilliant start to the season.

“Andrea didn’t foresee that he had to ride for someone else and he’s got to ride for some Hong Kong owners for David Simcock,” Oliver Cole told Sky Sports Racing. “So, we got Ben Curtis this morning. He’s had 96 winners this year–two Group 3 winners, including a Royal Ascot winner. He’s really riding well, with confidence, so we thought he would be perfect.”

Of the horse, Cole added, “I wouldn’t say he’s improving all the time, he’s always been a good horse. He was third to Pinatubo (Ire) (Shamardal) in the Chesham last season and would have been closer with a clear run. In the Royal Lodge we don’t know why he ran so badly, his tail was sticking out quite high.

“We went into Ascot quietly confident, although he had top weight, but he made up lots of ground and did it well. He should stay, but you never know until they run.”

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