Jockey Jim Crowley is enjoying a Royal Ascot to remember, and he recorded his fifth winner of the week when Molatham (11/2) landed the G3 Jersey Stakes by half a length from Monarch Of Egypt (4/1) after a sustained battle.
Like all of Crowley’s four previous winners this week, Molatham is owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, to whom Crowley is retained jockey.
Crowley said: “Molatham was very tough. He had the one run at the backend of last year on soft ground at Newmarket and he didn’t fire. His form before that was very strong. He beat Wichita at Doncaster earlier in the year.
“I had been down to ride him work earlier in the year when we were thinking of the 2000 Guineas. He was working quite lazily at home, but today when the rain had come, I was a little bit concerned. However, when you look at his pedigree, it showed that he wouldn’t mind a bit of cut in the ground and the way he moves suggests that too. He handled soft ground well today and maybe at Newmarket last season it was the undulations that caught him out.
“I got headed and probably found myself there too soon in the race. Molatham is a horse who does not want to be in front two furlongs out. He was going so well and I found myself in front. On the soft ground, it was difficult for me to sit and then expect him to pick up, so I went for home on him. I got headed [by Monarch Of Egypt, second] and that did me a favour.
“The reason we came back to seven furlongs is that we weren’t 100% sure he would get the mile. However, on that run today, you would imagine a mile would not be a problem, but I don’t think there is a need to step back up at the moment.
“He is just as good on fast ground and now soft ground, so that is another string to his bow really.
“I had six winners at Royal Ascot coming into this! I am not complaining though. When you are a jockey, you take one for the meeting, so to get five is great. I am very lucky to ride such nice horses and for such a big operation.”
Trainer Roger Varian, enjoying a 57.5/1 double on day three following the Wolferon Stakes success of Mountain Angel, said: “Molatham is a lovely horse with a great temperament. He has done nothing wrong in his career, really – he was second here in a very good maiden on his debut, and the form of his Listed win reads very well with Wichita, the 2000 Guineas second, in behind him that day.
“We have always thought the world of this horse and he has come to himself in the last few weeks. It is nice to have a good horse like this for Sheikh Hamdan, who has been a great supporter of mine since I started.
“Molatham has got a top attitude. He might not ever win by four lengths because he is not that sort of horse, but he is tough and straightforward, and obviously very talented.
“He looks like he will get a mile. He is built like a fast horse, so I don’t think he will get beyond a mile, but the way he gutsed it out here on this ground over this stiff seven, it looks like he will get a mile. But he travelled and Jim [Crowley] said he almost got there too soon, so he doesn’t lack speed, this guy.
“We will keep everything on the table at the moment. Molatham is obviously one of the top three-year-olds around after that performance, and at some point those nice three-year-olds will have to come together, but… I will speak with Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Hamdan’s team, we will see how he comes out of this race and we will see which direction we want to go with the horse. He is a jolly nice horse to look forward to with.
“Nothing is impossible – he has just won a Jersey and this race has a rich history of producing good horses. He looked a good horse today, and we will be excited about him for the rest of the season for sure.”
2.25pm Jersey Stakes (Group 3)
- Molatham [drawn 5] Roger Varian 3-9-01 Jim Crowley 11/2
- Monarch Of Egypt  Aidan O’Brien IRE 3-9-01 Ryan Moore 4/1
- Symbolize  Andrew Balding 3-9-01 David Probert 40/1
8th Royal Ascot win for trainer Roger Varian
11th Royal Ascot win for jockey Jim Crowley