x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Jockey Mike Smith poised for UK bow

Mike Smith, the jockey forever associated with the US wonder mare Zenyatta, will make is British debut at one of the least glamorous racetracks in England.

LONDON // Mike Smith, the jockey forever associated with the US wonder mare Zenyatta, is set to make his British debut this afternoon at one of the least glamorous racetracks in England.

Smith, who has amassed more than US$200 million (Dh736m) in prize money and was admitted into the Hall of Fame in 2003, will take the ride at Folkestone on Gentlemans Code, trained by compatriot Wesley Ward.

Smith, who has been staying in Newmarket and has ridden out for Luca Cumani this week, flew to England on Sunday after finishing third in the Preakness Stakes in the US aboard Astrology.

If Gentlemans Code wins, Smith hopes it will mean a start at Royal Ascot next month.

"At this stage of my career, to get an opportunity to ride at Royal Ascot is very exciting," he said.

"If all goes well I'll ride there all five days."

Smith became the first US-based jockey to win a European Classic when he partnered Fourstars Allstar in the Irish 2,000 Guineas in 1991.

He made his Dubai debut this season when he finished second on Euroears, trained by Bob Baffert, in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.

"Riding at Meydan was incredible. I never rode at Nad al Sheba, which is a shame," he said.

"It's just a real blow that I finished second on Euroears."

sports@thenational.ae