Racing TV ambassador Paul Mulrennan gives us the latest news on star sprinter Mabs Cross and his weekend rides, plus pays tribute to Pat Smullen.

Mabs Cross has come out of last weekend’s Palace House Stakes in great form and it looks like she could reappear in the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock Park on May 25.

She’s very tough with a great constitution and takes her racing very well – if you look through her form it’s always of a consistent level and she performed in all the big races last year.

She’s not a great big filly, so it doesn’t take much to get her ready, but she will definitely strip a lot sharper next time out. She was a bit slow out of the stalls at Newmarket last week and behind the bridle for the early part, before she got going and motored home. There’s no substitute for race fitness.

I thought 6-1 was a massive price, but perhaps it’s because we’re based in the North-East, and horses travelling south can be underrated. Maybe the Aidan O’Brien–Ryan Moore factor had an influence, given they were responsible for the hot favourite, Sergei Prokofiev.

She will need to improve now, especially against the likes of Blue Point, but I am pretty hopeful she can be the queen of the sprinters this year and I certainly wouldn’t swap her for any others out there.

As is usual for a Saturday, I am riding at two meetings. I start at Nottingham, where the highlight is the Listed race, the EBF Weatherbys General Stud Book Kilvington Stakes.

I am very happy to pick up the ride on Liex Excelsa for Fozzy Stack. She’s run well on both her starts this season and this looks about her level. She’s coming down to six furlongs and the ease in the going should suit her too.

I’m then at Thirsk this evening, where Simon Crisford’s Kung Fu looks the pick. He was sixth to UAE Jewel in the Wood Ditton and that horse followed up at Listed level last weekend and could be a real star. The third and fourth have also come out and won, so the form of that maiden looks excellent.

The other one to highlight is Mythical Spirit, who runs in the Elwick Stud Fillies' Handicap.

She enjoyed a terrific 2018, winning three times and coming second on three other occasions in her six starts. She hasn’t raced since July but I know she has done really well physically over the winter and her trainer Julie Camacho, who is in great form, is very happy with her.

Finally, I saw Pat Smullen at Chester this week and he looked really well, which was great to see.

He announced his retirement, which didn’t come as a surprise and his health has to come first.

First and foremost, he is an absolute gentleman, but he was one of the best riders of recent times, especially when it came to the big races.

Hopefully, he can make a full recovery from cancer and we will see him a lot more of him on the racecourse for years to come, as he’s a great ambassador for the sport.

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