CHARLIE BISHOP is hoping lightning can strike twice in the Queen Anne but admits the pressure is greater this time around.
Accidental Agent heads into Tuesday’s Royal Ascot opener no longer a plucky underdog after springing a 33-1 surprise in the mile showpiece last summer.
Eve Johnson Houghton’s stable star could become the first double winner of the Group 1 opener in a staggering 112 years and would bring the house down once more with a repeat performance.
Jockey Charlie Bishop had the best moment of his young career during last year’s triumph and is hoping for more of the same come Tuesday afternoon.
He said: “Without doubt it was the biggest moment of my career and to win it again would be brilliant as it didn’t really hit me what actually happened last year. Obviously I enjoyed the day massively but the second time round would be more enjoyable for everyone I think.
“I think the team at Eve’s would admit there’s more pressure on us all this year defending our title. But for me I’ll go into it with the same mind set as last year, where it would be great if we can get in the front three and if it falls our way, then that would be amazing.”
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A best-priced 12-1 with a handful of bookmakers, it will be no shock if Accidental Agent is in the mix this coming Tuesday and Bishop believes the race may just have the wrong favourite as it stands.
He explained: “It’s a strong enough renewal as you’d expect. They make Le Brivido favourite and he was a bit unlucky at Newbury, but I came up behind him that day and unless there’s a massive amount of improvement in him I don’t think we should be too worried about him.
“I think Mustashry should probably be favourite after the Lockinge, but you also have to have a lot of respect for Laurens.
“Saying that, I think the track suits our lad better than anyone else and we have to be hopeful.
“We are delighted with him heading into next week. It was a huge effort in the Lockinge and he’ll definitely come on for it.
“I might have a sit on him on him on Friday morning, but that will only be routine stuff. He’s done all his proper work now and me and Eve are both really happy with him.
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With preparations almost done and dusted at Johnson Houghton’s Blewbury stables, Bishop is raring to go for pinnacle of the Flat season.
He added: “Ascot is just unbelievable, even just turning up there everyday and walking in it is amazing. I’m lucky enough to have had a few rides there over the years and it’s a fantastic place.
“When you get down to those last couple of furlongs you really can here the atmosphere, it’s so loud from the grandstand.”
Bishop has another couple of horses to look forward to during the week, both for Johnson Houghton, plus the hope of a couple of outside jobs.
Count Calabash will go for the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap, whilst Graceful Magic will head to the Albany off the back of her debut win at Sandown.
Bishop continued: “Eve definitely runs Graceful Magic, she won at Sandown first time out at and will go for the Albany. She’s done nothing but surprise me, she was a massive price as she’s never done anything flashy at home.
“It was an impressive performance and she never looked like getting beat that day. She worked very well this morning again and she’s improved heaps for it.
“Realistically if she finishes in the first four or five she would have done very well, but she’s one to look forward to for the rest of her career. We’ll be riding her to pick up some pieces and fingers-crossed it goes our way.”
Here’s hoping for more of those wild scenes in the winners’ enclosure last summer.