Visitors to the Dante Festival at York will likely recall the encouraging run of Suedois, runner-up in the Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics.
He filled second spot again in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket and on Sunday goes for the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville. He can neigh in French because that was where he raced until coming to David O’Meara’s yard this Spring!
He will encounter a regular rival in Gordon Lord Byron and, the pair also hold entries in for the feature sprint on Qipco British Champions Day, down south on Saturday, October 15.
Taking some Gallic gold would be great and, were I to do so, I would emulate the achievement of my weighing room colleague, Paul Hanagan, who partnered 2014 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes winner Muhaarar to victory in the race last August.
Next weekend sees me flying even further for a top-class ride. That’s on Mondialiste in the Arlington Million, staged outside Chicago. Once again, York racegoers will be familiar with my partner. He ran brilliantly to finish just behind Time Test in the Group 2 Sky Bet York Stakes just a couple of weeks ago – and, of course, he was a winner at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 12 months ago.
While I have been to the Normandy coast on quite a few occasions, this will be my first trip to the Illinois race track. The last time we were in the USA together, we finished a nice second at the Breeders Cup and the American continent yielded a Group One for Mondialiste when Fergal Lynch stepped in for me in the Woodbine International. Hopefully, these two class horses, which have performed well at York, can see us busy at the Bureau de Change.
Back to proceedings today, I am travelling up the A1 to Musselburgh for four rides. The one that jumps off the page is Mijhaar, who didn’t get the run of things in the 57th John Smith’s Cup at York last month. In the Archerfield Cup at 4pm he steps up in distance to one mile and six furlongs which, I think, will suit him.
The eight-year- old does hold an entry in the Betfred Ebor, the richest Flat handicap in Europe on Saturday, August 20. However, he may not be highly enough rated to make the highly competitive field of 20 runners.
So, my mount in the £280,000 highlight of the final day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Festival will almost certainly be Tawdeea.
While most of the huge crowds who will be on Knavesmire over the four days will be hoping for nice sunny weather, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for some rain because my horse won’t want the ground to be too quick. That’s two weeks tomorrow, though. This weekend sees me crossing the Pennines to Haydock.
Treasury Notes is in fine form ahead of the opening handicap at 2pm tomorrow. He’s enjoyed a couple of wins at Ripon this season. The one doubt in my mind is that the handicapper might have given him too much to do.
I’ve been booked by Yorkshire trainer Karl Burke to ride Lord Ben Stack in the 4.15pm handicap. Any horse that has run in a Dante Stakes at York – as this one did last year – has to be respected. The four-year-old certainly likes the Merseyside track, having won there two years ago when I was in the saddle and finished second in a race at the same venue 13 months ago.
Half-an-hour later, I am on board Ustinov, who could be my best chance of the day.
This is only his second race of the season and I think Haydock will suit him.
On Sunday, it’s off to France. I’m certainly totting up the air miles over the next two weekends, but I’m looking ahead with relish to returning from the States in good time for the Ebor Festival. More of our plans for this Festival with its more than £4m in prize money, here next week.
The next racing at York is the four-day Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival which starts on Wednesday, August 17. Find out more and book tickets at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.