IT’S been great to be on home territory this week during the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival.
After riding at Catterick and Doncaster over the last couple of days, today I’m at the track closest to my home at Thirsk.
Then all roads lead to York for the two-day Music Showcase Weekend starting this evening.
As well as the top jockeys, trainers and horses, the post-racing entertainment comes from The Beach Boys tonight and Wet Wet Wet tomorrow evening. The bands are on summer tours – and they’ve been getting some great reviews.
The third of a trio of rides for me at Thirsk is Mr McLaren in the 4.15pm contest. He only started racing this year and is progressive. A winner at Hamilton Park last month, I don’t think he will be far away.
Then it’s down to Knavesmire where I’m on board a couple of horses with winning form at York in the past two seasons.
Anderiego, a regular at the racecourse and victorious there twice two years ago, will be wearing blinkers in order to focus him more in the Sky Bet Supporting The Yorkshire Racing Festival Stakes at 8pm.
Half-an-hour later, Innocently goes for the Novus Stakes. He won for me at this meeting a year ago and was in first spot again in his most recent run at Catterick, so – hopefully – he is coming back to his best form.
My chief chance of a winner at York over the next day or so is definitely Dutch Rose in the SkyBet Best Odds Guaranteed Stakes at 2.20pm tomorrow.
She is a mare who just loves York. The five-year-old has four victories to her name on Knavesmire. I highlighted her chances in the column last week, but she was a non-runner at Haydock because of the going.
She is in good form and she’ll really appreciate the conditions in the warm weather. Two of her quartet of wins at York came at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival, so visitors to the racecourse may see her again next month.
I believe Dutch Rose will take all the beating tomorrow.
Trainer David O’Meara also runs Alejandro in the race with my weighing room colleague David Nolan in the saddle. He’d have a chance, too, but he has gone up in the weights since winning at York last month.
My ride in the opening race of the day tomorrow – the SkyBet Money Back If Favourite Wins EBF Stallions Fillies’ Stakes at 1.50pm – is the Luca Cumani-trained Kleo. She won for the first time in four runs at Lingfield Park under Richard Hughes earlier this month. She looks a nice type.
Out Do, my horse in the fastest race of the day, the £50,000 Skybet Dash, has been knocking on the door in recent times.
As I previewed last week, he went to Ayr for the Scottish Stewards Cup. Third place demonstrated that he is in decent form after a couple of runner-up places. There is definitely a big race win in him – hopefully, it will come tomorrow.
I round off the afternoon on Betfred Ebor entrant Grandorio. He races over two miles for the first time in the Skybet Supporting Yorkshire Air Ambulance Stakes at 4.40pm.
As visitors to York will know, he’s a useful horse, having won on Knavesmire for me 13 months ago. He hasn’t been firing so well this campaign but he is more than capable. The step up in trip may suit and I’m sure he’ll stay the distance.
Enjoy the racing and the music this evening and tomorrow. As the musical stars of this evening are fond of singing, “it’ll be fun, fun, fun”!
The ‘Music Showcase Weekend’ at York begins tonight (gates open 4pm; first race 6pm) and continues tomorrow afternoon. After racing tonight, The Beach Boys are in concert. The feature race tomorrow is the Group 2 SkyBet York Stakes – followed by Wet Wet Wet live on stage. Admission is available on the gates from £10 to £37. Concessions available; under-18s free of charge. More details at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.