There have been some fabulous performances at Royal Ascot this week. I have been mightily impressed by some of the horses, especially Kingman winning the St James’s Palace Stakes in the famous Juddmonte colours.
I’m sure visitors to York for the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival in August can look forward to seeing quite a number of the top performers.
I was out of luck on Wednesday at the Royal Meeting, though Knavesmire winner That Is The Spirit was game in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes and led the field before finding the seven furlong trip too long for his speed. I think he’ll drop back in distance in his next race.
After spending yesterday at Ripon and Leicester, I am back at Ascot this afternoon.
Fattsota, twice a winner at the track over a mile-and-a-half, will be trying his luck at two furlongs less this afternoon in the Wolferton Handicap at 3.05pm.
He’s a lovely horse and I think a lot of him. As well as his Ascot victories, he won a conditions event under my weighing room colleague Ryan Moore at Epsom last summer.
If he comes back to his best form today, he’ll run a big race.
In a royal week, he will come up against Bold Sniper who is set to carry The Queen’s colours and the pair are among several runners that also hold an entry for the 55th John Smith’s Cup, the centrepiece of Saturday 12 July on Knavesmire.
I’ll be doing more miles in the car than on horseback as tomorrow I am off to Ayr on Scotland’s west coast and then back down the M6 to Haydock Park for the evening fixture.
Classic Flyer makes his racing debut in the 1.50pm race. He’s been doing well at home at David O’Meara’s yard and only three of his rivals have previous racecourse form. I will be keeping a close eye out for Squats, who is being sent many a mile north from Newmarket by Yorkshireman-in-exile William Haggas.
In the 4.15pm race, Bispham Green has been raised eight pounds since winning for me a week ago at Haydock. He won really well that day and did it with a bit in hand, so he could follow up.
I’m delighted to have just my second ride for Luca Cumani with Alketios in the 8.50pm race on Merseyside.
He was fourth on his season debut – just his second career race – at Nottingham last month and I’ll be aiming to win for the Newmarket trainer.
I round off the evening at 9.20pm on Cravat, who I’m not familiar with, but he has winning form at the track from April.
Using Royal Ascot to look ahead, a stunning performance from The Fugue, the Lloyd Webber-owned winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, means that the flying mare will be keen to take on the colts once again in the Group 1 Juddmonte International on the opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
The fastest race of Royal Ascot’s week, the King’s Stand Stakes, was won by Sole Power, the 100-1 winner of the 2010 Coolmore Nunthorpe. The Irish-trained speedball has since repeatedly proved that horses don’t know their betting odds by landing a succession of the top sprints, so look out for him on Friday, August 22 in a fourth tilt, at what will be the richest-ever running of York’s sprint feature.
The juvenile form from York’s Dante Festival proved valuable in Berkshire as top filly, Tiggywiggy, ran second in both the Marygate Stakes last month and then the Queen Mary. Expect to see her return north for the Pinsent Masons Lowther Stakes, a fitting contest for Ladies’ Day at York on Thursday, August 21.
The global appeal of British racing was confirmed when Kentucky-trained Hootenanny won the Windsor Castle Stakes with connections already targeting the Group 2 Irish Thoroughbred Gimcrack which is now run on Ebor Saturday at York.
So a busy week behind and a busy weekend ahead, such is the life of a Flat jockey as we hit mid-summer.
The next racing at York is the John Smith’s Cup meeting on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 July. The feature race on the opening day is the Group 3 Totepool Summer Stakes. The John Smith’s is the longest running sponsorship in Flat racing anywhere in the world. Admission ranges from £5 to £25 (Friday) and £8 to £37 (Saturday). Under 18s are admitted free of charge. More details at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk