I ride at Ayr today and tomorrow and am well aware just how big a meeting it is.
The racing is always competitive as you would expect. I have always loved this meeting. My childhood home is in Irvine 10 miles from the track so this is a great opportunity to go and visit family as well.
Naturally, I would dearly love to win an Ayr Gold Cup as a proud Scot and my ride tomorrow, Watchable, will have to win it from stall 3.
He was the penultimate horse drawn in the televised barrier draw, and I see we have Nameitwhatyoulike, who won the Betfred Garrowby Stakes, the Listed feature of the last meeting at York earlier this month, alongside in the stalls.
Watchable does not win very often but he is in very good form, is tough and consistent. He was promoted to third place in a rough Group Two at Baden-Baden in Germany last time.
Before that, he was placed in two Listed Races and a Group Three and we even took him to Longchamp, although I rode stablemate Move in Time, for last year’s Group One Prix de L’Abbaye.
The draw is what it is, but, to be honest, I would rather be drawn closer to a rail than in the middle but time alone will tell if we are on the right side.
He has been aimed high and he is good enough to run a big race.
You need that bit of luck to win, but Watchable is versatile and that is a great help.
The Silver Cup for horses that miss out on the ballot for the Gold Cup also has a maximum field of 25 and I ride Intisaab.
He has had six starts this season, won twice at Ayr and been second in his other four races, including when chasing home Kimbrella in the Skybet Dash at York at the end of July.
In contrast to Watchable, we are drawn in the middle this time, in stall 13.
His last run was another good one as recently as last Sunday when he finished second at The Curragh in a handicap on Longines Irish Champions Weekend, beaten by New Bidder also trained in Yorkshire by David Barron.
Today’s rides include the unraced Lamloon in Division Two of the seven-furlong maiden at 2.00pm.
He is by Cape Cross and is a lovely horse who goes well at home and is giving us the right signs.
You just never know how things will go first time up.
In the first of the big field sprints, I ride Rural Celebration for David O’Meara and we are drawn in stall 17 of a 24-strong field over five furlongs.
This might give an early indication as to what effect the draw may have on the straight course as the meeting progresses.
He has been somewhat disappointing this year, and similar comments apply to Mijhaar, who steps up in trip from his four runs this season, including when finishing down the field in the 57th John Smith’s Cup at York in July.
Fingers crossed for a good weekend.
An Ayr Gold Cup win would be one to cherish, and sit proudly towards the top of my cv.
York’s final meeting of 2016 is on Friday (Countryside Day) and Saturday, October (October Finale) 7-8. For more information and to book tickets visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk
Tom Richmond runs the rule over the Ayr Gold Cup field in tomorrow’s The Yorkshire Post.