It is a momentous time north of the border just now – and I am in Scotland for the country’s most prestigious Flat racing occasion of the year at Ayr.
I have some very good rides on the second and third days of what many refer to as the Western Meeting. They include my recent winner at The Curragh, Watchable, in the Ayr Gold Cup. But more of that later.
I kick off this afternoon with a quartet of rides all of which you can follow on Racing UK if you are unable to join us here in Burns country. The two to highlight would be Son Of Africa and Miss Mulberry.
I’m delighted to get the mount on Son Of Africa for trainer Henry Candy. The colt has won two of his three starts and is clearly in good form. I reckon he’ll probably be sent off as favourite and I hope he can justify that tag in the nursery contest at 2.05pm.
Three races later and I ride Miss Mulberry in the Listed race at 3.45pm.
She put in a very good performance at York in July under Andrea Atzeni in the Sky Bet Supporting New Beginnings Stakes. Not surprisingly, that was her most competitive contest to that point.
It was a good experience for her clearly on Knavesmire because she’s come out twice since then and won on both occasions – first at Thirsk and then at Ripon. Those victories showed that we have found the key to her.
Now she steps up into Listed company and, although she’ll probably have to improve again, I’m expecting her to run a good race.
I open my account on Saturday on Prize Exhibit for trainer Jamie Osborne in the Group 3 at 2.05pm. She’s not a filly I have ridden before, but she comes into the race off a useful record of two wins from six outings in her debut season.
I have another outside ride in the Silver Cup – for trainer Robin Bastiman. Green Howard arrives in super form – two wins on his last two outings, including one with yours truly in the saddle at Thirsk last month. He also ran a very decent race when second at York in July.
I’m thrilled to be riding Watchable in the Ayr Gold Cup, one of the season’s major sprint handicaps and the biggest betting contest of the weekend.
He’ll be one of the leading fancies, coming into the six-furlong sprint off the back of a win for me at The Curragh last weekend.
Watchable is indeed a horse for his rivals to watch out for. It’s going right for him at the moment and I think he’ll get even better.
He started racing in earnest only this season as a four-year-old and has shown his quality. That little lack of experience does mean that he can still be a little ‘green’, but he’s excellent and will improve further when he comes back next year.
It was a fine win in Ireland and I was impressed too by the inaugural Irish Champions Weekend which I attended on the second day.
There were lots of familiar faces in the weighing rooms at both Leopardstown and down in Country Kildare as Yorkshire landed five winners. What’s more, it was great to see travelling fans enjoying the feast of racing, including many York annual badge-holders taking advantage of the reciprocal days in the Emerald Isle.
I was proud to rise at the St Leger Festival, always a great occasion for Yorkshire racing, but on a personal level it was a little frustrating this year; still that’s racing and I’m fortunate to have enjoyed many more good days than bad this season.
Back to upcoming matters on the west coast, and I am looking forward to being on Two For Two in the handicap at 4.25pm. Although he hasn’t shown his best form at York this summer, beating only the ambulance home in the 55th John Smith’s Cup a couple of months ago, he has won at Ayr over the same mile that he races on tomorrow. He’s a nice handicapper and, as the saying goes “horses for courses”, fingers crossed it proves accurate.
The next racing at York is the last two days of the season. Countryside Day is on Friday, October 10, while the closing fixture of the year on Saturday, October 11 features the Coral Sprint Trophy. Early bird tickets are available for purchase for both days. Further details at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.