Following the form of Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival winners is always good advice and it could pay dividends again this weekend.
Firmament was a worthy victor of the Clipper Logistics Stakes for me – and I hope the horse can show just how good he is in the feature race at Ascot tomorrow.
It would cap an excellent season for him if he was able to land the Tote-sponsored Challenge Cup heritage handicap at 3.40pm. This race has been the target since York; and touch wood the ground is quick enough for him as that is how he likes it.
Trainer David O’Meara is double-handed in the race as Intisaab, twice a runner-up on Knavesmire this summer, will be ridden by my weighing-room colleague Shelley Birkett.
Firmament is my sole ride at the Berkshire racecourse tomorrow, but I am in action three times there this afternoon.
The one from the trio to pick is Mijhaar whose best effort to date was when second at Ayr earlier this month. In truth he might well have won that day. He should benefit from wearing a visor for the second time.
Tomorrow evening, it’s off to the all-weather track at Wolverhampton for three rides.
Ustinov, in the 7.10pm handicap, has been in good form and will have a great chance.
At Wolves I will see at close quarters the battle for the Stobart Flat Jockeys’ Championship which is a two-runner race between Silvestre De Sousa and Jim Crowley.
Jim holds the whip hand at present and it’s quite possible that the two-day meeting at York in a week’s time could be pivotal in the destination of the title race.
Sunday sees me at Chantilly riding Suedois in the Prix de la Foret.
He has three victories to his name at the home of the French Derby as well as a runner-up spot in York’s Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes back in May, but Sunday’s seven-furlong race is a hot one.
In the Arc, I fancy Postponed to follow up his fantastic win in the Juddmonte International at York and complete an historic season for him.
Closer to home and it would have taken something close to Frankie’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ of 20 years ago for me to eclipse the front-runners in York’s top jockey race, which comes to a climax a week tomorrow.
Currently, Frankie and Andrea Atzeni sit tied on seven winners apiece in the Living North-backed championship. After a frustrating season at my favourite track, I’ve managed just the two winners with twice as many second places, but I won’t be adding to them as I am off to Keeneland in the United States to ride Mondialiste in the Shadwell Turf Mile a week tomorrow.
However, I will maintain an interest in the races for leading jockey and trainer at York. David O’Meara has the same two winners as myself and a yet more frustrating eight second places – though he has had a strong record at the final meeting of the year over the years. His local rival Richard Fahey has eight on the board, three clear of the field, and so is a warm favourite to claim his eighth York title and the unusual prize of a pair of Charles Clinkard shoes!
The final racing at York this year is on Friday 7 (Countryside Day) and Saturday 8 October (October Finale). Find out more and book tickets at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.