I am so disappointed to be missing these next two days at York as I recover from the back injury I sustained last month. But I am hoping to get the all-clear later today and aim to be back in the saddle on Monday and riding at Royal Ascot.
A week ago, I was doing little more than walking, but I’ve been swimming and by Wednesday this week I was feeling a lot better. Fingers crossed that my hospital appointment today gives the green light.
Yorkshire trainer David O’Meara has 20 runners across the races on Knavesmire and I think quite a number of them have winning chances.
The opener at 2pm today is poignant in that it is a memorial race to late trainer Mel Brittain, who passed away 13 months ago. He was a great supporter of young jockeys so is fondly remembered in the Weighing Room and in Warthill, where both he was and now O’Meara is based.
O’Meara runs two, both making their debuts, and the pick for me is Dundunah. She’s impressed on the gallops and could get off to the perfect start.
The yard is playing an exceptionally strong hand in the Jigsaw Sports Branding Handicap at 3.45pm. I would not rule out any of the trio of Rex Imperator, Alejandro and Regal Dan, who won its last two runnings and who is 3lb well in compared to last year.
After an encouraging performance at Newcastle last time, I wouldn’t put it past Rural Celebration to offer a big performance in the richest race of the day, the £30,000 EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies Stakes at 4.20pm. It is a great initiative by the sponsor, to encourage owners of these types of horses, by backing such a series.
Kip is going the right way after a victory at Ripon earlier this month. As it is an apprentice contest, at least I won’t have missed out if Josh Doyle guides her home in the ripleycollection.com Stakes at 5.20pm.
I can rest easy as Saturday’s action kicks off with the 28th running of the Queen Mother’s Cup, dedicated to lady amateur riders. Burano ran a decent race over course and distance last month when he was fourth and it would be great if Shauna Curtis could bring some of the GH Mumm champagne that goes to the winning rider up to the yard.
Alfred Hutchinson in the colours of Pocklington businessman Reg Bond and That Is the Spirit are both former York winners and I’d have difficulty splitting them in the betstars.co.uk Home Of Spin & Bet Stakes at 2.25pm.
Lathom ran promisingly in last weekend’s ‘Dash’ at Epsom so deserves a tilt at the 888sport Charity Sprint. Given its prize- money of £100,000, it is no surprise that past winner include Sheikh Albadou and Twilight Son; it would be nice to think of him as my comeback Group One ride later in the year!
O’Meara sends four horses into the Ice Co Supporting Macmillan Stakes at 4.10pm. Jacbequick won at Beverley this week and comes out quickly seeking a double.
However, I envy Sam James, who takes the leg up on Terhaal.
Tomorrow is a tremendous day at York, Macmillan Charity Day, not least because it builds on 46 years of popularity with racing fans and just by attending you can help boost the £6.7m already raised for good causes.
The charity auction is available to view online in advance. Visit www.macmillanyorkraceday.com for more information and to make a bid.
York races are today and tomorrow. Find out more and book tickets at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk