The horses are running well for me, with eight winners in the space of six days since this time last week. I want that record to keep going on Epsom Downs over the next 24 hours.
The pick from my quartet of rides this afternoon would be York winner That is The Spirit.
He won the Conundrum HR Consulting Stakes at the Dante Festival last month. That was only the second race for this three-year-old and he remains unbeaten.
Having stepped up into handicap company last time, he must step up again today in the Listed Surrey Stakes at 4.45pm.
He’s definitely up to racing in this class. The question will be whether he handles the undulations of the Downs which is not the most straightforward track. He won’t mind some ease in the ground and with rain forecast that’s to his advantage.
In the opening race today, at 1.35pm, I am on board Odeliz in the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes. This is actually a drop in grade for her after she was placed in the Group 2 Betfred Middleton Stakes at the Dante Festival. Penitent is my mount in the Group 3 Diomed Stakes at 2.45pm today. He’s clearly in good form and the more rain that falls the better.
My final ride at 5.20pm is another horse which ran at York’s Dante Festival. Indeed, Bretherton was seventh under my weighing room colleague Ryan Moore in the race that That is The Spirit won.
I have a trio of runners tomorrow on Investec Derby day.
Smoothtalkinrascal aims to go one better than his runner-up spot in last year’s Investec “Dash”.
This is his grade and he races well at Epsom.
Open Eagle comes back to a mile-and-a-half in a handicap at 4.50pm. Last autumn he won and was placed in two races, and, if he comes back to that form, then we may well help your placepot.
Bondesire is a tough sprinter and goes for the final race. She is in good form, typified by her victory at Chester a week ago.
Of course, the feature tomorrow is the Invectec Derby itself. Aidan O’Brien’s Australia is a short-priced favourite, but it’s a big field. I think it’s quite an open race. It would certainly be worth taking careful note of the Group 2 Betfred Dante Stakes at York though. Nine Derby winners and many more placed horses have won at York before going on to Epsom Downs.
The Grey Gatsby showed the quality of this season’s renewal by winning the French Derby for Kevin Ryan. The colts behind him in the Dante Stakes were Arod and True Story. For the ‘stattos’ out there, only one horse has ever been beaten at York to then triumph at Epsom – so will either of those follow Workforce into the history books?
The next racing at York Racecourse is Friday and Saturday 13 and 14 June. Saturday features not only the BetBright Charity Sprint Trophy, the most valuable sprint handicap for three-year-old horses in Europe, but also the third Macmillan Charity Race which will be contested by amateur riders raising money for charity.
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.