I was hoping to be at Epsom for the Investec Derby Festival, but I’ll spend the weekend resting ahead of a medical scan to try to discover the root of my back problem.
A week ago at Haydock, my back went during the first race and I could barely stand when I dismounted. Such is the lot of a professional sportsman, but fingers crossed that the medics sort me out quickly.
It makes for a frustrating time, especially with such good racing – not only the big races at Epsom but also next weekend’s June Meeting at York.
I will know more after Monday about my prospects for a return to the saddle, but let’s hope the news is positive.
Most of David O’Meara’s horses are racing in the north today, with a couple at Epsom. I reckon quite a few could have good chances.
I particularly regretted missing the ride yesterday on Custom Cut in the Diomed Stakes, we’ve notched up Group race success together at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival and over Irish Champions Weekend and we know he handles the cambers of the Downs. For most of the home straight I thought David Nolan was going to get a winner in my stead, but the photo went to Tulius.
Today at Epsom, Loaves And Fishes, who came to us from Clive Cox’s yard in April, goes for the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes. She won a few days ago at Beverley, but stepping into group company is a big task; so it’s over to former The Yorkshire Post columnist Paul Hanagan to bring her home.
At Musselburgh, Lawless Louis is seeking a hat-trick of wins after scoring twice in Yorkshire last month. He’ll have a chance in the 2.50pm conditions race. I also rate Sunglider, who runs in the Edinburgh Cup at 3.25pm. Twice a runner-up last month at Yorkshire tracks after coming from Dermot Weld’s yard in Ireland, he could go that vital one better.
Alejandro is nicely handicapped to win the 4pm contest at the Scottish track after some glory days on Knavesmire had him carrying big weights, and a second spot on his seasonal debut augurs well.
Flyboy will have a very decent chance in the 5.40pm race at Doncaster. After winning for me at Haydock a week ago, he is a colt going places. Further progression still, perhaps to a classy mile handicap on John Smith’s Cup Day in July is in his compass.
North 120 miles and two-and-a-half hours later, Hard To Handel will have a big chance in the 8.10pm at Newcastle after a recent short-head second place at the same track.
Of course, the major focus of attention in racing today is the Investec Derby.
Can Wings Of Desire become the 11th colt to go on from victory in the Betfred Dante Stakes, York’s May showpiece, to glory at Epsom?
For good measure, the runner-up on Knavesmire – Deauville – is in the Classic mix today. It would be no surprise to see either winning, though the neutral would enjoy a flying dismount from Frankie Dettori, whose mount impressed at York.
The next racing at York is the June Meeting on Friday and Saturday, June 10-11. The latter is Macmillan Charity Race-day which, since 1971, has raised over £6.5m for good causes. Amateur riders will be taking part in the Best Western Hotels Macmillan Ride of their Lives. Find out more and book tickets at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.