Thoughts are turning in earnest to the major races at York in July and August.
Not only am I aiming to return from injury in time for the John Smith’s Cup meeting which starts a fortnight today, but two of trainer David O’Meara’s three entries for the £150,000 heritage handicap – the longest sponsored race in Flat racing – are also in action tomorrow.
Indeed, the horse boxes are going far and wide as nine horses travel to five meetings … from Newcastle to Windsor.
On Monday, I will get the cast off my hand. My injured thumb is certainly healing and I should know then when I am likely to be back in the saddle. I am hoping it will be as early as next weekend.
I took advantage of the enforced break with a week’s holiday in Tunisia with my family.
The batteries are now totally recharged.
Of David O’Meara’s runners today, I would pick out two from this evening’s meetings.
Spryt, fresh from victory at Hamilton Park just over a week ago, goes in a handicap at 6.30pm at Chester. He’s a nice horse and one that I’m looking forward to riding when I return from injury.
The other is Newcastle specialist Classic Flyer who runs in the finale at Gosforth Park.
He’s won his last two races at the north east racecourse – and that’s in addition to a win there last September. He certainly likes the track.
The yard has two targeting the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at 2pm. I’d say that Watchable is likely to have a better chance than That Is The Spirit.
The latter is still a very talented horse too though, having won at York’s Dante Festival last year.
Keep an eye on both Fort Bastion in the 3.20pm at Windsor and Chancery in the 4.35pm at Newmarket. What is significant is that they are two of David O’Meara’s three entries for the 56th running of the John Smith’s Cup at York a fortnight tomorrow.
The ante-post betting market would suggest that Fort Bastion is the likeliest of the trio to win at Knavesmire – and I would agree.
It’s a race that the yard always targets.
I was fifth on Chancery over the ten furlongs in 2014.
Who can defeat the current ante-post favourite Lightning Spear, unbeaten in four races? Get along to York and see.
Although I am certain to be at York for the first day of the John Smith’s Cup, because of the busy summer schedule on that Saturday in July I am likely to be riding G Force in the Group 1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket – though as I discovered at Catterick things in racing can change!
G Force, is of course entered for the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival in August.
The entries for some of the major contests at York’s big summer festival were made this week, including the Juddmonte International, now officially recognised as the best horse race in the world.
Although it’s early days for yards to be making very specific running plans, the quality of horses entered – including Investec Derby hero Golden Horn and dual QIPCO Guineas winners Gleneagles and Legatissimo – makes for a mouth-watering contest on August 19.
If I didn’t get in free as a jockey, I’d certainly be buying a ticket!
The next racing at York is the two-day John Smith’s Cup meeting on Friday and Saturday, July 10 and 11. Find out more and book tickets at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.