TOMORROW will be a special day when I ride for Her Majesty The Queen for the first time. I’m delighted it will be another memorable occasion at York.
This is a real fillip after a difficult week as a result of a bad fall on the second day of the Dante Festival. The York vets (and doctors) got to us very quickly but sadly there was nothing that could be done for my mount, Areen, as the post mortem now proves he had a massive heart attack.
It could have been worse for me, but I was bed bound for a few days, on medication which meant I wasn’t feeling at all well and I had to delay returning until Wednesday at Ayr.
After missing the final day of the Dante Festival and a winner in Clever Cookie in the Group 2 Betway Yorkshire Cup, I’m really pleased to be back in time for York’s first Saturday, tomorrow.
It’s exciting to be on Diploma for Sir Michael Stoute in the final race for professional jockeys, the Infinity Tyres Breeders Backing Racing EBF Fillies’ Stakes at 4.55pm. This will be my second ride for him. I will feel most honoured and privileged to pull on the famous royal silks for the first time.
The three-year-old was also bred by HM The Queen and this is the first time the filly has raced away from Newmarket. She won on the July Course last summer for my weighing room colleague Ted Durcan, so it will be interesting if she can bring that form to Knavesmire.
I have a really nice book of six rides tomorrow afternoon, with Salateen in the opening titanbet.co.uk Stakes at 2.05pm perhaps the best among them. He has winning form at York and that’s always a good sign.
It’s not often that I ride a horse whose only previous race was in a major National Hunt bumper, but that’s the case in the feature race of the afternoon, the Listed weddingmates.co.uk Grand Cup at 2.40pm. The Minch was placed in the Aintree bumper during the Grand National meeting. I don’t know much about him, but it will certainly be an interesting ride.
Maraakib – my mount in the 3.15 – came into some cracking form last autumn and ran up a sequence of victories. He was a shade unlucky last time out when fourth at Ripon.
I’m pleased to have been booked by North Yorkshire trainer Paul Midgley to ride his recent acquisition, Ninjago, who goes for the richest prize of the day, the £50,000 Titanbet.co.uk Spring Sprint at 3.50pm.
By the end of the afternoon, I hope to have had at least one winner, fingers crossed that it gets me an invite to the Palace!
Off the track, racegoers will have the chance to get close to a racehorse too as Yorkshire-based equine charity, New Beginnings, is bringing Harry, a thoroughbred who raced at York in 1994 using his professional name of Golden Hello. You’ll also be able to listen to three different live bands during the afternoon; so whether the regimental band of the Yorkshire Regiment, the indie pop sound of The Y Street Band or the cool covers of The Monotones are your thing, all can be enjoyed at the Knavesmire.
Before the headline action of the weekend at York tomorrow, I take three rides this evening at Catterick. Principal among them would probably be First Bombardment in the 7.40pm handicap. He finally got his head in front at Beverley earlier this month and I wouldn’t be surprised if he followed up.
The first Saturday at York tomorrow, with admission from £10, under 18’s go free. Gates open at 11.15am. Find out more and book tickets at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.