York Racecourse’s June meeting holds happy memories for me from 12 months ago when I enjoyed three winners on the opening day.
This time around I’m riding north of the border at Musselburgh this afternoon, but I am hoping that I can get among the winners on Macmillan Charity Day at Knavesmire tomorrow in front of a big crowd.
My week started well in Yorkshire with a double at Pontefract. It would be perfect to finish it off tomorrow at York with a winner as well.
Back to today and, after a late finish at Haydock Park last night, I’m off to East Lothian for a book of rides.
My best chance of entering the winner’s enclosure will be on my closing ride of the afternoon – Iceblast in the handicap race at 4.30pm.
The four-year-old was a regular around York Racecourse last season, running no fewer than six times. He’s now off a handicap mark 23lb lower than his highest last year and has probably been a bit unlucky to have scored only once in his racing career.
Today, he has a nice draw in stall two and I think he has a chance of adding to his tally.
Distant Sun wouldn’t be without a chance earlier in the afternoon in the 1.20pm race.
He’s eight years old and is a course and distance winner at Musselburgh. He was second at Hamilton Park just over a week ago and should run well today.
On to tomorrow and the men will be staying inside during the first race – the Queen Mother’s Cup for lady amateur riders!
Won by HRH The Princess Royal in 1988, the winning rider collects her weight in Pol Roger Champagne so it might be a good afternoon to be around the Weighing Room!
I open up my afternoon on Barren Brook in the Ladbrokes.com Handicap at 2.35pm.
He has winning form for me at this corresponding meeting 12 months ago. He’s a horse that goes well at Knavesmire. Any York handicap is certainly a competitive affair and tomorrow’s race will be no exception but I think my horse, who ran well enough in the William Hill Lincoln at the start of the season, will run a big race.
Thirty-five minutes later and I’m on board Boris Grigoriev in the Bond Tyres Trophy.
Originally trained in the Emerald Isle by Aidan O’Brien, the three-year-old has yet to win on this side of the Irish Sea, but he has now come down in the weights and he is another that I think could run well tomorrow.
My best chance of a winner tomorrow, though, will be on Caranbola in the Charles Henry Memorial Handicap at 5.15pm. She was eighth in the corresponding race last June, but should do better this time.
She’s an experienced mare that is in form after I rode her to victory at Beverley earlier this month. She’s a bit of a Beverley specialist, with six of her career wins coming in the East Riding. North Yorkshire trainer Mel Brittain’s horses are performing well at present and I’m hopeful of a good run.
Next week sees one of the biggest events of the Flat racing calendar – Royal Ascot. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out to see how some of the Yorkshire-trained horses get on, especially Mick Easterby’s Hoof It, who is set to take on unbeaten mare Black Caviar in the newly named Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
The Australian mare’s story is certainly a remarkable one and it will be interesting to see how she gets on in her first race in the northern hemisphere.
Those who read my column last week will know that I went on a continental adventure to Munich Racecourse in Germany on Sunday where I had one winner from my three rides.
It’s not just the forthcoming racing that is lighting up Knavesmire. The Olympic Torch Relay will be at the racecourse on Tuesday evening.
It’s a free event complete with a concert by Katy-B. Details at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.
There’s racing at York today and tomorrow. Saturday features not only the Bond Tyres Trophy and the 24th running of the Queen Mother’s Cup but also the inaugural Macmillan Charity Race (5.45pm). Gates are open from 11.15pm, with first race times of 2pm and 2.05pm on respective days. On-day admission ranges from £5 to £24 today and £7 to £35 tomorrow. Accompanied Under-16s are admitted free. More information at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk or call 01904 620911.