After so many weeks out of the saddle because of my injured hand, it was a tremendous feeling to be back among the winners again, particularly as they came at York last weekend.
Tens of thousands of spectators will, of course, remember the two days because of the great racing and concerts by Sir Tom Jones and Scouting For Girls.
I’ll commit it to memory for victories on He’s No Saint and Big Thunder.
He’s No Saint was impressive and won very easily indeed in the Novus Stakes last Friday evening – perhaps a bit too easily when we consider what the official handicapper might do!
I had highlighted him out in last week’s column as the pick of my quartet of rides that night – and that’s how it panned out. That was his first win in Britain after being successful in Ireland and Dubai.
Big Thunder had lost his way at his previous stables. Sometimes a change of scenery and air can do a horse a world of good. That certainly proved to be the case with him in his first run for trainer David O’Meara in the Sky Bet Supporting Yorkshire Air Ambulance Stakes.
The two days were a very pleasing return to Knavesmire and it was thrilling to win twice in front of some very big crowds.
I can’t wait to be back at the racecourse next month when there will be more large attendances and a cracking atmosphere for the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
The four days begin on Wednesday, August 19 when the Juddmonte International could feature a mouth-watering clash between Investec Derby winner Golden Horn, QIPCO 2000 Guineas victor Gleneagles and local Yorkshire hero The Grey Gatsby.
Last Saturday was the penultimate day of the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival and I enjoyed another winner as the event came to a conclusion on the Sunday at Pontefract.
If that wasn’t pleasing enough, I rode four more winners over the next three days, at Ayr, Beverley – where I had a double – and at Redcar.
The big meeting in Britain this week is Glorious Goodwood and I pop down for three rides today on the South Downs.
Epsom trainer Michael Attwater’s German-bred Firestorm is the lowest rated among the seven runners in the Group 3 Glorious Stakes at 2pm and might need to find a bit if he is to be in the shake-up.
My next two rides go into their races with victories at York behind them. That can only stand them in good stead.
So Beloved, a winner on Knavesmire at the end of May, will be suited by a large field of runners at Goodwood. He’s a lovely horse and I think he will run well. If he does, he won’t be too far away in the Betfred Mile at 3.10pm.
Out Do goes for the King George Stakes. He’s won twice at York this season and is in cracking good form.
The yard also has Moving Time in the Group 2 contest at 3.45pm and it was a tricky decision about which one to choose. I think my mount has a good chance and the race could set him up nicely for the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes on Friday, August 21 at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival in which Moving Time is also still engaged.
On to tomorrow and I take five rides at Thirsk. I like the north Yorkshire track, especially so because it’s the closest to my home.
Lady Wootton is my mount for Scottish trainer Keith Dalgleish in the opener at 1.50pm. The yard likes this filly, who was mid-division on her racecourse debut.
She comes back in trip for her second start and that should bode well.
Pearl Blue would appreciate soft going in the 3pm handicap. I think she’s now coming into some form, but the mare needs a bit of cut in the ground.
David O’Meara is certainly aiming to win the Thirsk Summer Cup at 4.10pm – he’s declared four for the race in a field of 18!
My pick is Zacynthus, who won at York last autumn. He’s won at Ayr and been placed at Wetherby this month, so he is in good form and he’s been working well at home.
My colleague Sam James goes down to Goodwood tomorrow for the big betting race of the year, the Stewards’ Cup.
He rides David O’Meara’s Algar Lad, who got a bit boxed in during the Sky Bet Dash at York last Saturday. At an attractive price, he could be in with a shout in my view.
York’s oldest, richest, fastest and most famous races provide sporting excellence combined with fashion and fun over the four days of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
The traditional highlight of the season starts on Wednesday, August 19 and runs for four days, finishing with the Betfred Ebor on the Saturday.
Find out more and book tickets at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk