Dale Gibson - Racing Diary: Albasharah is looking in tune for success on Knavesmire tonight

IT’S a great weekend of racing at home and out of the county.

Dale Gibson

Not only are there two cracking cards at York tonight and tomorrow afternoon, but also Thirsk today and Pontefract on Sunday, plus the £1m King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Of course, visitors to Knavesmire for tomorrow’s Sky Bet-sponsored meeting will be able to catch the big Ascot races on television, so staying local seems like the best plan.

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Tonight is the only evening fixture of the year at York and includes an after-racing concert by Leeds band Kaiser Chiefs, which marks the first of two great performances during the track’s Music Showcase Weekend.

Tomorrow’s musical entertainment is from Little Mix, the only group to win X Factor.

The action later today begins at 6pm but my attention is taken by the feature event of the night, the Listed British Stallion Studs Supporting British Racing EBF Lyric Fillies’ Stakes 90 minutes later.

There are contenders for the record £40,000 prize from Yorkshire as well as from that Yorkshireman-in-exile William Haggas but it is a filly from one of the latter’s neighbours in Newmarket that takes my fancy.

Albasharah, from the yard of Saeed bin Suroor, is the top rated in the 10-furlong race and arrives at York after an impressive third in this month’s Lancashire Oaks at Haydock Park.

I believe she’ll have more fortune this side of the Pennines, with Reckoning her biggest rival, though Richard Fahey believes that Lady’s First can extend his bid for an eighth successive season as top handler on Knavesmire.

Before Kaiser Chiefs come on stage, the racing action finishes at 8.30pm in the Pinsent Masons LLP Stakes.

I believe Jofranka offers punters an outstanding chance to round off the night with a winner.

The filly is bidding for a hat-trick for Yorkshire trainer David Barron after victories at Nottingham and Pontefract over the last couple of months.

She will also have the assistance of excellent apprentice jockey Jason Hart, who lifts a very handy five pounds off the filly’s back.

After the concert tonight, the racecourse will be ready to welcome a big crowd of spectators for tomorrow’s exciting day of racing.

The centrepiece of the afternoon is the Group 2 Sky Bet York Stakes at 2.55pm.

It appears very significant that twice champion Flat jockey and former Yorkshire Post columnist Paul Hanagan has decided to bypass Ascot and ride at York in search of the £100,000 prize where he has been top jockey around Knavesmire on three occasions.

He has chosen Mukhadram, trained by William Haggas.

The colt was certainly not disgraced when second and then third to Al Kazeem in Group 1 company at Royal Ascot and in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park.

He is an excellent horse in his own right and I take him to have every chance tomorrow.

After that, I’m sure he’ll be back up to Group 1 races again, potentially in the Juddmonte International over the same course and distance come Wednesday, August 21. In 2011, Twice Over successfully achieved that very double.

Around the country at the moment there are some small fields of runners which has been caused by the recent heat-wave.

That’s not the case in the Sky Bet Dash at 3.30pm at York which will be contested by 20 runners.

The heart would love to see regular columnist Amy Ryan – she has been and continues to support her partner, seriously-ill jockey Brian Toomey – return to the saddle with success aboard her Royal Ascot horse Bogart.

However, using the head, I’m going to cheat and pick not one but two Yorkshire-trained horses to follow in the wide open six-furlong event which will be ultra-competitive.

The first is David O’Meara’s Dick Bos, which returns to these shores after a couple of outings at The Curragh in Ireland.

The second is Richard Fahey’s Farlow, last seen out when fifth in the Infinity Ecosis Tyres Stakes during the Dante Festival. The gelding was ridden that afternoon by Paul Hanagan.

Tomorrow, the already well-handicapped horse benefits from the assistance in the saddle of Samantha Bell, who will take seven pounds off her mount’s back.

I’ll round off with a quick look at the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

German-trained horse Novellist is bidding to keep the crown for Germany, after Danedream’s 2012 victory, but I believe the favourite – Cirrus Des Aigles – will have too much for his rivals.

He was beaten only by Frankel in last autumn’s QIPCO British Champion Stakes and is a wonderful horse.

Many in the fields over this weekend will reappear for the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival in three weeks’ time, so take careful notes.

Admission at York is available on the day with prices ranging from £10 to £36.

The scheduled first race times are 6pm and 1.50pm.

Accompanied under-16s are admitted free of charge to all areas.

More information can be found online at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk or by calling the course on 01904 620911.