Guest columnist Dale Gibson rode many winners at York and now serves as executive director (racing) of the Professional Jockeys’ Association. He writes:
It can be a long season for an in-demand jockey like Danny, so his enforced holiday through injury might not prove such a bad thing.
Of course, he will be disappointed to have not been fit to partner Amazing Maria to victory in the Group Two Duke of Cambridge at Royal Ascot on Wednesday but time spent with his young family will be a significant consolation.
It has already been another successful week in Berkshire for Yorkshire yards, as Mark Johnston trained Buratino to victory in the Coventry Stakes.
It hardly seems a decade since the same Middleham handler produced two winners at Royal Ascot at York, courtesy of Bandari and Melrose Avenue.
He has more ammunition yet during the final days of this racing showcase. Amongst them is Yorkidding in the Ascot finale today. Partnered again by Silvestre De Sousa, the filly holds a strong claim after the duo were the last leg of a memorable four-timer at York on the final day of the Dante Festival.
Star of the David O’Meara yard, G Force, found the ground against him in Berkshire in the Kings Stand but when reunited with his regular rider, in more autumnal conditions, a defence of his Group One Haydock Sprint Cup crown remains a possibility.
The other Yorkshire-trained Group One winner, The Grey Gatsby, was an unlucky and fast finishing second in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
Trainer Kevin Ryan intends to bring his stable star back to York for the Juddmonte International on Wednesday,August 19.
Easton Angel, a gallant runner-up in the Queen Mary Stakes on Wednesday for Michael Dods, and Paul Mulrennan could also run at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, along with the impressive winner, US-trained Acapulco.
Looking at the racing action this weekend, I like the look of Adaay in the inaugural running of the Commonwealth Cup for three-year-olds. He won well at Haydock Park last month and seems to be improving.
York Lowther Stakes winner Tiggy Wiggy, could be his prime opponent.
Tomorrow, Richard Fahey-trained Tatlisu scrapes into the ever competitive Wokingham Stakes. He was unlucky at York last month and with Ryan Moore, already paid as top rider of the royal meeting, in the saddle, he is a likeable sort in this most competitive of races.
Even if Danny were writing this column, he might struggle to nominate which of the four contenders from his home yard of David O’Meara’s goes with the best chance.
I suspect he would have taken the leg up on Algar Lad, am improving sort after a Knavesmire win last month.
Earlier on the card, Snow Sky, representing Prince Khalid Abdullah for Sir Michael Stoute, can complement his success in The Betway Yorkshire Cup at the Dante Festival, by taking the Hardwicke Stakes.
Despite dropping back in trip, he is battle-hardened and has every chance.
Before Danny returns to the column there is racing in the county at Wetherby and Catterick.
He will be hoping to return to the saddle in time for the next meeting at York, as the atmosphere of John Smith’s Cup day on Saturday, July 11 is a special one for any rider.
The next racing at York is the John Smith’s Cup meeting on Friday and Saturday July 10 and 11.
The feature race on the opening day is the Group 3 888sport Summer Stakes.
Admission ranges from £5 to £25 (Friday) and £9 to £38 (Saturday). Under 18s are admitted free of charge.
Booking and special offers at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.