Daniel Tudhope - In the Saddle: Sunshine welcomed but rain would boost my Yorkshire Cup bid

SPECTATORS heading for the Dante Festival will be relishing the sun.

Daniel Tudhope.

I’ll have been hoping for a little drop of rain overnight, however, to enhance my chances in today’s feature race, the Group 2 Betway Yorkshire Cup.

It’s a prestigious contest and part of the QIPCO British Champions Series. My mount, Clever Cookie, loves York – he’s won at the racecourse three times already – but he would like some moisture in the ground.

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He’s trained near Malton by Peter Niven and comes into today’s race over a mile-and-three quarters in good form after finishing runner-up in a Group 3 at Ascot at the end of last month. If conditions are suitable, he’ll have a good chance as part of a quartet of rides for me this afternoon. Coolfitch won on her debut at Ripon a month ago and will improve still further in the 2.55pm Langleys Solicitors EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes.

Being a Listed contest at York, it’s guaranteed to be a good race, but I’m expecting a big run from my filly.

Fattsota, a little bit of a veteran at eight years and forty-six runs during his career, is fresh and well and I’m hoping for a good performance on his seasonal debut in the competitive handicap that is the Betway Jorvik Stakes at 4.40pm.

After a near-miss on Royal Ascot-bound Suedois in Wednesday’s Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, I’ll be aiming to round off the Dante Festival with a winner today.

I’ve enjoyed my time in the new Weighing Room at York while racegoers discover our former home, now known as the Edwardian Weighing Room; but it’s a scoot around the wider Weighing Rooms of the county over the weekend.

No fewer than nine rides at Thirsk in the afternoon and Doncaster in the evening will keep me busy. The better of my chances will come in South Yorkshire.

Bond Bombshell is probably my best ride at the track closest to my home.

She was third on her seasonal debut at Musselburgh. She should improve on that and could run a big race tomorrow in the 2.50pm handicap.

It’s odd for me never to have ridden a David O’Meara-trained horse, but that’s the case with Signore Piccolo who raced 10 times for the yard in 2015, but with other jockeys in the saddle while I twiddled my broken thumb. That changes in the 4.35pm handicap when the five-year-old makes his 2016 debut. He could have a squeak.

Then it’s a quick dash down the A1 in time for the 6.15pm maiden race on Town Moor and for what I believe is my best chance of a Saturday winner. That’s on board Insurplus, a Jim Goldie-trained gelding who was third on his debut at Ayr last month. I think he’s a nice horse, he came home well in that race and I rate his chances.

All About Time, who goes in the fillies’ handicap an hour later, is lightly-raced. I won on her twice last year from three outings and she won’t be far away tomorrow evening.

Sunday will almost certainly see me in action at Ripon. It’s nice to be spending the weekend in Yorkshire – that’s the way I like it.

And while the Dante Festival has got the year off to a great start at York, it won’t be long before we’re racing again on Knavesmire.

May 21 is the first Saturday fixture of York’s season when the feature contest is the Weddingmates.co.uk Grand Cup.

As a Listed race it means the quality is good and it will take some winning.

Daniel submitted this column before his fall in the 4.15pm race at York yesterday.

It is possible that his riding plans will be changed as a result of that.

The Dante Festival concludes today, with the highlight being the Group 2 Betway Yorkshire Cup. Admission ranges from £7-34. York’s first Saturday on 21st May. Find out more and book tickets at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk