Since 1843, tens of thousands of spectators have made an annual pilgrimage to York for Ebor Day and I hope they’ll be cheering on a couple of winners that I will be riding.
The opener – the Group 3 Sky Bet And Symphony Group Strensall Stakes – has happy memories for both trainer David O’Meara and myself.
We won it in 2014 and 2015 with Custom Cut and Mondialiste, respectively.
Lord Glitters is likely to be favourite to make it a third success for the stable in five seasons.
If ever there was a horse knocking on the door, it’s this five-year-old, who has gone from smart handicapper to Group quality this term.
He was runner-up in the Lincoln at Doncaster for me and in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Most recently, he was placed in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. He’s very consistent so, on that form, he should win this afternoon (and I rarely stick my neck out like that!)
Just over half-an-hour later, I partner Mekong for Sir Michael Stoute in the richest running of the Sky Bet Melrose.
He won last time at Chelmsford, is still well handicapped and Ryan Moore – who has ridden him at home at Newmarket – tells me that he likes him.
Suedois goes for the Sky Bet City Of York Stakes at 3pm. He was third in this Group 3 a year ago, has come to himself in his last couple of runs and went very close in Group 2 company at Goodwood. Today, I’ll hold him up in a race in which Expert Eye, a Royal Ascot winner carrying the famous green and pink silks of Prince Khalid Abdullah, is definitely the one that we all have to beat.
Then it’s the showpiece race of the day, the £500,000 Sky Bet Ebor, the oldest and most famous race at York with a heritage dating back to 1843.
It would be fantastic to win it for the first time, especially as it’s the most valuable it has ever been.
My mount this year is Amanda Perrett’s Platitude, who was trained by Sir Michael Stoute until a few months ago, and is one that has done well in a couple of races since the switch from Newmarket to Sussex.
Drawn in stall one, we should have a sneaky chance.
I finish the afternoon in the Listed Julia Graves Roses Stakes at 4.15pm. World Order, trained by Declan Carroll in Malton and owned by Clipper Logistics (who have already landed the big Goffs UK Sales race this week), won well last Sunday at Pontefract when wearing blinkers for the first time.
This is a step up, so could be a bit of an ask, such is the highly competitive nature of every race at this festival.
All in all, I could hardly be happier with my rides this afternoon. Touch wood, I’ll be smiling at the end a day when the horses will be competing for a cool £1.1m in prize money.
Do come and see it for yourself!
The final day of York’s Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival is today, with gates open from 11am. Find out more at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk