There is of course plenty of Irish interest in the St Leger too, with Aidan O’Brien having five chances among 12 runners to complete a sixth victory in the race, though John Gosden’s Lah Ti Dar is set to be favourite, while Godolphin’s Group Two Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes winner Old Persian is also in the field.
My priority is with Laurens, trained at Leyburn by Karl Burke, targeting the Coolmore Matron Stakes at 5.25pm on the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown. After Group One triumphs in France she’ll be aiming to bounce back from a disappointment of not staying a mile-and-a-half in the Group One Darley Yorkshire Oaks during the Ebor Festival.
The life of a jockey is about taking opportunities when they arise, because one never knows what ups and literal downs are just around the corner. That was the case with my weighing-room colleague PJ McDonald – Laurens’s regular pilot – when he took a fall at Newcastle. It’s really bad luck for PJ, but I’ve been in his shoes. As we all know, there’s a reason why an ambulance follows jockeys in their work.
Laurens is definitely a ride to relish. I sat on her last week and she’s in good form, but it will be a tough race with Jessica Harrington’s Alpha Centauri among her six opponents.
In the Group 1 QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, fans of York form will take note of Group 1 Juddmonte International winner Roaring Lion’s participation; Saxon Warrior re-opposes.
I break new ground at Leopardstown with my first rides for Irish trainers Willie Mullins and Edward Lynam.
I certainly cannot recall being on board a horse that Ruby Walsh has ridden previously! However, that’s the case with Law Girl, my first of a quartet of opportunities at the Dublin track. The five-year-old mare was running over hurdles – including a win at Roscommon – until a year ago, but has been campaigned on the Flat this season with some success.
Then I take the reins on Fas for Edward Lynam in the Group 2 Boomerang Stakes, sponsored by Clipper Logistics, my own sponsor and great supporters of York. He needs to rediscover the form he showed in France last year before he switched to Ireland.
Although my final ride today, the David O’Meara-trained Escobar, in the 7.10pm handicap has not been given a favourable draw, I expect him to run well.
Then it’s off to France and Longchamp tomorrow for me. Fashion Queen, owned by Clipper Logistics, has winning Listed form at York and races for the fourth time on the Continent in the Prix Du Petit Couvert.
The final fixtures of the year at York are Countryside Day and Coral Sprint Trophy Day on Friday and Saturday, 12 and 13 October. Find out more at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk