I am plying my trade tomorrow at Haydock, but visitors to York should certainly take heed of the runners from David O’Meara’s yard on this side of the Pennines.
The opening contest on Knavesmire is backed by new racecourse sponsor Titanbet for which they have been rewarded with a competitive field of 16.
I’d say David is pretty determined to win this handicap! He has entered no fewer than five runners to try to secure the valuable prize-money.
Had I not been going to Haydock, which horse of the quintet would I have chosen to ride – Penitent, Ayr Gold Cup winner Louis The Pious, Al Khan, two-time York winner Alejandro or So Beloved?
That’s a very tricky one. I’m just glad I don’t have to choose because they will all have a chance. Al Khan is the one that is very much in form after winning his last two races for me in April at Catterick and Ayr, while apprentice jockey Shelley Birklett lifts three pounds off the back of the top weight Louis The Pious.
It looks a cracking contest from our stable alone, never mind with 11 rivals! It’s a fascinating race to get proceedings under way at York. The whole afternoon looks excellent racing as befits the first Saturday meeting of the season.
The feature events look classy as ever at York. That’s the Listed Stowe Family Law LLP Grand Cup and the Titanbet.co.uk Spring Sprint. Though Saturday is set fair, the rain forecast before then would help the cause of another dual York winner, the Peter Niven-trained Clever Cookie, who was involved in a dead heat for the Listed race 12 months ago.
The other race in which David O’Meara has a horse engaged is the LAR Asbestos Removal Stakes at 3.30pm. That is Saved By The Bell, who I think would have a very decent chance. He has winning form from last year at York.
Getting back to my own rides, I am at Newcastle this afternoon, followed by a single mount at Catterick this evening.
Showing there is no sentiment in this game, Haughmond, in the 2.10pm at Gosforth Park, is the horse I was kicked by in the paddock at Haydock a week ago, requiring me to go to hospital for a check. Whilst he is not my personal favourite, trainer Karl Burke thinks well of him and he ran well on his debut at Newmarket last month. Fingers crossed, there are no accidents today.
Classic Flyer returns to the track where he won last September. This is his first run of the season and, assuming he’s race-ready, then he would probably be my best chance of the day. He’s turned into a nice three-year-old and runs at 5.25pm.
Bond Bombshell, my sole ride in Yorkshire at 7.05pm, has yet to get her head in front in four outings, but is a consistent sort and it shouldn’t be long before she’s in the winners’ enclosure.
I have some very nice horses to ride at Haydock tomorrow, including my victorious horse from the Dante Festival at York.
David O’Meara and I were pleasantly surprised when The Tempest won on her seasonal debut at Beverley. She will have come on for that race and would stand a decent chance in the opening contest at 1.25pm.
I won on Kleo at York last summer for Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani and he goes for the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes.
The horse I’m most looking forward to getting on board is That Is The Spirit, who goes for the Group 3 Timeform Jury Stakes. He won at Haydock earlier this month, following on from three wins in 2014, including one during the Dante Festival.
Out Do was a nice winner for me at York. His top form is on the better ground he found on Knavesmire, so I’d be hoping that the forecast rain misses Haydock for him to be seen at his best in the 3.10pm race.
Karl Burke thinks a great deal of Glenalmond, which is why he aimed him at the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. Ridden by Kieren Fallon, I just don’t think he stayed the mile distance in the Newmarket Classic. The Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes could offer a better opportunity.
My final ride tomorrow is Shahdaroba at 4.55pm. He won at Nottingham a week ago and wouldn’t be without a chance of making it a quick-fire double.
York details on www.yorkracecourse.co.uk. Gates for the May Spring Meeting tomorrow open at 11.15am. Racing starts at 1.45pm.