I do not ride at Glorious Goodwood very often so it was very satisfying to get my first winner there at the festival meeting – and even better that So Beloved gave David O’Meara his 500th career winner.
I wrote last week that I thought the big field of runners in the mile handicap on the South Downs would suit the five-year-old, who had registered his first win of the year at York in May, and so it proved.
It turned into a cracking weekend for the yard, with Amazing Maria winning another Group One success, this time over the Channel at Deauville, helped by the local knowledge of Olivier Peslier.
In terms of career winners, I’m still ahead of the boss, though, as I’m proud to be approaching 600 and, hopefully, I can add one or two more, this evening and tomorrow.
My good form and good fortune continued earlier this week at Ripon and Catterick.
It is Newmarket’s July Course for me later today; then tomorrow it is Haydock Park for Britain’s feature card of the day, followed in the evening by Ayr, a track just down the road from where I grew up.
So a fair few miles will go on the clock by the time I get home in the small hours of Sunday. I can’t complain as not every meeting can be at Thirsk or York – and the miles fly by when you’re riding winners.
It is a rare treat of an afternoon with the family before heading to Newmarket for this evening’s meeting.
These days it is not unusual for me to be riding when Sir Tom Jones is singing! I was at York when ‘The Voice’ helped set a new UK record for evening attendance on what was leg eight of the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival. Sir Tom is on the green, green grass of the July Course after the racing is finished tonight.
I am down in East Anglia for two rides. Supreme Occasion comes back in trip in the handicap at 7.55pm. She did not stay 10 furlongs on Knavesmire last time, but she’s returning to form and I am hopeful of a good run as I think the track at Newmarket will suit.
Highland Acclaim, my mount half-an-hour later, has winning form at York but has lost his way. He has run well and won at Newmarket before, so, fingers crossed, I can get him back to his previous best.
I open up with Balducci at Haydock at 1.50pm tomorrow. Quick ground will suit a horse who is good on his day.
Ingleby Angel, who goes in the 2.20pm handicap, was a winner on his run before last, but it’s possible that his handicap mark is restricting his chances now.
Fattsota contests the feature Group Three contest at 2.55pm.
He is a lovely horse and, although it’s quite a hot race, I think he could be dangerous and is a big player. He has run well this season, including at Royal Ascot.
After I drive cross the border, I partner Blue Sonic in the 7.10pm at Ayr.
The grey mare won just over a week ago across at the same track and could follow up.
Dreese, I reckon, could give me my best prospect of a winner tomorrow. He ran a decent race last time when finishing mid-division at York. He’ll appreciate the likely cut in the ground at 7.40pm.
I round off the evening at Ayr on Bahamian Desert an hour later. He won last time at Musselburgh and could make it two wins on the trot north of the border.
Looking further ahead, it’s just 12 days to the start of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York on Wednesday, August 19.
So, next week, I’ll assess my own prospects for rides in the 25 races that offer a record £3.8m in prize money.
We have hopes for several of the famous contests, notably in the Group One Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes and the Betfred Ebor itself.
A cracking renewal of the Juddmonte International on the opening day is in prospect with Investec Derby winner Golden Horn being targeted at the £850,000 contest.
The Grey Gatsby, based across the fields at Kevin Ryan’s Hambleton yard, will provide the local competition. It all adds up to a wonderful festival of racing, fashion, food and fun.
York’s oldest, richest, fastest and most famous races provide sporting excellence combined with fashion and fun over the four days of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
The traditional highlight of the season starts on Wednesday, August 19 and runs for four days, finishing with the Betfred Ebor on the Saturday. Find out more and book tickets at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk