There are many highs as a professional sportsman but being out injured is one of the lows; watching the horses I would have been riding on television is immensely frustrating.
My Leeds-based specialist tells me it is a waiting game; that I must be patient as my thumb heals and then I can be back in the saddle riding winners again.
I will be laid up for another few weeks so disappointed though I am to miss York this weekend, to be back riding ahead of the John Smith’s Cup Meeting on July 10 and 11 gives me a goal.
The nature of sport means that my absence is an opportunity for somebody else and my boss, David O’Meara, targets this meeting. So it could be good news for one of David Nolan, Fergal Lynch or Sam Jones, as the yard goes three handed into the Geoff Pemberton Stakes at 3.40pm. They partner He’s No Saint, Rex Imperator and Regal Dan respectively.
They are each horses that need to rediscover their form. Regal Dan narrowly missed out for me at Musselburgh at the start of May, a shade unlucky that day I feel. The other two have good records, with He’s No Saint winning in Dubai last year.
I’ll be having a word with Sam about Saved By The Bell, his mount in the Garbutt & Elliott Stakes at 4.40pm. He last won at this meeting in 2014 and, although he hasn’t been in the winners’ enclosure since, I reckon he’s one to keep an eye on.
On to tomorrow, the biggest charity raceday in the country, and David is triple-handed again in a valuable York handicap. This time it’s the JCB Stakes at 2.35pm.
Al Khan, Alejandro and So Beloved are the trio. The last of those won the on the Knavesmire a fortnight ago over the same seven furlongs. His regular partner is Phillip Makin so at least I won’t feel like I’ve missed out if he does the business for the connection and it wouldn’t surprise me if he did.
It is never easy to win at York but I have a hunch that the competition may lie within the yard, because Alejandro is another who I think could come back to his best. I fear the Handicapper might have caught up with Al Khan, so he may need to look elsewhere for a nice handicap to win.
David runs two in the Ice Co Supporting Macmillan Stakes at 4.20pm. Connections of First Sitting will be watching the forecast as he would benefit from some rain – while Rousayan can hopefully get back to the winning form he showed for me on his run before last at Beverley. Silvestre de Sousa steps in for the ride and after his four-timer at York’s Dante Festival, he will be full of confidence.
In the final race under rules at 5.30pm, the Charles Henry Memorial Stakes, Harwoods Volante certainly wouldn’t be without a chance.
At other meetings tomorrow, Miss Mulberry goes for the Listed contest at Sandown Park at 2.55pm. She ran a decent race at York when mid-division in the Ralph Raper Memorial Stakes at the Dante Festival and I think the Esher track will suit her.
Missing Royal Ascot is a blow, but David O’Meara has some very nice horses heading to Berkshire next week. Watch out for G Force in the King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday and Amazing Maria in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes a day later.
I almost tipped the winners of both the Investec Oaks and Derby! The filly Legatissimo was just nailed on the line while Frankie Dettori landed the Investec Derby for the second time on Golden Horn.
John Gosden’s colt became the tenth winner of York’s Betfred Dante Stakes to go on to Classic glory at Epsom Downs. Golden Horn’s victory, especially as stable mate Jack Hobbs who was runner-up in the Dante and at Epsom, certainly confirms that the York race is the best guide to the greatest Flat race in the world.
Good luck tomorrow to the 12 riders, aged between 19 and 61 years, who ride their dream in the Macmillan Charity Race which takes place at the end of the day at York. Last year, the participants helped to raise over £90,000 – you can boost this year’s total by supporting them through the track’s website.
On both the next two days at York the first race is at 2pm. Book tickets at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk