The minimum trip in racing, five furlongs, is foremost in my mind at the moment.
That’s the distance over which I enjoyed my winner at the Dante Festival last week; it’s how far one of my star rides, G Force, will run tomorrow at Haydock; and it’s the trip over which the most valuable race of York’s Spring Meeting in eight days will be run.
It was great to open my account out of the splendid new Weighing Room on Knavesmire as Out Do, did the business.
Ultimately, the Dante Festival was a pleasing if a little frustrating three days as I had a couple of placed horses last Friday, White Bullet and Croquembouche, and both promise more to come.
Back to today and I am optimistic that I could have a decent return from my half dozen rides at Haydock and Pontefract.
The two I would pick out run at the Merseyside track. First up will be the colt, Haughmond, in the maiden stakes at 2.30pm followed by the filly, Miss Mullberry, in the 3.40pm, who ran at York last week.
Trainer Karl Burke’s two-year-old colt is the only one in the field of 10 to have had a previous run. That was at Newmarket last month when he ran third of seven for my weighing room colleague Ben Curtis.
Some decent judges like him and his racecourse experience should stand him in good stead. He is the one they all have to beat.
We were pleased enough with Miss Mullberry’s run on Knavesmire in the Ralph Raper Memorial Stakes last Friday. It was her seasonal debut on the grass and the outing will have done her the power of good. If she were assisted by some rain over Haydock, she could add to her twin triumphs last August.
Elsewhere on the card, All You, goes in the handicap at 2pm. He’s been first, second and third on his three outings to date. Hopefully he is a late bloomer as we only got him on the track as a three year old so he is still learning and improving; we like him at David O’Meara’s yard.
It’s less than 70 miles along the motorway from Haydock to my evening place of work at Pontefract; I plan to be ahead of the dreaded Bank Holiday Friday traffic on the M62.
The step up in trip to a mile should suit Harwoods Volante in the handicap at 6.30pm. He was mid-division on his seasonal debut at Thirsk last month at his customary six furlongs. He has won a few times and should run a better race over the longer trip.
I round off my day on Signore Piccolo in the 8pm handicap contest. This is his fourth outing of the season and he’s already registered one victory, at Ripon a month ago.
I’ll reverse the trip in search of the big prizes at Haydock on Saturday, when my major ride is G Force in the Group 2 Betfred-sponsored Temple Stakes.
It’s back to familiar territory for one of David O’Meara’s stable stars as this was the racecourse at which we struck Group 1 glory in the Betfred Sprint Cup last September.
The then three-year-old had already shown the quality he possesses when winning the Ralph Raper Memorial Stakes at the Dante Festival in 2014.
This is G Force’s first racecourse run of 2015 and the competition will certainly be sharp in a field of 12 that includes another runner, Hot Streak, from last year’s Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
Earlier in the day, in the 2pm race, I partner Totalize – a winner at York just under 12 months ago – for Yorkshire trainer Brian Ellison. A horse with a little chance would be York regular Eccleston, who goes in the sort of handicap that a bookie loves to sponsor, at 4.20pm.
It’s been good to be in the North and next weekend it’s back to York for the May Spring Meeting when the most valuable event is the £50,000 five-furlong Spring Sprint sponsored by Titanbet.
Details about going racing at York can be found at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk. The next fixture is the May Spring Meeting on Saturday, May 30. Gates open at 11.15am. Racing starts at 1.45pm.