I am at Headquarters for the next two days as the Cambridgeshire Meeting unfolds at Newmarket.
I take five rides, but there could be a winner or two among them – and I am delighted to have been asked by Godolphin to take the reins on one of their horses in a Group 1.
Custom Cut, who warmed up for his autumn campaign with a well-deserved place in the Group 3 Betfred Strensall Stakes during the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York last month, goes for his sixth Group race victory in this afternoon’s Joel Stakes.
It’s a contest with fond memories for trainer David O’Meara and myself as we won it with Penitent, four years ago.
Custom Cut is a veteran on the flat circuit – now seven years old – but he ran a fine race last time at Leopardstown in the Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes when just edged out by a talented junior in Awtaad, who won the Irish 2000 Guineas. That good form explains why that he is second favourite behind John Gosden’s Nathra. We could probably have done with a little more rain over the Rowley Mile, but he goes there with a chance.
In the final race, I am on board Hard To Handel in the Silver Cambridgeshire, the consolation race for those horses that didn’t make the cut in the first half of the ‘Autumn Double’ tomorrow. This is still a step up in class for him, but the big field means both stiff competition and that opportunity may arise.
I start off Saturday on the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes aboard Silver Line for trainer Saeed bin Suroor. This is the second time that Godolphin has booked me to ride. My debut was last week on Secret Number in the Doonside Cup up at Ayr Gold Cup. That went well, so I’m defending a 100 per cent record as one of the “boys in blue”!
A winner on his debut at Nottingham and placed in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, Silver Line is stepping into Group 1 company for the first time and I’m thrilled to be taking the ride. Blue Point, the winner of the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes on the Knavesmire, looks a deserved favourite, I’d take being part of a 1-2 for his owner, Sheikh Mohammed.
It is an interesting hour to follow York form, as the impressive Sky Bet Lowther winner, Queen Kindly flies the Yorkshire flag in opposition to the stars’n’stripes of Lady Aurelia in the fillies’ Group 1. Trainer Wesley Ward and “assistant trainer”, Frankie Dettori have every reason to be confident in their Royal Ascot winner, but the daughter of Frankel might yet champion the Ebor form.
Then it’s on to the Betfred Cambridgeshire, when 35 horses will charge down the nine furlongs of the Rowley Mile. I am delighted with my ride, Treasury Notes, after three wins in his last four races. I believe the extra furlong will assist his cause.
The final racing at York is on Friday, Saturday, October 7-8. Details yorkracecourse.co.uk