My duties for connections of Lord of The Land, who runs in a Group 3 at Newbury, means I miss the start of the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival at Ripon tomorrow, but I’m relishing the chance to spend plenty of days next week on home territory.
It is a great idea to celebrate racing across Yorkshire. All eight of the Flat tracks work together over the next nine days, from Doncaster in the south to Redcar in the north.
York stages the only Pattern Races with a Listed contest next Friday evening and the Group 2 Sky Bet York Stakes a week tomorrow.
Friday evening holds the record as the best-attended evening in Britain and will be followed by a concert from Leeds band the Kaiser Chiefs. The Saturday holds a similar record for racing plus music events.
Around 40,000 are expected to enjoy seven races then The Corrs take to the stage.
There is a mini-championship to be the top trainer and top jockey over the Festival’s nine fixtures.
I’d like to think I have a chance of collecting the trophy plus the cash for the Injured Jockeys’ Fund at Pontefract on the concluding Sunday.
David O’Meara’s yard finished an agonising second last year. Either way, it is right to celebrate an industry that puts some £230m into our local economy every year.
Back to that ride on Lord Of The Land in the Hackwood Stakes.
There is a major win in this horse, but we just have to find a way for him to show his true ability. He’s back over six furlongs for the first time since he was trained by Andre Fabre in France.
Touch wood, things fall into place in what is admittedly a pretty competitive contest.
Last weekend at York, it was frustrating not to have a winner, but there were some positives to take. Fashion Queen, was an unlucky second on debut in the Coopers Marquees Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.
She came up against a good ’un from the Newmarket yard of Yorkshireman-in-exile William Haggas, part of a double on the day for the man who ran us closest last year in the race to be champion trainer at York.
I think my filly, who was well clear of the third-placed horse, is now primed for the Group 2 Sky Bet Lowther Stakes on August 18, aptly, Ladies Day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. She’s a horse who will improve this year and that £200,000 prize is certainly one to aim for.
Which brings me to Tawdeea, who ran mid-division in the 57th John Smith’s Cup.
On reflection, it didn’t work out bringing him back to 10 furlongs, but being several pounds well in for the race we had to take our chance.
When he won at Haydock over a mile-and-a-half, I felt he would benefit from a more testing trip. So, I think he’s made for the 1m 6f Betfred Ebor, the Saturday highlight in August.
That will probably be his next race and I honestly think he has a great chance because there’s more improvement to come.
He’s currently 20-1, I am told. Victory in the richest Flat handicap in Europe, the £280,000 Betfred Ebor would make up and more for the disappointment last week. It will be a race in which I hope to time my run better than my weighing room colleague Louis Steward – for when he won aboard Mutual Regard in 2014, the ice bucket challenge was all the rage and he duly did his bit for charity. Brrr!
There is plenty of racing in the county in the days to come and I’ll fill you in on my York plans in this column next week. Hopefully, my chances will still be alive in that race to be top jockey of the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival.
The Music Showcase Weekend is next Friday and Saturday at York. First race times are 6pm and 1.55pm, respectively. After racing, Kaiser Chiefs are in concert on Friday evening and The Corrs on Saturday. Find out more and book tickets at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk