I’ll be getting even more familiar than usual with the A1 this week. I ride at Doncaster and Newcastle today followed tomorrow by Newmarket and then back to Donny. It seems a sat-nav is a jockey’s best friend and it’s telling me that’s about 400 miles.
Mr McLaren gives me an excellent chance of getting off to a flier on the middle day of Gosforth Park’s three-day John Smith’s Northumberland Plate meeting.
I think he will take all the beating in the 6.10pm race. He’s a nice horse who I rode into seventh place at Newcastle a month ago.
He needed the race that day and when he next ran, at Hamilton Park, the penny had dropped and he won nicely for my weighing room colleague David Nolan.
Algar Lad is another progressive horse this season. He made his seasonal debut at Musselburgh for David and was a decent second. I took over in the saddle last week at Leicester and he won. He’s a ride to look forward to later today in the 7.45pm Gosforth Park Cup.
Tomorrow it’s down to the July Course where I’m pleased to have been booked by trainer Mick Channon to ride Juventas, a filly hoping to win on Newmarket’s summer course – in the 2.20pm Listed Empress Stakes – after a victory on the Rowley Mile.
I ride Chancery for David O’Meara in another Listed contest 35 minutes later, the horse holding an entry in the 55th John Smith’s Cup at York in a fortnight.
He won valuable handicaps at the John Smith’s Cup meeting and the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival last year and, although he couldn’t replicate that form last time in the sportingbet.com Jorvik Stakes at the Dante Festival, I would be hopeful that he will put up a bold show tomorrow.
The major race at Newmarket tomorrow is the Group 3 Criterion Stakes in which I am on board Penitent.
After winning a Group 3 at Haydock at the end of last month, he can be forgiven finishing last of seven in the Diomed Stakes at Epsom because he struck into himself during the race – and that’s gonna hurt if you’re wearing metal shoes. It’s a tough one tomorrow but he will run well again, I hope.
Following that race, it’s back into the car for a drive back to Town Moor for the evening meeting where I would be optimistic about a couple of my chances.
Dubai Hills won nicely for me at Haydock at the tail end of last month. He’s in decent form and I don’t think he will be far away in the 7.40pm handicap.
In the 8.15pm race, I’ve been booked by trainer Jamie Osborne to ride High On Life. He comes into the contest off three wins in a row at southern tracks.
There were early entries for some of the prestigious races at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival this week, including the fastest race of the York season, the Coolmore Nunthorpe.
Of particular interest in that five-furlong Group 1 is G Force, who won the Ralph Raper Memorial Stakes at the Dante Festival for David O’Meara’s yard.
Next time the three-year-old will be seen is likely to be at the John Smith’s Cup meeting when his target would be the John Smith’s City Wall Stakes.
If he were to win that £40,000 Listed race, then all roads would lead back to Knavesmire in August for one of the great races of the season.
On the subject of the Ebor Festival, it’s great news that Aidan O’Brien’s Derby winner Australia has been entered for the opening day feature, the Group 1 Juddmonte International.
Alongside in the stalls could yet be the 2013 Derby hero Ruler Of The World in a race worthy of the record £800,000 prize pot.
The next racing at York is the John Smith’s Cup meeting on Friday, July 11 and Saturday, July 12. The feature race on the opening day is the Group 3 Totepool Summer Stakes. The John Smith’s is the longest running sponsorship in Flat racing anywhere in the world. Admission £5 to £25 (Friday) and £8 to £37 (Saturday). Under 18s are admitted free. More details at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.