The horses are really flying at the moment – and I’ve enjoyed a flow of winners in the last week. Touch wood, that trend continues at York today and tomorrow.
It’s not every day of the week that a jockey gets the chance to ride one of the favourites in a race as big as the John Smith’s Cup, which is being run for the 57th time.
That’s the case for me on Tawdeea, who won the Old Newton Cup last Saturday at Haydock. That victory will see him rise nine pounds in the handicap soon, but in the meantime he has just the five-pound penalty to carry for that win across the Pennines, so he’s four pounds well in.
He’s coming down two furlongs in distance on Knavesmire, and that – as well as drying ground – might be my only little concerns. However, he won over 10 furlongs at Newcastle in May and he’s obviously in great form.
David O’Meara also sends Birdman to York for the £200,000 contest, which enjoys the longest sponsorship of any Flat race in the world.
In contrast to my lad, he steps up in trip – and he has winning form from this meeting a year ago. He will give Shelley Birkett a good ride.
The John Smith’s Cup is a race I would love to win and I think I have an excellent chance.
That would emulate the 2005 victory on board Mullins Bay by Keiren Fallon, who has been in the news this week because he has had to retire from race-riding because of profound depression.
That is very sad. I idolised Keiren when I was an apprentice jockey. He is a huge loss to the weighing room because he was a racing genius and enjoyed many fine victories at York, including the Betfred Dante Stakes in 2004 on North Light en route to taking the Epsom Derby.
I join with the thousands of his fans in wishing him all the very best for his recovery and the next stage of his life.
Spinning through some of the other fancied horses among 11 rides I take at York today and tomorrow …
Fashion Queen makes her racecourse debut in the Coopers Marquees Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Stakes at 1.50pm.
She’s a filly we like a lot and, although she’s coming up against some with racing experience, she might win.
Last year the equivalent race went to Ajaya the subsequent Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack winner, so no pressure.
Lawless Louis, with two wins from four outings this season, would have a little chance in the Garbutt & Elliott Stakes half an hour later.
And if he shows the form of his Haydock victory in May, Flyboy could win the Raylor’s – 70 Year In York Stakes at 3.30pm.
On to tomorrow and Dundunah could take all the beating in the opening contest, at 1.55pm.
She was just touched off into runner-up spot on her racecourse debut at York last month. She’s held in high regard by David O’Meara, so much so she’s been entered in the Group 2 Sky Bet Lowther at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival on Thursday, August 18.
Firmament bids to match Birdman’s exploits of a year ago in the John Smith’s Racing Stakes at 3pm. He’s one win from two races in 2016 and has loads of potential.
Thirty-five minutes after the 57th John Smith’s Cup, I’m in the saddle on Out Do in the Listed John Smith’s City Walls Stakes, a race he won in 2015.
He has a big chance of a repeat victory – and that would set him up nicely for a return visit to Knavesmire for the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe at next month’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
I’m hoping for a great couple of days at York as, I am sure, are the tens of thousands planning to visit the racecourse.
The John Smith’s Cup Meeting at York takes place today and tomorrow.
Find out more and book tickets at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.