THE unsung heroes and heroines in our sport are the racing staff whose contributions are being celebrated during Racing Staff Week, which begins today.
They play a big role, work very hard and deserve all the credit they get because we jockeys couldn’t do our jobs without them.
York is a leading racecourse when it comes to a long-standing commitment to the hard-working staff in training yards, with a six-figure investment in the Stableside accommodation for racing days.
It’s really good that racing staff get a £10 food voucher at all York fixtures. As a bonus today, a free ice cream should prove popular given the current hot spell. In addition, every member of the racing staff responsible for a winner will receive a luxury hamper.
With temperatures set to approach 80F again this afternoon, it is not just the welfare of the racing staff that is being looked after. The horses are top priority. That’s why horse showers and York’s innovative “water-misting fans” will be used to cool down the runners after each race.
Water is being provided for horses and riders at the start of each race, while the estimated 35,000 visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the complimentary water at racecourse bars.
I’m needing plenty of refreshing water myself at the moment. Yesterday, I started at Doncaster and then it was up to Newcastle for the ITV4-televised meeting. Today, I begin at Gosforth Park and finish on Town Moor.
I was delighted with my second Royal Ascot winner seven days ago on Soldier’s Call.
Today, I target another big prize in the Stobart-sponsored Northumberland Plate, on trainer Jim Goldie’s Sir Chauvelin, who ran a great race for me when second eight days ago in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at the Royal Meeting. He was sixth in the ‘Pitmen’s Derby’ 12 months ago and deserves his chance today.
I ride William Haggas’s The Grand Visir, who is well fancied in the Northumberland Vase at 1.30pm. In spite of a slightly wide draw, he has a good chance. Intisaab must also have an opportunity in the 12.55pm Group 3 Chipchase Stakes, a race in which he was runner-up for me 12 months ago.
The pick of my rides at Doncaster this evening would be Princess Nearco at 8.30pm. She won at Thirsk on her only start to date this season and I think she is well handicapped.
Back at York, I am missing the chance to make some new weighing room friends as 15 colleagues from the jumps code are riding in the £25,000 ‘Jump Jockeys’ Nunthorpe’ backed by Sun Bets.
Their usual minimum trip is two miles, so five furlongs on Knavesmire – on the same track as the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes in August – will be the fastest they’ll go this year! Tom Scudamore scored 12 months ago in the corresponding race on Tylery Wonder, trained in Yorkshire by Paul Midgley, and he’s back to defend his title on the same horse.
The most likely winner among David O’Meara’s runners at York would be Stonific in the 5pm sunbets.co.uk World Cup Betting Apprentice Handicap.
Admission for today’s York fixture is now available only for the Clocktower Enclosure – open from 11.15am. Paloma Faith is in concert after racing. Whilst the Clocktower Enclosure’s capacity is in the thousands, it does remain subject to availability and did reach capacity by mid-afternoon on the equivalent day last season. Find out more at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk