IT has been a pleasure to be back at York this week for the start of the 2015 Flat season on Knavesmire .
There was something special as proceedings began on Wednesday with a visit by His Royal Highness The Duke of York, who officially opened the superb new weighing room.
York form is invariably the best ahead of the Classics at Epsom Downs – and Wednesday proved no exception with Star Of Seville and Together Forever fighting out the finish of the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes. Now they look set to go for the Investec Oaks .
Although I compiled this column ahead of yesterday’s races, the Betfred Dante Stakes looked an absolute cracker on paper, with so many of the leading Investec Derby hopefuls engaged .
I take a number of ‘outside’ bookings among my quintet of rides today, although the best chance of a winner could be David O’Meara’s Miss Mullberry in the Ralph Raper Memorial Stakes at 4.20pm.
She needs to return to the form she showed last August when she won twice at Yorkshire tracks. This is her first outing of the turf season and she would have a chance if she runs as well as she did last summer.
Earlier, I’m on board Croquembouche in the Betway Jorvik Stakes. He won on his seasonal reappearance at Windsor last month, so, hopefully, he can make it two from two.
After three days at York, I travel south tomorrow when I’m tremendously excited about the chances of Custom Cut in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
He has won six of his last seven races. The only omission was the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot last autumn .
His five-race winning streak in the summer included victory in the Group 3 Betfred-sponsored Strensall Stakes at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival. A win in the Group 2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket followed and, on his only outing to date this season, in another Group 2 at Sandown Park, he showed his winning qualities again. So he’s in good form and tomorrow he aims to add a Group 1 .
Custom Cut is in with a chance in what is a record big field of 18. Nothing fazes him, he’s uncomplicated and he always gives of his best. He goes on any ground, though I wouldn’t be averse to a drop of rain over Berkshire before tomorrow .
He’s up against some tough opposition such as 2014 2000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder, Toormore and Top Notch Tonto.
Custom Cut is my only ride at Newbury tomorrow, but I am calling in at the evening meeting at Doncaster on my way home to north Yorkshire.
Thornaby Nash hasn’t run since 2013 because of an injury last year. We like him a lot at David O’Meara’s yard and I reckon he could be a horse to follow this season.
In the 8.15pm handicap race tomorrow, he’ll be giving of his best to win, but he’s coming back from a long lay-off .
Details about going racing at York can be found at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk. The next fixture is the May Spring Meeting on Saturday, May 30.