What a fantastic start it has been to everyone’s favourite race meeting in Yorkshire.
Well done to my weighing room colleague Silvestre de Sousa for his Group 1 victory in the highest-rated race in the world, the Juddmonte International, on the opening afternoon.
It surprised many of the 20,000 present when the Derby winner Golden Horn was just edged out by the filly Arabian Queen, but she deserved her victory.
Wednesday was great for Yorkshireman-in-exile William Haggas. The Newmarket-based trainer loves the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival and enjoyed his brace of Group wins with The Recorder in the silks of HM The Queen in the Tattersalls Acomb and Storm The Stars in the Betway Great Voltigeur.
It leaves the yard handily placed in the betting for two Classics; next year’s Qipco 2,000 Guineas and the St Leger, next month.
After just the one ride yesterday, I have four good ones today.
Chancery won the Sky Bet First Race Special Stakes two years ago. He goes for the handicap again (1.55pm) after winning well at Ripon three days ago. He is the kind of horse that is able to come out again after just 72 hours. It’s a step up in grade, but he’s won on Knavesmire before so he has the ability.
So Beloved has a real chance in the Sky Bet City Of York Stakes (3.05pm) after winning this season at York and at Glorious Goodwood. Today’s conditions will suit him.
Then it’s the big one, the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, which is one of four races this week to be part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Move In Time, who won the Prix de L’Abbaye at Longchamp for me last autumn, is in fantastic form at home and I think he could go close over five furlongs at 3.40pm. He – and every other horse – has to give a lot of weight to the American challenger, Acapulco, the two-year-old filly who comes into the contest off a Royal Meeting win and on a feather weight. She’s the one we all have to beat.
I open up on Saturday with Mondialiste in the Group 3 Betfred Mobile Strensall Stakes. David O’Meara and I won this race a year ago with Custom Cut, so we’re aiming for a repeat success. Conditions should be perfect for him.
As I write, I do not know if I have a ride in the Betfred Ebor itself. I was booked on Thursday to be on board the Northumberland Plate winner and top weight Quest For More, trained by Roger Charlton.
It would be a great ‘spare’ ride after David O’Meara’s entries missed out on a run in Europe’s richest Flat handicap.
However, Quest For More has also been declared for this afternoon’s Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup, and, sadly for me, can’t run in both.
As the finale is for apprentice jockeys – my last chance is the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Stakes at 4.55pm.
I believe my top chance of a winner comes here with Earth Drummer.
I was placed on him in Dubai back in the Spring and he ran a cracker under jockey Graham Lee to be second in a Shergar Cup race at Ascot. He is improving all the time.
It would be fantastic to round off four brilliant days at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival with a winner.
York’s oldest, richest, fastest and most famous races provide sporting excellence combined with fashion and fun of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
The traditional highlight of the season continues today and tomorrow, finishing with the highlight of the Betfred Ebor onSaturday. Admission available on the gates from 11am. Find out more at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk