IT is all about York for me today and tomorrow as I take 10 rides and I’m hoping to come away tomorrow evening with a winner or two.
More about today’s card later, but the horses I’m really excited about are Chancery in the 55th John Smith’s Cup and G Force in the Listed John Smith’s City Walls Stakes.
The former gives me my best ever chance to win the John Smith’s Cup which, at a time when the names of some heritage handicaps in racing are under scrutiny, is the longest running sponsorship in Flat racing anywhere in the world.
With a prize fund of £150,000, it’s a race that everyone wants to win and punters up and down the land will be trying to pick the winner.
I think that could be Chancery. He’s not got the most advantageous draw, but he comes into the 10-furlong contest in good form after a decent performance when placed in a Listed race at Newmarket last time.
Chancery likes Knavesmire and has enjoyed two victories there, including at this meeting 12 months ago. He won’t be far away tomorrow.
Trainer David O’Meara isn’t relying on just one horse in this great race though.
Two For Two could have gone for the mile handicap earlier in the afternoon. Apprentice Sam James lifts a useful three pounds off his mount’s back and he wouldn’t be without a squeak either. Ingleby Angel is the yard’s third chance and he’s aiming for a first win at York after eight at other tracks during his career.
Move the clock on 35 minutes and I partner G Force in the John Smith’s City Walls Stakes.
I’m really looking forward to this ride. Well, in one way – that’s because he’s a really good horse with great potential and he’s improving all the time. Not in another way though – because I have to do my lowest riding weight of 8lb 10lb. No breakfast for me tomorrow morning.
Joking aside, I’m already preparing to do that low weight. I am naturally about 9st, so I prepare in advance to go under that.
The colt won the Ralph Raper Memorial Stakes at the Dante Festival so he knows what it takes to win at York. If he can win at Knavesmire again, then all roads will lead back for the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes on the Friday of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
Earlier in the day, in the opening John Smith’s Racing Stakes at 1.40pm, I partner Hit The Jackpot.
He’s already achieved three wins from five runs this season and so is in good form.
I think there will be a lot of pace in this race which is exactly what my horse wants. Maybe he can get his first victory at York at his third attempt.
In the 4.40pm race I ride Gabrial’s King who was third in the corresponding John Smith’s Stayers’ Stakes last July. He would have a sneaky chance.
Back to today and I think Ladies Are Forever has an opportunity in the Group 3 Totepool Summer Stakes at 2.20pm. She won this race as a five-year-old a year ago and bids to become the first three-time winner after scoring back in 2011 as well for Yorkshire businessman Reg Bond.
Saved By The Bell is bidding for a four-timer, which includes a victory at York last month, in the Groceryaid Chairman’s Charity Cup at 3.30pm. He’s in good form and we do like him at David O’Meara’s yard.
The racecourse saw a big crowd when it hosted the start of the second stage of the Tour de France. What a superb occasion that was in Yorkshire.
Tomorrow there is set to be an even larger attendance – some 40,000 – and it would be a fine feeling to record a victory or two in front of them.
The John Smith’s Cup meeting at York is today and tomorrow. The feature race this afternoon is the Group 3 Totepool Summer Stakes. The 55th John Smith’s Cup tomorrow has the longest running sponsorship in Flat racing anywhere in the world. Admission ranges from £5 to £25 (today) and £8 to £37 (tomorrow). Under-18s are admitted free of charge. More details at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.