I take four rides on the Rowley Mile tomorrow – two from the stables at Musley Bank and one each for the north Yorkshire yards of Tim Easterby and Les Eyre.
There is no doubt which horse takes pride of place, my Group 2 Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes winner Sands Of Mali who goes for the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes.
The step up to Group 1 at Newmarket doesn’t worry me at all; nor the extra furlong as he was doing on his best work at York in the closing stages during one of the major races of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
He has come out of his endeavours on Knavesmire really well and is in fine form at home. We couldn’t be happier with him at Richard Fahey’s yard.
It’s a tough race at Newmarket just before 3pm tomorrow, but Sands Of Mali fully justifies his place in the line-up based on that tremendous victory at York.
If I had to pick out my chief rivals I would say Sioux Nation, a Royal Ascot winner for Aidan O’Brien, and the Yorkshire-trained Unfortunately, who has won twice for Karl Burke at Group level in France over the summer. I think I would agree with the bookmakers who have that duo and my colt at the head of the betting market.
I have an interesting ride in the Cambridgeshire Handicap, the first half of the ‘Autumn Double’, in Cote D’Azur, trained by Les Eyre at Catwick. The second half – the Cesarewitch is run on the same day as the final meeting of the year at York.
Cote D’Azur has winning form from York in the summer of 2016 and he went on to finish runner-up in the Silver Cambridgeshire at Newmarket 12 months ago. If he can get back to that sort of form he would be competitive, but he is one of the outsiders. It is a huge field as always, 35 horses thundering down nine furlongs of the Rowley Mile and will take some winning.
Scofflaw would perhaps offer me a better chance of a winner when he takes in the seven-furlong handicap, the final race of the three-day meeting. He can be a little bit in and out in terms of form, but he won very nicely in his last race a fortnight ago at Epsom Downs and is bottom of the weights in a field of 20.
My other ride – Bee Ina Bonnet – who goes for the nursery at 4.45pm also won on her last outing at Beverley a week ago.
I’ve yet to get off the mark at Newmarket this year, so tomorrow would be a great time to do so, especially if it comes in the Juddmonte Middle Park.
On the same card look out for Mark Johnston’s unbeaten Threading – winner of the Group 2 Sky Bet Lowther Stakes – going for the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes. You can follow my progress today at Haydock and tomorrow at Newmarket on Racing UK.
The final racing at York in 2017 is on Friday and Saturday 13 and 14 October. To find out more and book tickets, visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.