There is no better place to have winners than at York but, equally, there’s no more challenging a racecourse to find those winners because the racing is so valuable, so competitive.
This year’s Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival is no exception.
The action has already been top class – just consider the thrilling £1m Group 1 Juddmonte International when Ulysses was such an impressive winner.
Cracksman was also brilliant in the Group Two Betway Great Voltigeur; flying dismount from Frankie and all.
It was also good to see the opening two races going the way of Yorkshire yards – Paul Midgley’s Desert Law and Tim Easterby’s Wells Farhh Go.
This afternoon, Godolphin’s Toscanini is a fascinating ride for me in the Group Three Sky Bet City Of York. He’s been operating as a pacemaker for Ribchester in Group Ones. The key question is how he will adapt, but he could take all the beating at 3pm.
Godolphin’s Toscanini is a fascinating ride for me in the Group Three Sky Bet City Of York. He’s been operating as a pacemaker for Ribchester in Group Ones. The key question is how he will adapt, but he could take all the beatingJockey Paul Hanagan
In the opener, the Sky Bet First Race Special Handicap, I have an interesting booking, too.
Landsman is an Irish raider and it is the first time I have ridden for County Meath-based Tony Martin.
The handler has an enviable strike rate on Knavesmire and sent out last year’s winner of the Betfred Ebor.
I take an outside ride on the Charlie Hills-trained two-year- old Porth Swtan in the richest maiden contest of the British summer, the British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden at 4.15pm. Based on his record of a third and a very narrow second, he will have a chance.
I have half-a-dozen rides tomorrow, including Marco Botti’s Wild Hacked in the signature race, the £285,000 Betfred Ebor Handicap.
I would love to win this famous contest for the first time and not just because it is Europe’s richest Flat handicap!
I start off in the Betfred Mobile Strensall at 1.55pm on the David Menuisier-trained Make Time, who continues at Group Three level after an encouraging runner-up spot at Goodwood.
In the following race, the Betfred Melrose, it is Ralph Beckett’s Here And Now.
We won as a partnership at Chester’s May Festival and the three-year-old is now seeking to claim an even bigger festival victory.
Musley Bank’s Sands Of Mali seeks a famous win in the Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack at 3pm. He made his debut at York and then won for me on his second outing at Nottingham.
Like a lot of the runners, he’s still quite raw.
Bengali Boys is another two-year-old and goes for the Listed Julia Graves Roses.
A four-race record of two wins and two seconds is good, so he must have a chance.
The curtain comes down on my four days of riding at York’s Ebor Festival aboard Spring Offensive. He is seeking his first win in 15 months in the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap at 4.40pm.
It is a race named for a cause close to the hearts of all riders at the end of a week that is also special to us.
Admission available on the gates from 11am for the final two days of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival can be found at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk