I have high hopes of winning the big betting race in Britain tomorrow – the Ayr Gold Cup – a contest in which form at York could play a big part.
After all the rain on the west coast of Scotland, horses who combine ability and stamina will prosper at Ayr.
The first two days of the Ayr Gold Cup meeting were lost to the weather on Thursday and yesterday, although the clerk of the course is hopeful of racing going ahead on Saturday.
Richard Fahey and I combined 11 years ago with two-time York winner Fonthill Road to land the big sprint.
Richard saddles eight of the 25-strong field tomorrow – and I think the race is between two from Musley Bank.
I have selected the low-weighted Stamp Hill as my mount.
He has plenty of speed, so the drop back to six furlongs from seven – a distance at which he won the International handicap at Ascot in July – won’t inconvenience him.
Toscanini, who ran a great race to be second in the Group 3 Sky Bet City Of York Stakes at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival, is towards the upper end of the weights and he would have been my choice without Stamp Hill. Tony Hamilton is on board him.
Richard also saddles the top weight Kimberella, winner of the Sky Bet Dash at York last season, Mr Lupton, victorious in the 888Sport Charity Sprint on Knavesmire last year, and last year’s runner-up Growl, who made his seasonal debut in 2017 in the Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York.
So it’s very much a case of punters studying all that excellent York form when choosing which horse to back. One of my earlier rides of the day tomorrow is Dance Diva, a filly I really like.
She’s won three times from five outings and wasn’t disgraced when runner-up in an Ascot Group 3.
It’s that same status of race tomorrow at 2pm and hopefully she’ll put on a good show for me.
Carnageo arrives in Scotland after a super victory at York’s Sunday meeting earlier this month. If there’s a decent gallop in the 4.10pm Kilkerran Cup, then he will have a really good chance. My sole concern would be that, with ground conditions being testing, jockeys might be reluctant to set a good pace in the early stages of races.
There are no ground worries for Scofflaw, my mount in the contest at 4.55pm, who won at Epsom on his last run just over a week ago.
Equally happy with ease in the going is Northwest Frontier, who finished mid-division in York’s Betfred Melrose Handicap last month after just coming to the head of affairs too soon. He’ll have a decent shout.
I have now recovered after a bad allergic reaction to a sting from a wasp at Carlisle earlier in the week.
It was quite scary as I got a rash all over and my hand and lips were swollen. I gave up my rides at Beverley on Wednesday as a result. Thankfully, I am over it and raring to go.
The final racing at York in 2017 is on Friday and Saturday October 13 and 14. To find out more and book tickets, visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.