Paul Mulrennan - A Jockey’s Diary: Yorkshire pride at stake when racing returns to York tomorrow

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Punters in the North of England are blessed with a marvellous choice of Flat racing tomorrow – with excellent cards not only at York Racecourse but also at Haydock Park and Chester.

The best of the action on Knavesmire comes in the form of the Listed Stowe Family Law LLP Grand Cup.

Half a dozen horses will contest the 1m 6f race, with Frankie Dettori and Derby-winning jockey Mickael Barzalona booked to ride. The ‘Yorkshire’ team comes in the form of Mark Johnston’s Gulf Of Naples, though Mark Tompkins, responsible for Mystery Star, would like to see his county of birth land the lion’s share of the £33,000 prize. He’ll be helped by Malton-based rider David Allen.

It will be fast and furious stuff in the Sky Bet Mobile Sprint, with 19 horses likely to go post in search of the £40,000 pot. The top jockeys will be in action in that race too, as will Cathy Gannon who has just returned to riding after suffering a broken jaw and will be bidding to cut into the lead gained by Hayley Turner in the inaugural Ladies’ Jockeys Championship.

For me, the weekend begins with a drive up to Musselburgh later today for the evening card. I take five rides of which I would highlight a couple.

On The Hoof is owned by golfer Lee Westwood and goes for the penultimate race at 8.45pm.

He takes his racing well and goes to Scotland off the back of his first career victory just over a week ago at Beverley. I was on board that day at the East Riding track and he’ll benefit from that outing. There was a lot to like about that performance and I am hoping that he’ll be able to follow up later today.

The other horse to note is, in fact, making his racecourse debut in the 7.15pm race. Cracking Choice is locally owned in Scotland, hence the selection of Musselburgh by trainer Michael Dods for his first appearance. He has been working well at home and I think he’s got a good each-way chance.

Tomorrow afternoon sees me in action at Haydock Park where the Group 2 Betfred Temple Stakes is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series. I’m excited to have been booked to ride Confessional for North Yorkshire trainer Tim Easterby.

Sprinters have a habit of running up sequences and these races tend to end in blanket finishes.

Confessional isn’t one of the favourites for the 5f dash, but he ran really well to win at Chester’s May Festival earlier in the month. He has winning form over course and distance at Haydock and goes there with a chance.

I have won an Old Newton Cup at Haydock for Tim Easterby in the past and I’d love to provide him with a Betfred Temple Stakes winner as well.

The other big race at the Merseyside track tomorrow is the Betfred Silver Bowl. I’m booked to ride Lucky Henry for trainer Clive Cox. The horse has one win from four outings and it’s another ride to which I’m looking forward.

Later in the afternoon I’m in the saddle on a horse which is on form and from which I’m expecting a big race. That’s Toymaker in the 5.15pm handicap. Trained by James Given, he’s won his last two races for me on the all-weather at Kempton and then last month on turf at Pontefract.

I’m hoping to complete the hat-trick tomorrow. In between times I’ll be following the action from Knavesmire.

The first race of York Racecourse’s May Spring Meeting tomorrow – Saturday 26 May – is at 2.05pm. Gates are open from 11.15pm, with admission ranging from £7 to £35. As always, accompanied under 16s are admitted free of charge to all areas. Action away for the track includes live music from the band of the Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band and Murphy’s Marbles. There is a dedicated sports channel that will offer uninterrupted coverage of the League One Play-off Final between Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United, plus morning session coverage of the second Test Match. Racegoers will also have the chance to meet Harry the racehorse close up. More information can be found online at or by calling the racecourse on 01904 620911