Turf Topics – Daniel Tudhope: Excited at chance to repeat G Force Haydock triumph

G Force and Daniel Tudhope win the Betfred Sprint Cup last year. Picture: John Giles/PA
G Force and Daniel Tudhope win the Betfred Sprint Cup last year. Picture: John Giles/PA
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No horse since Be Friendly, owned by the late and much-missed ‘Voice of Racing’ Sir Peter O’Sullevan, has won back-to-back Betfred Sprint Cups.

That was in the 1960s. Tomorrow, I aim to update that record with G Force, who triumphed in the six-furlong race 12 months ago.

That was a fantastic day, my first Group 1 victory. It was, of course, followed by another just a few weeks later when Move In Time took the Prix de l’Abbaye in Paris.

G Force may not have won since that day in September but I do feel that he has been unfortunate with the weather this season.

The ground shouldn’t be any quicker than ‘good’ at Haydock, and that’s what he needs.

I firmly believe that the horse still has the ability; form that he showed first in the Ralph Raper Memorial Stakes at York back in the spring of 2014.

I think he can win tomorrow.

It will be a hotly-contested race affair in which Adaay, ridden by locally-born jockey and former columnist for The Yorkshire Post Paul Hanagan, is a big threat. David O’Meara’s yard is double handed as Watchable is in the race. Phillip Makin, currently the leading rider on the Knavesmire, will be in the saddle on a horse who I steered to victory at the Curragh in Ireland this time last year.

G Force isn’t my only good ride tomorrow. I have four others, starting with Totalize in the Old Borough Cup at 2.35pm.

Trainer Brian Ellison thinks a lot of this horse who won at York in June last year. He’s lightly raced this season and has decent form at Haydock; I rode him into second place there in the spring.

Just over half an hour before the Sprint Cup, I get the leg up on Distant Past for Yorkshire trainer, Kevin Ryan.

This will be the first time I have been on board the horse who has five wins to his name and was last seen out when seventh in the Symphony Group Stakes at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

I partner Wayward Hoof for Karl Burke in the 4.20pm race. Another horse who has shown a liking for Haydock, with a win and a runner-up spot there. I know the yard rates him.

I conclude my day on a recent winner, Cape Love, in the Listed contest at 4.55pm.

It’s certainly a step up in grade for the two-year-old colt, but you only find out how good they are when you try.

Exempted for a Group One day, my holiday courtesy of the stewards room resumes on Sunday, which is a great shame because I will miss riding at the Family Sunday at York.

It is the only Sunday meeting of the year on Knavesmire when there is a special family atmosphere, no formal dress code, free admission to under 18s and host of extra entertainment. You may yet spot me waiting to see Peppa Pig!

One of the great things about Family Sunday at York is how it promotes the next generation of riders by hosting Pony Races. The teenage participants and their diminutive mounts are every bit as competitive as in the later races run under rules.

This year, York stages the Conditions Finals, a new initiative aimed at broadening the opportunity, so it is much welcomed – as long as they are not too good, too soon!

Do arrive at York to give them a cheer as they go to post just after 1pm; you’ll then be in time to enjoy some roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding before the £100,000 in thoroughbred action gets under way at 2pm.

Yours Truly might be missing from the saddle at York, but horses from the Nawton yard are almost certain to be well represented.

David O’Meara entered three early this week – Thornaby Nash, Miss Mullberry and Nonchalant.

The 48-hour declarations were being made this morning, so look out for the final fields.

Perhaps on Sunday at York there will be some good pointers to future races for spectators to make a careful note of ahead of the Finale Meeting on October 9 &10.

Big meetings keep coming in Yorkshire as once York is over on Sunday eyes will focus on Doncaster for the St Leger Festival, but more of that next week.

n There’s fun for all at York Racecourse on Family Sunday 6 September, including seven races plus Pony Races, an interactive racing zone and bouncy castles.

This year there will be special appearances at intervals by children’s favourite, Peppa Pig. Under 18s are free.

Find out more at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.