Our columnist, jockey Daniel Tudhope, got his Dante Festival off to a great start with a winner. On the third and final day this afternoon, he rides at York with further chances of returning to the winner’s enclosure.
I couldn’t have been more delighted with the opening day of the Dante Festival. Getting a winner on the board was a terrific feeling. Not much can match riding winners on Knavesmire in my adopted county.
That Is The Spirit is a super horse and won the Conundrum HR Consulting Stakes very nicely. It was his debut in a handicap – and at York this was a strong handicap as always.
He kept on well and confirmed the potential that he showed us when he won at Doncaster on his racecourse debut at the end of March. He’s one to look forward to this season and the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot could be his next target.
Though I was writing this yesterday before my three unsuccessful rides on Betfred Dante Stakes day, I am already relishing my book of rides today.
In the opening race, the sportingbet.com Jorvik Stakes, I am excited about the chances of Chancery. He’s going for a hat-trick of victories at York.
He won two handicaps for me at the racecourse last summer, during the John Smith’s Cup meeting and the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
Although he wasn’t able to follow up those victories at the final meeting last October, he has an opportunity today to make it three wins.
Chancery just loves the track and I’m sure will love the new pre-parade ring and saddling boxes opened this week.
He is in great form at home. On his latest outing he ran a decent race behind a strong horse from the Newmarket yard of Yorkshireman-in-exile William Haggas. He’s showing improvement and he will have a good chance.
Half an hour later and I am engaged in the £140,000 Group 2 Sky Bet Yorkshire Cup, part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, aboard Repeater.
Although he’s not the easiest of rides, as I related in last week’s column, he is likely to contest a number of ‘Cup’ races this season. He’s willing and able and I believe he will be there or thereabouts this afternoon at a longish price.
Those are two excellent rides, but the one I’m really sweet on today is in the 3.50pm race, the Ralph Raper Memorial Stakes.
My mount is the three-year-old G Force who was second for my colleague Jamie Spencer when he made his racecourse debut at Newbury last autumn.
His first outing this term was at Newcastle for me towards the end of last month.
He was a very good winner that day – in fact I believe he broke the track record.
He is certainly going the right way and is showing just the attitude you want from a sprinter. I believe he will take all the beating today; although no race on Knavesmire is ever easy to win. That’s how good a handicapper I think he will be.
In the EBF Stallions Breeding Winners ripleycollection.com Fillies’ Handicap at 4.25pm, I ride Patrona Ciana.
She won on her seasonal debut at Ayr a couple of weeks ago for me. That was her first triumph in Britain. She’s another horse in good form, but coming to York in search of a share of the £1m prize fund over the Festival is a big step up in class for her and she will need to improve again.
My final ride of the afternoon is on Zamra in the Racing At York YorkRacecourseTips.co.uk at 5pm.
This is the first time I will have been on this horse, but she won on her first outing this season under Paul Mulrennan in a dead heat at Beverley.
If I can add to my winning tally today I will be thrilled because it will complete what has already been a cracking Dante Festival for me.
The Dante Festival at York concludes this afternoon. Admission ranges from £5 to £32. The first race time is 1.45pm, with gates open at 11.15am. More details at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.