Paul Mulrennan - A Jockey’s Diary: Ebor Festival is more than a fitting follow-up to the Olympic Games

I COULD not put it better than York’s assistant clerk of the course, Anthea Morshead, when she tweeted: “How to follow The Olympics? With Frankel and Twice Over in the Juddmonte International at York next week!”

The Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival is what everyone in racing is talking about at the moment.

Once this weekend’s meetings are over, it will be right upon us. Every day of the Festival, Wednesday to Saturday next week, has fantastic races – and I would love to have a winner or two to make it extra special.

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But back to the next couple of days and today I have a busy time with 10 rides at Newcastle and Catterick. I think I’ve got a chance of a couple of winners among that figure.

Al Mukhdam, trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam, who won the Juddmonte in 2007 with Authorized, was fourth on his debut three weeks ago at Newmarket.

He was due to run at Beverley this week, but it was thought that the ground might just be a little on the firm side for the colt.

He’ll get it easier at Gosforth Park in the 2pm race today and I think he might just be good enough to win.

My other main chance today is in the last race in which I’m engaged at Newcastle.

That’s Noble Silk in the 4.10pm race, a horse trained by Lucy Wadham in Newmarket.

She’s more renowned as a jumps handler, but she has some good successes with her Flat horses. My agent thinks this is a good ride and so I will go into the race with confidence.

Then I’m off down the A1 for evening racing at Catterick.

A couple that I would mention are trainer Ann Duffield’s Grievous Angel in the nursery at 6.35pm and Piste in the 7.45pm handicap.

The filly has been knocking at the door in the last month, with two runner-up spots, including one at Catterick.

She’s wearing a visor for the first time and that could just be the job so that she can get her head in front for the first time.

Trainer Tina Jackson’s mare Piste has been in good form in the last few days. I won on her at the same North Yorkshire venue at the beginning of last week and she was a very narrow runner-up at Newcastle a day later. She could do the business again tonight.

It’s Ripon for me tomorrow afternoon for their big day of the year, including the Great 
St Wilfred Stakes.

The horses I ride will need to rediscover some of their old form if I am to have a winner at the ‘Garden Racecourse’.

However, after riding in the Great St Wilfred, I’m off to Doncaster for a ride in the 5pm race on Art Scholar for Nottinghamshire trainer Michael Appleby.

The five-year-old has good form on Town Moor, including a win there last month, and I think he will have a good chance.

As well as my recent winners that I’ve been privileged to ride, I was very chuffed when racing pundit James Willoughby, a form expert on the Racing UK TV channel, placed me at No 4 in his list of top 10 under-rated jockeys. I hope that I continue to live up to such praise.

My riding plans are still fluid for Knavesmire next week. I’m still waiting for that call from Aidan O’Brien...

I have great sympathy for my weighing room colleague Johnny Murtagh who misses out on York after suffering a facial injury this week.

But when one door closes for one rider it opens for another. As trainer John Oxx’s Saddler’s Rock is poised for the Group 2 Weatherbys Insurance Lonsdale Cup which is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series on Saturday next, my good friend Niall McCullagh – whom I have spent some time with riding out in India – could come in for the ride.

I am sure many Yorkshire Post readers will be heading to York next week.

The appearance by superstar Frankel on Wednesday is one to say ‘I was there the day when’, but every one of the 25 contests looks likely to attract a quality field and that should be no surprise with nearly £3m invested in prize-money.

Add the fun of ‘Fashion on The Field’ every day, the fresh Yorkshire food and even the RAF parachute display team on the Saturday and you can see why it is four days enjoyed by so many people.

The Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival is on Wednesday to Saturday, August 22-25.

The feature races are the Juddmonte International (Wednesday), the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on Ladies’ Day (Thursday), the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (Friday) and the Betfred Ebor (Saturday).

On-the-day admission in the Grandstand & Paddock and County Enclosures is £28 and £53, respectively.

Three-day admission ranges from £17 to £137, while four-day admission is £22 to £175.

As always, accompanied Under-16s are admitted free of charge to all areas.

More information and advance bookings at or by calling the racecourse on 01904 620 911.