The final day of the Ebor meeting and I have to start by saluting Battaash who was so good in the Nunthorpe on Friday. I had felt that Art Power was going to shake him up a little, but we were just never able to land a blow. The rain started to fall in the build-up and that was perfect for my fella. We will go back to the drawing boards now as I’m sure that wasn’t his running. We know he is a lot better than that and he was just never travelling from the off. Take nothing away from Battaash who is such a superstar. He had to battle really hard and show a lot of bravery to beat Que Amoro. Anyway, Art Power has better days ahead and we will be back.
There was much better news with Angel Power in the fillies’ handicap. She relished the step up in trip and got a deserved victory which was just reward for her consistency this season. They went pretty hard early and she was there to pounce late on.
Onto Saturday’s action (check out the Zoom Room below) and I have five rides to look forward to…
WISE GLORY (2.25pm – Melrose Handicap)
My first ride of the afternoon is Wise Glory for the Crisford team in the Melrose Handicap. He’s been very consistent this season, already winning a couple of times and was a solid third at Ascot last time. He steps up in trip here and this is his first go over 1m 6f, so hopefully that will suit. It looks a typically competitive race with Favourite Moon and Kipps looking the obvious two.
SHINE SO BRIGHT (3.00pm – City Of York Stakes)
I’m looking forward to getting back aboard last year’s City Of York Stakes winner Shine So Bright. He was really good in this race 12 months ago, but things will be a little bit tougher as he won’t get the three-year-old allowance this time around. He has got better with each start this campaign and the return to seven furlongs will suit too. The ground appears to be drying all the time too, so that is another positive. One Master showed her class at Glorious Goodwood last time and will be pretty hard to beat. However, we will give it a good go from the front and will hopefully go pretty close.
HOCHFIELD (3.40pm – Ebor Handicap)
The big race of the day, and of the week, is the £250,000 Ebor Handicap where I had been booked to ride old friend Communique for Mark Johnston, but he is now a non-runner. Instead, I have switched to ride Hochfield for the same connections. He bounced back to form winning a good trial for this at Glorious Goodwood and sneaks in at the foot of the weights. He’s up 5lbs for that success but has been competitive off marks in the 100’s in the past. He carried a big weight to be placed over two miles at this meeting two years ago, so his ability to stay and handle the track are positives. Hopefully he can go well. There are so many horses you have to fear, but Pablo Escobarr and Pondus would probably top my list of dangers.
WINTER POWER (4.10pm)
On face value Winter Power was a little bit disappointing at Glorious Goodwood last time, but she was reappearing just three days after bolting up at Redcar and that is always a hard thing to do with a two-year-old filly. She definitely didn’t show her best at Goodwood and I may just ride her a little bit differently here. I have the feeling she may benefit from being held onto for longer and hopefully we will see the real Winter Power bounce back to form. This is a hot looking race though with plenty of decent youngsters up against us.
My final ride of the week at York comes in what looks like the most competitive 10 furlong handicap of the entire meeting! I partner Pivoine for Andrew Balding and King Power racing who needs to bounce back to form to figure in the finish. For whatever reason, he just hasn’t fired in four starts this season. However, we do know he loves York though as he won the John Smith’s Cup here last year and he lines up off a 4lb lower mark. If he was to return to that sort of form he would definitely have a chance. I rode Maydanny when he won over this trip at Glorious Goodwood last time and he did it nicely that day. There appeared to be plenty left in the tank and he is unquestionably the one to beat.