There isn’t a meeting I look forward to riding at more than York’s four-day Ebor meeting. It is just such a lovely place to ride with an unbelievable atmosphere. The track itself is really fair and as there is so much room you rarely get that many hard luck stories. The racing itself is top quality without the pressure of Royal Ascot and everyone seems very relaxed. I will drive up there on Wednesday morning and stay up to ride at the meeting again on Thursday. Here are my thoughts on my three rides on the opening day and also my thoughts on the big race itself…
STONE OF DESTINY (1.55pm)
A typical competitive York handicap to open things up with and I ride Stone Of Destiny for Andrew Balding and King Power. I wasn’t on him when he won at the Shergar Cup last time so it will be good to be reunited again. He deserved that success and ran well in the Stewards’ Cup on his previous start. The handicapper has nudged him up a couple of pounds for that Ascot success and hopefully he can go well if in the same form. This 5 ½ furlong trip looks perfect for him so I’m hoping he can go well. It does look a tough race though and you have to respect Dakota Gold who bolted up at Ripon last weekend.
NAYEF ROAD (3.00pm – Great Voltigeur Stakes)
Only the five runners in the Great Voltigeur where I am back on board Nayef Road who I won the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on last time. He’s a lovely horse and we face Aidan O’Brien’s Constantinople on 3lbs worse terms this time. There was obviously only a neck between us last time so it will be tough to confirm that form. However, we will give it our best shot in what promises to be a really good race. In fact, we may all have our work cut out to beat Logician and that man Frankie Dettori! This is a step up in class for that colt, but he is an unbeaten son of Frankel with a big reputation.
3.35pm York – Juddmonte International
No ride for me in the big race of the day, but it will be fascinating to see how the three-year-olds get on against Crystal Ocean. My feeling is that the older horse will come out on top again, despite the fact that he has to give a lot of weight to some really good colts. He got so close to beating Enable at Ascot last time and if he can reproduce that performance he will win.
My final ride of the day is Mark Johnston’s Monoski who carries top weight in the Nursery. He has had plenty of experience and beat a good horse in Show Me Show Me in effortless fashion on his second start. Since then he has been outclassed in the Coventry Stakes and has been beaten at both Pontefract and Chelmsford. However, he wasn’t beaten far on either of those occasions and shouldn’t be far away. It does look seriously competitive though and it may be a tough task to give weight to the likes of Oti Ma Boati.
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