Well, the Ebor Festival came and went. I took the short journey over the A19 for the first three days but opted to stay at home on the Saturday, in front of the TV and in earshot of the radio (keeping tabs on what was happening down in Bristol! An eventful 3-2 reverse at the hands of Bristol Rovers I’m afraid!), and keeping dry as the horrid rain battered the area.
At least I can say the weather was fine for the first three days!
There was some excellent racing on the Knavesmire with my favourite moment been the Ebor itself, Tiger Cliff landing Europe’s richest handicap for Lady Cecil. A plan that the late great Sir Henry had hatched well before his sad death, with a fairytale ending.
Looking at the Warren Place stats since Lady Cecil took over the license is fascinating reading. From 102 runner’s they have sent out 25 winner’s with another 52 making the frame. A truly remarkable strike rate and a testament to the team at Warren Place. I’m sure the great man was looking down with a great sense of pride when Tom and Tiger Cliff wore Genzy down near the winning line last Saturday.
I read somewhere that the attendances were down over the four days, well I’m not surprised at that. I would like to see the official figures as I felt the meeting got busier day by day, I have to say I have been to York on many occasions and when it has been a case of fighting massive queues to get a drink, but been fair it didn’t seem that bad. I am a great believer in the old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it” and I always enjoyed the Ebor meeting when it was a midweek three day meet. Unfortunately all the big meeting’s have been “stretched” out to the max to create more options for hospitality and the corporate race goer. It is the way of the world now I’m afraid.
Due to suspension, Kirsty missed her ride in the Juddmonte International on Rewarded. I was gutted for her as she loves the horse and has put so much work into him so it was a great shame that she wasn’t able to get the leg up. He ran a blinder too. I know Toronado ran below form but Rewarded wasn’t beaten far and I wouldn’t mind betting he would of finished closer had Milkshake ridden him, as she knows the horse better than anyone.
She gained some consolation on Sunday when winning on Deserted at Yarmouth. Now I know Yarmouth is a million miles away from York (well just over 200 miles if your driving!), but she gave Luca Cumani’s Oasis Dream filly some ride. In fact, she is up for Ride Of The Week on Attheraces so, if you can, please take a minute to vote for her on their website!
Our old boy Almaty Express heads to Bath on Friday evening and with luck he won’t be far away. Even at the age of eleven he still has such a great zest and enthusiasm for the game, but he is still a youngster in comparison to Dandy Nicholls old sprinter Indian Trail, who at the age of thirteen is taking to the stage at Beverley for the last time on Saturday, before heading to a well deserved retirement at Tall Trees.
I recall him winning at the track last September and the scenes in the winner’s enclosure were amazing. Adrian Nicholls wife Clare looks after the old sprinter and she really was overcome with emotion that day. Clare rode herself up until ten years ago and she had 23 winner’s but I doubt any of them meant as much as that did to her. Here’s to a happy retirement to a grand old servant who I’m sure will of no doubt of done some of you a good turn or two over the years.
At Beverley on Saturday, I am of the opinion that David Brown’s ILLUMINATING DREAM is sure to come on for his debut run when finishing third at Doncaster. Jamie Spencer goes up to East Yorkshire for this and York Glory (which also should go well having not been beaten far in the Nunthorpe) but I feel that this for Qatar Racing looks to be his best chance on the Westwood.
On Friday, an old favourite of mine goes to his favourite track down in Esher. Willie Musson’s ROCKET ROB has a great record at Sandown with three wins, three seconds and two unplaced efforts from eight starts. William Buick takes the ride and looks a solid each way bet.
Buick has a nice book of rides with Four for his boss John Gosden, as well as getting the leg up on Musson’s speedster so he could well be in for a good day at the office.
Up at Southwell’s twilight meeting I’m looking at MR CARBON FOOTPRINT to make his mark in the 5.30 race. I was at Ripon when this inmate of Richard Fahey’s showed a willing attitude to beat a newcomer from Kevin Ryan’s which has shown good form since and from there he went to a class two at Goodwood. This is a big drop in class and I would be expecting this fellow to land the prize.
Mick Appleby’s JOHN COFFEY won well the other day at Newcastle, showing a good turn of foot to win an apprentice race under Ali Rawlinson to give the young rider his maiden win. Now been trained by Mick Appleby I’m sure this fellow will of been well tested around Southwell and he did indeed run here when under the care of Dandy Nicholls. Un-penalised here, I can see the combination doubling up on their win from Newcastle.
Have a great weekend.