Last week’s tragedy at Haydock when stalls handler Stephen Yarborough was killed was truly dreadful.
The circumstances into his death are still being established but it looks like a freak accident. Stephen was someone I saw on nearly a daily basis, as he was a Yorkshire lad, who worked on the northern tracks.
He was a lovely guy and it’s difficult to comprehend. We take their jobs for granted but they are the real unsung heroes of the sport and are an integral part of the day-to-day staging of races.
My thoughts are with Stephen’s family, friends and colleagues. He will be badly missed.
He’s a lovely ride to pick up and it’s a real thrill to put on Kirsten Rausing’s famous green and white silks again. I rode a fair bit for her when Sir Mark Prescott sent horses up north and I've enjoyed some success.
He was third behind Hawkbill last time – which is rock solid form – and second to Autocratic the time before. We have a 3lb pull with Autocratic which puts him bang there and I am really looking forward to swinging my leg over.
I start the day with our old favourite, Get Knotted, who runs in the Win £100K For Free At sportinglife.com/pick7 Now Handicap – a contest he won 12 months ago.
He ran a decent race last time when fifth in the Scottish Stewards’ Cup at Hamilton, but this extra furlong is ideal, as is the going and obviously the course, which he always runs well on. There are a lot of ticks and I’m expecting a big run.
I have partnered Nameitwhatyoulike to six of his nine victories, so clearly have a good rapport. He is dropping down to handicap company following four previous runs in Group and Listed company. He’s won at the track before and again the likely easy ground will be appreciated. He runs in the Sky Bet Dash Handicap.
On to the Sky Bet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap, in which I ride Euchen Glen, who I always seem to get a tune out of. That's important as he’s a horse that takes some getting to know and Jim Goldie’s horses are running well.
Neshmeya looks a lovely filly and I saw her close up when she finished second to me on Talaayeb at Newmarket last year. I always do well for Sheikh Hamdan, and it’s great to be back on one of his. She runs in the Sky Bet Supporting New Beginnings British EBF Fillies' Handicap.
Finally, I think John Kirkup has a massive chance in the Sky Bet Supporting Yorkshire Air Ambulance Nursery Handicap.
He was just nabbed on the line last time at York over six furlongs and this drop back to five will suit. He has to give weight away but he’s drawn well in 10 and Michael Dods’ horses are running really well.
If you’re reading this on Saturday morning and thinking about heading to York, I’d urge you to do just that. It’s probably my favourite course in the country and they have invested heavily in the facilities. What’s more, William Derby and his team know how to stage an event and, with All Saints playing afterwards, it should be a great day of racing and music.