Racing TV ambassador Paul Mulrennan provides the inside track on his rides over the next couple of days plus discusses the relaxation of racecourse attendance limits.
The weekend begins early with a couple of rides on the July Course at Newmarket on Friday.
I partner Ballintoy Harbour in the Rich Energy Two Drinks One Taste Handicap (7.50pm) for Paul Midgley and, as she demonstrated when winning a 5f novice at Newcastle in April, she’s all about speed.
With Graham Lee in the saddle, she blitzed her rivals from the front there and it was fairly evident that she didn’t get home over 6f at York on her most recent outing.
Secondly, Gale Force Maya contests the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Handicap (8.20pm). She’s a mare who has been running well this year, principally when scoring over 7f at Doncaster. She likes plenty of space in her races so, all things considered, it was a complete disaster last time. Michael’s horses continue to perform well, and although it’s a tight six-runner handicap, we can safely draw a line through her run at Thirsk.
Following a COVID enforced break in 2020, the popular Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival returns at Ripon on Saturday. With nine days (ten fixtures) of racing spread across the wide geographical compass of Yorkshire, I’m looking forward to some ‘home games’ and remain hopeful of getting a few winners on the board.
Unfortunately, I find myself down to a single ride at Ripon on Saturday where I’m aboard the Tom Dascombe-trained So Smart in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Staks (3.20pm). Back from a three-month absence, he earned a Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 87 in defeat at Nottingham, and the yard think he’ll run another solid race. Probable threats include Roger Varian’s Super Cub and Bryan Smart’s Firebomb, the latter of whom finished second to the subsequent Norfolk Stakes winner Perfect Power at Hamilton. It’s a glorious morning in North Yorkshire so with beautiful drying ground forecast, there will be no excuses on that score.
On the Yorkshire theme, it was great to be back aboard Goobinator on the Knavesmire at York last Saturday. He’d lost his confidence over jumps after a fall at Musselburgh and could have more to offer on the Flat. As a son of Noble Mission, he’s an enthusiastic horse, so it was helpful that there was a strong early pace in that race and, of course, the return of headgear (hood) also aided his cause. He’s improving with racing, and all he did was stay. He’s quite lightly raced on the level, and with Donald more than adept at bringing horses back from hurdles (i.e. Overturn) he’s an exciting horse for the staying races next year.
I’ve been Yorkshire-based for many years, and you thoroughly enjoy seeing the same faces standing in the same places on a racecourse. I really noticed the stark contrast during the first few months of racing behind closed doors, when it often felt like going out to ride a piece of work. Eventually, we did become more accustomed to the somewhat surreal atmosphere, but hopefully with the relaxation of strict attendance limits from Monday (July 19th), those darker days are consigned deeper into history. The schools are breaking up for the summer holidays, and our daughter Scarlett loves her days at the races so it’ll be fantastic to see the younger demographic returning to our sport. Obviously, as a rider (for over 20 years), the summer months are the busiest of the year, and consequently there is no time to relax. As a working family, we will look forward to taking our own holidays during the winter months.
Ollie Stammers, Liam Keniry and Shane Kelly have all suffered bad falls over the course of the last week or so, and on behalf of everyone in the weighing room, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish those lads a very speedy recovery from their respective injuries.
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