Ayr is a long way to go for just a couple of rides, and that’s why I am concentrating on just that Scottish meeting on Saturday rather than try to fit in a meeting before, like I might usually do on a Saturday.
Pomme De Terre should make it a worthwhile trip. He has been placed in his last three starts and the form of those races has worked out well. The recent wet weather will help and he’s run well at Ayr before. He should go very close in the QTS Ladies' Night Grand Spectacular Handicap.
I kick off with French Flyer in the QTS Miss Scotland EBF Novice Stakes. I’ve ridden him in both his starts, both at Ayr, winning the first and then third when stepped up to seven furlongs. It was a very stop-start gallop that day and a bit of a messy race. He’s definitely come on for those two runs and he should give me a good start to the card.
Goninodaethat, who runs in the QTS Investors In Sport Handicap, is a grand old horse who has run 80-plus times. He’s a course and distance winner and you know what you’re going to get with him. He’s a pretty consistent sort and Jim Goldie’s horses are running well.
Somnambulist comes into the QTS Training Handicap looking for his first win. He’s been running well without getting his nose in front, but deserves a win and I’ve had a bit of luck whenever I’ve teamed up with Keith Dalgleish.
On his work at home Chipping should be there or thereabouts in the Gas Sure & James Frew Handicap, he just hasn’t quite replicated it on the track this season. He has been gelded and is drawn well in two.
Finally, I am on Question Of Faith in the neselectrical.com Handicap. She ran better than her form suggests on her last run, when she was seventh in a ladies’ amateur race at Carlisle. She was dropped out and came home really well, and prior to that she posted two seconds and a first, so she clearly will be one of the leading chances.
It’s been a decent couple of weeks for me with 10 winners, but it’s nothing compared to Silvestre De Sousa, who notched his century of winners at Brighton on Wednesday. It took him just 96 days and he was 34 clear of Jim Crowley in the process. In June I wrote that it was too early to call him the Stobart Flat Jockeys’ Champion, but it isn't now, barring any injuries.
Talking of landmarks, my win on Holmeswood on Monday brought up Michael Dods’ 50 for the year, which is an amazing achievement, given he has a string of 60 horses. Michael also has an eye for buying shrewdly and if you have a horse with him, more often than not, he’ll turn it into a winning experience for the owners. Back to the jockeys, and the apprentice title race is a lot more close, with Kieran Shoemark and David Egan setting the pace. Kieran Shoemark picked up a 10-day ban at Kempton on Wednesday, which could tip it in David’s favour.
David’s father John is my cousin, so I know him reasonably well. He gets very low in the saddle and looks stylish. He’s very dedicated so I’m sure he’s got what it takes. I can’t wait to see father and so go head-to-head in a driving finish! That will be some photo.
Kieran seems a nice lad too and he’s also got the right DNA, as his father and grandfather were jockeys. I am sure he learned a lot when he had a spell in Australia back in 2015 and he’s got a very bright future.