It becomes all about York for me after a visit to Thirsk for two rides early this afternoon, as the ninth Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival unfolds.
They’re the hors d’oeuvre before the feast that is the Music Showcase Weekend on Knavesmire this evening and tomorrow.
York will still be in my mind as I get into the saddle on Fashion Queen in the 2.30pm maiden race. She was a runner-up on debut on John Smith’s Cup day and she is engaged back at York in the Group 2 Sky Bet Lowther Stakes on August 18, the second day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
I think she is the one her rivals have to beat, though I’ve had better luck in the draw.
Then it’s down to York for the Premier Design & Print Stakes in which I get on board Signore Piccolo who will be wearing a hood for the first time this season.
It helped him last year, but he needs to get back to that form.
My next two horses need to do the same as they are both York winners from past years.
Lustrous, in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Lyric Fillies’ Stakes at 7.30pm, and He’s No Saint half an hour afterwards in the Novus Stakes. My mare has won at this level before and the £40,000 prize money would be nice; a danger is a horse owned by Her Majesty The Queen, Diploma; ironically the filly that gave me the honour of winning in those famous silks in May, over course and distance.
First Bombardment, in the closing Sky Bet Go-Racing-In-Yorkshire Summer Festival Stakes, has won at Beverley this season and could run a good race.
Saved By The Bell is another to have won at York in both of the last two seasons.
He goes for the second race tomorrow of an entire card backed by Sky Bet.
Hopefully, he can make it three Knavesmire wins in consecutive years.
Alfred Hutchinson is back on a track at which he enjoyed victory a year ago. I think he will have a big chance in the 3pm contest.
Mondialise goes into the feature race, the Group 2 Sky Bet York Stakes, trying to rediscover the form that took him to yet higher success in Canada as well as a runner-up spot at the Breeders’ Cup. He steps up in trip to 10 furlongs for the first time.
That should help him in a race in which his main opponent looks like being Time Test in the Juddmonte silks of Prince Khalid Abdullah.
For the winner, a tilt at York’s richest-ever race – the £900,000 Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes – would then become credible.
I round off the afternoon on Louis The Pious in the Sky Bet Dash, the £50,000 sprint feature of the day.
Like this summer’s weather, he’s another who can be a bit hit and miss.
Of course, although racing as always comes first at York, it’s not just about the sport over the next two days as it is also time for the annual Music Showcase Weekend.
I’m told that the combination of seven races and live music from The Corrs, plus those Champagne Lawns, has now proved to be so irresistible that the capacity in the County Stand only for tomorrow has now been reached.
So the best place to see the racing and music action on Saturday is from the Grandstand and Paddock; it’s a bit more informal but still great fun.
Of course, if you fancy a picnic, the Course Enclosure in the middle of the racecourse is only ever open to sales once gates open at 11.15am.
Though Kaiser Chiefs are proving popular as well, there are still County Stand badges available for this evening, so you can see me in the Parade Ring from that fabulous roof terrace and then head towards the stage to enjoy the Leeds band.
I was pleased to get on the board with a winner at Catterick but I now need to enjoy a memorable few days to challenge for that Top Jockey of the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival title.
n The Music Showcase Weekend is today and tomorrow at York.
First race times are 6pm and 1.55pm respectively. After racing, Kaiser Chiefs are in concert this evening and The Corrs tomorrow. Find out more and book tickets at www.yorkracecourse.co.uk.