My wee began with a hectic father’s day, which was exacerbated by a move from lambourn to racing’s Headquarters at Newmarket. Most importantly, my little family settled in happily at the beautiful and historic Abington Place and are appreciative of the surroundings of a town with all the facilities it provides. We feel we are in proper civilisation and I’m most grateful to Mary Slack for making that the best Father’s Day gift possible.
Monday evening racing at Windsor draws big crowds when the sun shines and that was the case when I made a second visit to ride at the riverside course. Both my mounts acqui ed themselves satisfactorily.
The following morning dawned with bright sunshine across Newmarket Heath and I greatly enjoyed riding out rst for Jane Chapple-Hyam, who rents some of the boxes at Abington Place, and then for Sir Michael Stoute, whose Freemason Lodge base is just a few hundred metres down the Bury Road.
My drive to take two mounts for Mick Channon at Brighton took two hours-plus but like all seaside locations that town is a joyous and upli ing sight when bathed in summer sunshine.
My rst ride, Whiteley, acquit- ted herself well before I booted home a much-needed winner on Jersey Breeze.
My day began early on Wednesday, giving myself plenty of time to reach Ascot where on Day 2 of the Royal meeting I had two mounts, Barrington in the Jersey Stakes, and Same Jurisdiction for Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein Stud in theDuke Of Cambridge Stakes run over the straight 1600m.
It was great to see Kevin Sommerville in the paddock along with Mrs Rupert, and I felt my filly ran well for a long way.
In a very strong renewal which also featured Smart Call, we didn’t have the best of draws and so I tacked across to the far side to obtain a good position, three lengths o the slow pace set by Ryan Moore on Smart Call.
Unfortunately that cover disappeared when a horse in front of me dived in towards the rail at the halfway point of the contest.
Once in the open Same Jurisdiction travelled well but Ascot is a stiff mile and I feel she would possibly be more effective over 1400m.
Afterwards I discussed the race with Ryan who was very happy with Smart Call’s run. The trip was shorter than ideal and although he didn’t want to make the running he had little option as nobody wanted to make it a true test. Ryan said his filly would be be er over further and more effective operating on a faster pace. Thursday saw me head to Chelmsford City with rides on the Polytrack there for Amanda Perre and Sir Michael Stoute.
This racecourse isn’t too far from Newmarket and it hosted Ladies’ Night and the track was packed with people enjoying the summer conditions and giving off a great vibe.
My first mount, Zzoro, had given me an initial success in the UK at Newmarket but that was over 2000m on a so turf track while this was a shorter 1800m on sand. From my draw against the rail I made sure he got a handy early position and although dropping back in the final 300m he still ran a very solid race in fourth.
I then took the reins on Splash Around, my rst ride in public for the Stoute stable.
He is a maiden and was racing over 2200m. It was a delight to ride for Sir Michael, one of the leg- ends in the global league of distin- guished trainers.
Friday I had a well-deserved sleep-in then took a walk into Newmarket town with my family. I was racing preparing to race for the first time that evening on the Newmarket July course. I had two rides, my first being Winston C for Michael Bell. He ran a good race, finishing third.
My next ride for Heather Main was a 40-1 shot who led over the 1400m straight race. We were beaten just over a length and were just pipped for third place. The owners were so happy.
At time of writing I am looking forward to a brief return to South Africa speci cally to ride Brazuca in the Vodacom Durban July at Greyville.
The horse has been in good form in his prep, but his chance may be tempered by the widest gate – we will have to wait and see.
An interesting development on Wednesday afternoon was the arrival at Abington of six horses including Sun Met winner Whisky Baron. They had endured a long haul flight from Mauritius. It was great to catch up with Steve Jell who has travelled up from London to check on their well-being.