IT’S a very important time of the season for our locals trainer with York’s Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival under way next week, and many of them are in top form as the countdown continues.

Karl Burke’s stable had a nice double up at Ayr on Monday, starting off with Mystic And Artist in the opener.

Afterwards the trainers’ daughter, Kelly, was on hand, saying: “We’re delighted with her and the key to her was the soft ground but the extra furlong was also a big help. She’ll probably go for a Group Three at Goodwood now.”

Later in the afternoon Jay Kay bolted up under Burke’s useful apprentice Joey Haynes and afterwards the winning owner John Kenny said: “I told everyone he was going to win but I didn’t have anything on myself. Karl has done a great job and I’m sure he’ll go on from this.”

Carlisle raced on Tuesday and the feature race went the way of the Mark Johnston trained Showstoppa.

Staying at Carlisle, Micky Hammond demonstrated his training skills by sending Diddy Eric to win two races in a handful of days.

The winning trainer, saying: “He likes this soft ground and though he was a pound out of the handicap he was running without a penalty after he won the apprentice race last week at Newcastle.”

There was also a popular success in the claimer when The Osteopath came home in front for the tenth time in his career.

Ridden by Phil Makin, The Osteopath is trained outside Darlington by John Davies who said: “He’s been a grand horse, and that’s the third time he has won for me. It’s always nice to win with a horse owned by Kevin Kirkup because he was the person that got me going as a trainer.”

It was Beverley’s turn to race on Wednesday and there was an impressive performance from Where’s Tiger in the ten furlong handicap.

Afterwards winning trainer Jedd O’Keefe was on hand, saying: “Where’s Tiger has always shown promise, but he’s a big, lean athletic horse who has taken time. He’s got plenty of scope for improvement on the flat and I think the jumping boys will be interested in him.”

Looking ahead to York next week Australia will have a new jockey should he run in the Juddmonte International, but trainer Aidan O’Brien has warned the colt’s participation is far from certain.

O’Brien’s son Joseph has ridden the three-year-old in all six starts but he is unable to make the 8st 12lb Australia would carry against older horses in next week’s Group one.

O’Brien, who has won York’s richest race three times in the last six years, said: “We won’t be making a decision about Australia running for another few days. He’s being trained with the race in mind, but it’s still in the balance if he will travel.

“If he does run Joseph won’t be riding him as 8st 12lb is below his minimum. We’ll wait until we decide about running before confirming a jockey.”

On Friday, it will be all about speed in the Coolmore Nunthorpe and Take Cover looks to give trainer David Griffiths success in the highest level.

A listed win over course and distance on the Knavesmire in July, led to Take Cover heading to Glorious Goodwood, and the seven-year-old delivered Griffiths his biggest winner to date in the Group two King George Stakes.

Now a Group one is the target with the sprinter, who has improved with age. Griffiths said: “We’ve obviously got to take on Sole Power, Hot Streak, Pearl Secret and those guys are obviously very good.

“I think Sole Power is the one seriously, seriously good horse that you would be scared of, but I think we are entitled to take our chance, aren’t we?”

A general 10-1 shot for the Nunthorpe, good ground or faster is desired by Take Cover’s connections, and Griffiths added: “The times [at Goodwood] came out very fast.

I think one of the furlongs was done in nine seconds and change, which is not unheard of, but it’s very rare.

“A couple of them tried to take us on early doors, but like I said to Andrea Atzeni, if they are going too fast for him, they are going too fast and will never get home.

“It’s only our fourth season, so to have a horse as good as him, who could potentially take you around the world, it’s unbelievable.”

So, so much to look forward to next week at York, bring it on.