Good morning all,
York starts it's Dante meeting today on what is more likely to be nearer winter jumping ground than summer Flat if the forecast is anything to go by! It's a bit of a shame as the form, as regards the Classics at Epsom in a few weeks time, will be almost worthless but it does make things a bit more interesting for punting purposes.
I had a look at the card yesterday and my thoughts on it are on today's piece.
By the time the 2.20 comes around today, you can expect it to be soft going (probably at best, could be even worse!) at York and it's surely going to pay to concentrate on those with the soft ground form in the bank. Expect a fair few non-runners too.
Skybet are paying first six places (at 1/5th the odds) on the first as long as 16 or more run, which gives us a bit of leeway as far as non-runners go, and the one I like is Alan King's Cosmeapolitan, for whom a bit of cut is no issue. Plus, he's got a bit of stamina which can only help today – he's got form over 1m6f last year, will strip fitter for a recent run at Newmarket and although he wouldn't be the best handicapped horse in the race, handicapping takes a back seat when the ground is testing – it's all about what handles conditions best. He's on the shortlist.
At an even bigger price, you could consider Awake My Soul, who has twice been placed in this race, handles soft/heavy ground fine and on a couple of runs from last year, showed he's still capable enough at this level. The worry would be that he's not had a warm-up run this year (which he has on previous occasions) but even so, he's unlikely to have been left short of work for what would appear an early-season target for him. There's some 33-1 about this morning and that's fair enough.
The sprint handicap at 2.55 has a big field but soft ground form is tricky enough to find.
Muntadab is blindingly obvious as he's in cracking form at the moment, is nicely drawn in stall 2 (has pace himself, but also Watchable in stall 4 and possibly Related in stall 5 to take him along) and has won on soft ground in the past. He has to go close as long as there's no significant draw bias towards high numbers.
The aforementioned Watchable is worth a second look too – he's not won for many a while but isn't running badly at present, does have a bit of soft ground form from his early days and showed plenty of speed again at Ascot at the weekend. He's probably place material rather than win, but nevertheless, is worth consideration.
The Duke Of York at 3.00 has a solid favourite in Brando and given his record on soft, and at the track, most folk will stop there and look no further. They could be right, of course, but at slightly bigger odds, Suedois makes some appeal. I think I'd rather him come here with a run under his belt but he went well enough fresh last year (second on soft ground at Doncaster) to think it shouldn't be too much of an issue. That third to Limato at Chantilly last year is a good piece of form and it's not his only good form either. He'll find this easier than some of the tasks he was asked last season and should go close.
And given a 33-1 price tag, you'd think Final Venture was a mile behind these on the ratings but he's only 6lb behind Brando, has shown form on soft ground (albeit off a much lower mark and in lesser company) and might be able to lead the high numbers. If the earlier sprint has shown a bit of a tendency towards those drawn high, I could get interested in him at a price.
Today's selection – Cosmeapolitan 2.20 York
Still trying to work out how Blue Rhythm didn't get the nod in the photo last night!
Good luck with all your bets today,