Good morning all,
The rest of my working week will be spent in Yorkshire, with three days in York itself before a trip to Doncaster on Saturday. Expect me to be saying things like “Eeeh Bah Gum” and know the lyrics to “Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at” by the end of the week.
Nice winner to get the week off to a good start yesterday – here's hoping for another at York, with my thoughts on the main piece.
1.50 – 1m4f Handicap
Those towards the head of the market are all well drawn, and have plenty of improvement to come, so it’s unlikely we’re going to see an upset here, I think.
Fujaira Price heads them up, and he’s got plenty to like about his chances. Drawn 2, will handle the ground and the track won’t be a problem. Easy winner over 10f at Doncaster on his latest start and looking at his pedigree, I don’t think the step up to 12f will be a problem.
First Eleven was a desperately unlucky loser at Royal Ascot last year but he made amends for it later in the year by winning the valuable Lavazza Stakes, form that looks very solid. I’m happy to forgive his final effort of the year on softer ground and it’ll be a surprise if there’s not more to come from him this year. Drawn 5, which is ideal.
If there’s anything at a bigger price that makes some appeal then Proschema and My Reward do. The former likes it here, having twice been in the frame in big handicaps here last term, and the faster they go up front the better his chace late on, as he stays further that this. That comment applies to My Reward too, who might just be gone at the game but equally it’s under a year since he won over this trip at Pontefract and he’s 3lb lower here. Expect him to go hard up front – chances are he’ll fade away again, but at 50-1 I could risk a small e/w bet on him.
2.25 – 6f Handicap
No shortage of pace, most of it middle-to-high, but hard to be dogmatic about the best place to be as far as the draw goes at this stage.
The interesting one for me is Sandra’s Secret, trained by Les Eyre. The key point for me is the booking of SDS, who won three times on the horse last year and gave hima each of a ride from the front when successful over C&D last June. He’s only 1lb higher here, has his conditions and you can expect him to blaze away up front again. Something clearly went wrong at Musselburgh so forget that, and I like his chances of hitting the frame at worst.
Plenty of theses have good York form – I do think it’s something of a specialists track, it shouldn’t be but the more the years go by the more I believe that’s true – the likes of Intisaab, Flying Pursuit (who will probably be happier on softer) and Staxton, who John made a good case for on Monday, all hold chances.
3.00 – Duke Of York Stakes, 6f
You could drive yourself mad looking through the formlines for this, they all intertwine quite well and you can make cases for plenty of them!
Invincible Army is favourite after an easy 2l win over Major Jumbo at Doncaster. It looked impressive but the handicapper, interestingly, hasn’t moved his mark, so he thought he’d merely run to form. Does he need to find more again, then? He’s never raced at York, either, and although he gets away with good ground, I’m not sure he wants it really quick, which after another couple of drying days, it might well be. There’s enough there to want to make me look elsewhere at the price.
Limato is all class on his day and is the genuine G1 performer here. He’ll have his ground too, but his record after a break is a bit mixed, so that and the penalty he carries here make him less appealing.
With the likes of Ornate, El Astronaute, Major Jumbo and Hey Jonesy in the race, this is going to be run at a furious pace. It’s possible one of them might hold on – Major Jumbo, who is still improving, makes the most appeal of them – but they may well set it up for a finisher. Brando looks the obvious one to take advantage but he’s never won here in seven starts (but has been placed four times, including a second to Harry Angel in this last year) so will need to break that stat, so I’m going to chance Yafta. He’s never raced here, which is a slight worry, but he’ll get this run to suit, and was a bit unlucky not to take the Abernant on his reappearance having done the hard work of getting to the front after being hampered. If he gets the breaks, expect to see him flying late on.
Today's selection – Sandra's Secret 2.25 York (e/w, some books paying 5 and Skybet 6 places)
Good luck with all your bets today,