The Nunthorpe Stakes is a Group 1 sprint run over 5F at York Racecourse in mid-August open to horses aged two years old and upwards. The race became part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series in 2011 with the winner of the race earning an automatic invitation to compete in the same year’s Breeders Cup Turf Sprint.
Last year’s renewal was won by Highfield Princess who will be back to defend her title as a six-year-old. Read on to see my ante-post preview along with my expert horseracing tips where I pick a horse to back in the early doors betting.
Quinn’s super mare the one to beat
This year’s renewal has a classy look about it with the first port of call surely John Quinn’s super mare Highfield Princess. She won an amazing trio of the best Group 1 sprints around last Summer including this race and came back to form in no uncertain manner when winning the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood comfortably by 3L over the minimum trip at the beginning of this month.
This preceded places in two Group one’s at Royal Ascot and she will be very hard to beat in a race that she took by 2 1/2L from The Platinum Queen last year. There really are no negatives about her as she handles any ground conditions and is likely to go off a rather short price and be hard to beat.
Speedy Bradsell a player
Archie Watson’s Bradsell was a very good two-year-old whose juvenile career ended around this time a year ago when suffering a season-ending injury in the Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh. He’s bounced back to his very best this season and following a couple of sightseers over 6F showed his true ability when winning the Group 1 Kings Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot by a length from today’s warm favourite Highfield Princess when dropping to the minimum trip of 5F. The three-year-old is 4lb worse off now but has been trained for this and looks sure to play a part in the finish.
Two-year-old Big Evs receives plenty of weight
The Nunthorpe is open to two-year-olds and upwards and although it is rare for a juvenile to take part it has been won five times before by that age bracket with the latest coming in 2007 with John Best’s Kingsgate Native. Richards Hannon’s Lyric Fantasy also struck in 1992 whilst The Platinum Queen took advantage of the allowance to finish runner-up last year to Highfield Princess leading until the final furlong.
Mick Appleby is likely to supplement his Royal Ascot and Goodwood winner Big Evs who has won on fast and soft ground although his trainer feels he’ll be seen at his best on the former terrain with his trainer stating that he’s 99 per cent certain to run unless the ground looks like being soft. Under the weight-for-age scale, juveniles receive 22lb from the three-year-olds and 24lb from the older horses which is some weight to get off of his elders.
The rest have a bit to find
Dramatised was a very speedy two-year-old for trainer Karl Burke and showed on her re-appearance that she had trained so well when winning the Group 2 Betfred Temple Stakes at Haydock in May even if she did have a marked track bias that day in coming home a length to the good from Equilateral. Well supported she was next seen when flopping in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot behind Bradsell and has questions to answer now. Back to her best mind, she could be involved at the business end here.
Likewise the four-year-old Azure Blue, trained by sprint genius Michael Dods, has to find an excuse for a lacklustre effort in the July Cup at Newmarket over 6F last month when finishing sixth of 8 to sprint sensation Shaquille (beaten 10L). He has yet to race over the minimum trip in fifteen career starts and he may get run off of his hooves here. He’s a hard one to fancy much, to be honest.
Edward Bethell has had an excellent season and is likely to run his improver Regional who’s stepped up this season winning a handicap and a listed race at York and Haydock respectively. His mark of 109 though is some 10lb below the best here so can only really be given a place chance.
Henry Candy’s Twilight Calls finished 3 1/4L behind Bradsell in the King’s Stand at Ascot and may just be a length or two behind the top sprinters here.
Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes Ante-Post Preview Betting Tips
A case can be made for Bradsell who beat Highfield Princess at Royal Ascot but I feel that John Quinn’s super mare can reverse that form and win back-to-back Nunthorpe’s at this year’s Ebor Festival at York.
HIGHFIELD PRINCESS 2 points win @ 7/4 with Boylesports
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.