The first day of three for York’s Dante meeting starts with Ed Chamberlain and the gang at ITV showing the first five from the Knavesmire where the ground is good, so no real excuses. There’s also a race from down in the West Country over the jumps at Newton Abbot where they race on soft ground. Here are my free horse racing tips for the day’s terrestrial action.
A near maximum field of seventeen goes to post for this competitive 1M 4F Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap. The most interesting runner to me is the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Real Dream who made a winning handicap debut at Kempton a fortnight ago and has only been raised 5lb. Ryan Moore takes over from Richard Kingscote and would have been the pick here was he not drawn out so wide in 17 of 17. Not insurmountable but the last 9 winners of this race have been drawn 9, 7, 7, 5, 7, 6, 6, 9, 3 & 10 and Moore will have to have a serious plan to overcome racing that deep on the Knavesmire.
William Haggas loves a winner here and saddles a brace of runners in Tasman Bay who’s joined Haggas’s from Sir Mark Todd and has some smart form on his CV from a couple of years back and La Yakel who is ridden by Tom Marquand and should be competitive. The Godolphin runner White Wolf looks interesting as he’s lightly raced and in first-time cheek pieces is worth a close eye in the market with Oisin Murphy booked who of course rode the 1000 Guineas for the trainer earlier this month.
Kevin Ryan is another trainer who loves a winner here and I do fancy his two runners here in Thundering who’s best ever run came over course and distance last year at the Ebor meeting when going down by 3/4L to Farhan and has fallen back down to the same mark today. With a run behind him on possibly unsuitable soft ground he can run well with Tom Eaves in the saddle whilst Ryan’s other runner Forza Orta was runner-up in this contest last year to a Haggas improver and like his stablemate has prepped for this with a run at Thirsk last month on ground that may have also been too slow for him. Rowan Scott rides and I think the bet here is to split the stakes on the Kevin Ryan pair.
THUNDERING 1 point each way @ 12/1 with Bet365 1/5th 12345
FORZA ORTA 1/2 point each way @ 14/1 with Bet365 1/5th 12345
Newton Abbot 14:05
A class 4 handicap hurdle run over 2m 2 1/2F on soft ground is next up with the race having an open look about it. Nigel Hawke’s Inferno Sacree has been in excellent form recently winning four of his last five starts with his customary front running style. He’s been shunted up 9lb for his latest win at Perth but should still be thereabouts on his favoured soft ground.
Harry Fry, fresh from taking the Chester Cup on the flat last week, saddles Monjules who he himself was runner up on the level at Salisbury when last seen and is another with claims with Milton Harris’s Polyphonic’s form tied into that one’s form.
One horse that has plummeted down the handicap is top weight The Pink’n trained by Seamus Mullins and gave signs last time that he may be ready to bounce back to form especially as he’s now 20lb lower than his highest-ever career mark. It would be no shock were he to run well but I have to stick with Inferno Sacree who we’re sure to get a decent run from as he’ll be out in front.
INFERNO SACREE 1 point each way @ 5/1 with William Hill 1/5th 123
A real cavalry charge is up next with a maximum of twenty-two runners spread across the track for the Churchill Tyres Handicap, a class 2 6F handicap where many hold chances. Last year’s one-two Dakota Gold (5 wins from 11 starts here) and Makanah are back to renew the battle with the latter 2lb better off for a head-on last year’s showing and both can run well.
Kevin Ryan runs four in the apprentice-ridden Aleezdancer, Magical Spirit, Bielsa and Gis A Sub and it’s the last two that appeal most to me. Bielsa ran a fine race on his re-appearance when runner-up at Redcar in a race that’s worked out well with the winner and fourth winning since. He’s now on a mark 3lb lower than his impressive victory in the Ayr Gold Cup in September 2021 and should be thereabouts.
His stablemate Gis A Sub showed up well for a long way on his re-appearance at Newmarket when 8th to Probe with four of today’s opponents behind and with a further 2lb drop in the weights looks ready to run well under Shane Gray. He was runner-up in the Gimcrack over course and distance in August 2021 and looks well treated on that run alone.
William Haggas’s Khanjar is another who should be taken seriously as he’s won fresh before and looks favourably treated. A typically hard York Handicap but I’ll split my stakes between two of the Ryan horses in Gis A Sub and Bielsa.
BIELSA 1 point each way @ 12/1 with BetVictor 1/5th 12345
GIS A SUB 1 point each way @ 16/1 with Bet365 1/5th 12345
The Group 2 1895 Duke of York Clipper Stakes is run over 6F and has attracted a field of eleven this year. The likely favourite is the likeable John Quinn six-year-old mare Highfield Princess who had a terrific season last year winning this race before going on and taking three Group ones and a good fourth in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint. She has to shoulder a 5lb penalty for her successes and came into this race last year having already had four runs. She’s been beaten both starts after a break of 100 days plus and may find this tough on her re-appearance. At the prices, I’m happy to look elsewhere for some value.
Charlie Appleby’s smart Creative Force is, surprisingly, out again quickly having won a four-runner contest at Haydock last Saturday. He’s a smart sort who was placed in all the big Group One sprints last Summer and with fitness on his side can take this valuable prize.
Annaf and Diligent Harry are easily overlooked as they both seem better on synthetic surfaces whilst Emaraaty Ana has a patchy record when fresh. The Australians have always done well with their forays over here with their sprinters and send over The Astrologist with Ryan Moore booked. It’s hard to evaluate their form but would be no shock were he to run well.
The biggest threat to Creative Force may come from the only three-year-old in the field in the shape of the Karl Burke-trained Marshman who was a smart sprinting juvenile and put up a decent winning re-appearance in France when winning a Group 3 at Chantilly on soft ground over 5 1/2F in April. He handles faster ground well and I expect a big run from him especially as he can claim the 9lb weight for age allowance here.
CREATIVE FORCE 2 points win @ 7/2 with BetVictor
A field of eight has declared for the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, a Group 3 contest run over 1M 2 1/2F which is a trial for the Epsom Oaks. Five of the eight hold Oaks entries including the warm favourite here in the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Infinite Cosmos who looked a lovely prospect when bolting up in a Newmarket maiden at the Guineas meeting 12 days ago when well backed. This is a step up in grade for her but she should be thereabouts under Ryan Moore.
The form horse is arguably the Karl Burke-trained Novakai who brings to the table some smart juvenile form including a 1L second in the Group One Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last October. A reproduction of that run will put her right in the mix here.
Aidan O’Brien sends over his easy Gowran Park maiden winner Lambada and she’s another who’s hard to assess though as we found out at Chester last week with Savethelastdance she shouldn’t be dismissed lightly.
Jack Channon introduced his Gather Ye Rosebuds at Newbury 26 days ago when she was ultra-impressive in spread-eagling a field of well-bred fillies but the ground was heavy that day and there has to be a doubt whether she can reproduce that on this better ground.
An outsider who shouldn’t be dismissed is the John and Thady Gosden-trained Soul Sister. Gosden has won this race four times in the last eight years and although finishing plum last in the Fred Darling at Newbury last month is a lot better than she showed that day with the drying ground much more in her favour. She can be backed small each way (let’s hope all eight run) with the main bet having to be on the Stoute favourite Infinite Cosmos who will be fitter than most and looks the most likeliest winner.
INFINITE COSMOS 2 points win @ 13/8 with Bet365
SOUL SISTER 1/2 point each way @ 16/1 with Bet365 1/5th 123
An interesting fourteen-runner class 3 three-year-olds only 0-95 handicap completes the day’s terrestrial action. It looks like an open race with the weights headed by the Kevin Ryan-trained Chuzzlewit who is the only one in the field who holds a future group entry, his being in the Irish 2000 Guineas.
Roger Teal’s Caragio is an interesting contender at a price. Making his handicap debut he beat the useful 98-rated Highbank at Leicester last October and was probably undone by the heavy ground in Group company on his only start since in Group 3 company last Autumn.
Archie Watson saddles the prominent Onight who’s been hard to pass when winning his last two starts on the all-weather and with Hollie Doyle on top can run well if handling the turf.
Charlie Johnstone’s Hey Lyla will be fitter than most having won an Ayr maiden at the beginning of the month whilst Roger Varian’s New Endeavour re-appears having been gelded since last seen.
A real minefield of a race where the market will no doubt give us plenty of clues but, without them, I’ll take a small each-way chance with Caragio, a half-brother to the connections 2000 Guineas runner-up Tip Top Two, who could be well-treated on his handicap debut.
CARAGIO 1 point each way @ 12/1 with BetVictor 12/1 1/5th 1234
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.
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