A profitable day with 2 winners putting us up 8.5 points on the day which puts back in front for the meeting. As I said in the intro last night we have been in the same situation many times and we always turn things around (well almost always!).
It was great to a get a winner on the board in the first race with Barsanti, and for a change we came out on top in a 3 way battle to the line. Trip to Paris ran OK but maybe he is not back to his best yet and ran out of steam in the last furlong, fair play top George Baker on Quest for More who took the race by the scruff of the neck and led from the start and had plenty left in the tank to see off the challenges of Pallasator and Wicklow Brave.
As we thought Namorilia would go well dropping in class and won well showing a good turn of foot to take the lead a furlong out and go onto win quite cosily. Profitable was a little disappointing and having bumped the start was in mid division and was always playing catch up, he probably finished the race best of all and wouldn't have been far away. Meccas Angel ran a cracker to just miss the course record by 0.8 of a second.
Bobby Wheeler was heavily backed all day into 5/1 so we were not alone in anticipating a good run. From the off Adam Kirby had his hands full and he expended so much energy running far too freely that at the 2 furlong marker he hit the brick wall and faded badly.
Onwards and upwards...
The team at Cleeve
1.45 York Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Stakes (Handicap) (CLASS 2) (3yo+ 0-105)
Top 4 Rated:
1) Battalion – 120
2) Dark Red – 119
3) Ode to Evening – 113
4) Erik the Red – 105
Erik the Red struggled last time at Goodwood, which may of course be due to the course’s idiosyncrasies; however he was also disappointing on his two previous runs. Top rated Battalion is back below his last winning mark; however rthe majority of his wins have come in small fields (one was in a field of eleven) and he seems to struggle in bigger fields. He is unlikely to place in my view. Ode to Evening is well in at the weights thanks to a weight for age allowance and he is pretty consistent. His highest winning mark is ten pounds below this and his draw in one may result in him being boxed or having to expend too much energy to get to the front.
Dark Red is only rated a point off rop and has impressed me with his attitude this season and he seems to be much improved winning 3 from 4. Frankie Dettori being booked suggests the horse will be ready to win again having encountered ground with too much cut to show his best last time out.
2.15 York Betfred Mobile Strensall Stakes (Group 3) (CLASS 1) (3yo+)
Top 3 Rated:
1) Diploma – 86
2) Yorker – 85
3) Scottish – 81
Scottish is the likely favourite for this race and he has been in good form this season; however he tends to place more than he wins. and he is pretty short in price my view so he is passed over this time. Diploma has won 3 from 6 and represents Sir Michael Stoute/Andrea Atzeni for HM the Queen. The horse is beautifully bred but perhaps lack of experience which to my mind will be his undoing here.
Yorker is the first horse I have ever picked which has been absent for more than 800 days (we did tip Snap Tie after a break of over 600 days and he won at 28/1!). Prior to his extended break he was rated good enough to run in multiple Group 1’s winning three of them. Willie Haggas loves to have winners here and I think he may have found a good return point for Yorker running way below his class. A bit risky but worth it at the likely price.
2.50 York Betfred Melrose Stakes (Handicap) (CLASS 2) (3yo 0-105)
Top 3 Rated:
1) Master Blueyes – 102
2) Regal Monarch – 102
3) Icefall – 97
Any one of about six could win this so it’s best watched with a view to later in the season, or even next season.
4.00 York Betfred Ebor (Heritage Handicap) (CLASS 2) (3yo+)
Top 4 Rated:
1) Antiquarium – 99
2) Battersea – 98
3) Oceanographer – 84
4) Quick Jack – 83
Battersea is too high in the weights and the first time hood application is of concern although I do think he can run into a place if the hood settles him. Antiquarium has had a longer break than ideal for a race of this type as horses usually need a run in the last 45 or so days. His six pounds rise for his Northumberland Plate win may well be his undoing here. Quick Jack seems to be a permanent fixture in these distance handicap and finished 5th in the Chester Cup back in May and has since run at the Galway Festival. In my view he is a better hurdler than a flat horse. Oceanographer was the last one I ruled out and that is mainly due to him being unproven over the distance, although my view is he will probably stay as his cruising speed in so good. He also carries a penalty for his recent Doncaster win.
Ivan Grozny is the market leader; however they have a poor record in this race in recent times so can be passed over. He is now a non-runner as he was found to be lame this morning. Vent de Force is outside the top 4 rated but in my view is a great bet in this race having finished sixth in this last year off a 3 pounds higher mark. He has since run in Group races and in my opinion looks like a trainer plot for this having previously won the Melrose Stakes at this meeting in 2014. He should be a decent price and can hopefully finish off an indifferent festival with a bang.
NB make sure you use a bookmaker offering 5 places
5.05 York Betfred Apprentice Stakes (Handicap) (CLASS 2) (3yo 0-105)
Top 4 Rated:
1) Laughton – 110
3) Midnight Malibu – 100
3) Lady Macapa – 96
4) Lathom – 94
I am never overly keen on playing in any apprentice or amateur race and tend to avoid backing in them. In this case I used about ten trends to narrow down the field and ended up with a choice between Laughton and Midnight Malibu. Coincidentally they were both rated well clear of the third top rated. Midnight Malibu is trained by Tim Easterby who has a poor record in the race with his twelve runners finishing unplaced.
Laughton was very impressive last time when winning at the Goodwood meeting and he beat Midnight Malibu the time before that. He meets all the key trends and can win again here.