Another (as in rare and yes we have had them before), profitable day at Raceweb Towers! The crowd at York was down – but according to the ITV racing presenters, it is because the whole country is in trouble, and has nothing to do with racing. With that sort of intellectual rigour, they should be in charge of Smart Motorways, and the forcible application of Ground Source heating to the general population.
York – as I am constantly reminded by my chums who attend the Dante and Ebor meetings – is to 90% of its customers, user-friendly, and financially responsible by not charging people like a wounded rhino. The on-course food is pretty good and the Champagne is very reasonably priced. Yobbishness is stopped with gusto and speed. As a result, lots of pretty girls go, (and families), and the world is apparently fine. Except the place was empty. The pre-eminent rails bookmaker Simon Wallis of Sunderlands was interviewed on TV and Wol was very downbeat. As an aside, at some point in time, and sooner rather than later, the racing industry needs to have a serious discussion about the Betting Ring and the entire Pitch situation, because those guys are suffering extinction by a thousand cuts. Meanwhile, according to Oli Bell, we just have to sit it out and all will be well.
Otherwise, I was frenetic today, chatting with various and trying to get chase the odd slacker. Tomorrow I’m off to collect possibly the best purchase I’ve made this decade – 65 volumes of Punch including all 1939-1945 for less than £40. Some of the greatest writing, cartoons, and wit this country has produced… ever.
Talking of which – here are today’s suggestions for York
1:50 YORK Paddy Power ‘Making Flat Less Flat’ Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 5f 13 run
RAASEL is a worthy favourite which on current trends makes him a loser (last nine runnings 404020501). COPPER KNIGHT has won this twice before and obviously merits consideration. However, last year he won this off 85 and he is now 104. In 2019 (no Dante meeting in 2020 until after the Derby???) he won off 100 when aged 5. He’s good on trends but this is a step back in time that is at least 6lbs wrong. The next best on my ratings is ALLIGATOR ALLEY whose career has been checkered, to say the least, but who has made a promising start for David O’Meara at Wolverhampton. I keep looking at JAWWAL’s Timeform and Raceform speed ratings – and he’s pretty close to RAASEL’s figures but for three times the odds. He’s also top on TF. Finally, I fancy STRONG POWER who left George Scott last September and who has been turned into a thoroughly decent AWT animal. At 14/1, I’d quite like to find out whether she has worked her magic for the turf – especially given that he comes here with a very low Turf mark.
STRONG POWER 1½ pts e/w – JAWWAL 2pts e/w – Add ALLIGATOR ALLEY and RAASEL for a 12 x ¼ pt CFC
2:05 SALISBURY Byerley Stud Hcap Cl3 (3yo 0-90) 1m2f 6 run
VIADELAMORE made a winning seasonal return at Redcar, as well as taking his first Handicap, quickening up well under top-weight. That was also his first run since being cut, and all the evidence suggests there is more to come.
VIADELAMORE 3 pts Win
2:25 YORK Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies’ Stks (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m2½f 6 run
Stouty could have a hell of an afternoon as I have also tipped him for the big one. NOON STAR was a 3½l 2nd in The Musidora last year to The Oaks winner Snowfall and I think has a good chance.
NOON STAR 3 pts win
3:00 YORK Paddy Power Hambleton Hcap Cl2 (4yo+) 1m 15 run
WHATS THE STORY has won this before in 2019 (off only a 1lb lower mark) and might have won last year but for interference. He likes York (dual CD) and he is now 6lb lower than his last winning mark. BRUNCH also makes appeal (Like always: Ed.) having been 3rd in the G3 Earl of Sefton LTO, and having run a perfectly acceptable Lincoln from a poor position before that, a race he came 2nd in the previous year. He seems to be getting back into the groove.
WHATS THE STORY 2 pts e/w – BRUNCH 3 pts e/w
3:35 YORK Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stks (G2) Cl1 (3yo) 1m2½f 9 run
Given that as I write the current market is suggesting 100/30 the field, you would have to say the market is wide open. Stouty has DESERT CROWN who is the hope of Albion in The Derby, against the Irish hordes, while on trends, you have to like EL BODEGON who beat the current Derby favourite Stone Age in the Criterium St Cloud. Any rain will help him. Frankie and Johny have MAGISTERIAL who won at Leicester LTO in a pleasing fashion, but he set a very ordinary pace from the front and at this stage, it is hard to see what he’s beaten. One horse being overlooked at this stage is KINGMAX who had a rough race LTO when beaten 6l by 2000 Gns 2nd Native Trail in The Craven. He was going easily enough until he got into traffic problems 2f out and had to be switched losing momentum. If he’s improved for that, then he might be worth a small e/w investment
DESERT CROWN 2pts win – KINGMAX 1 pt e/w
4:10 YORK British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stks Cl1 (3yo) 5f 8 run
KING OF BAVARIA is the class act here and is a Group horse heading for Royal Ascot. That however is all a plan – he has to do it and the price is too skinny for me. This is PROJECT DANTE’s first run since a wind operation and as with most of them, it’s a question of whether they have grown into themselves for this early step to the Big Time.
PROJECT DANTE 3 pts e/w