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“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

York Day 1

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup

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Thank God the rain has come. Except, of course, that the concrete-baked ground cannot soak it up, so it runs off. That in turn will lead to flash flooding. Never mind, better on than off, as my old Nanny used to say before packing me off to some Deb’s hop, and if it is going to go somewhere, it might eventually end up in a river.

This led me to think about taking a break sometime in the next few months, and in turn to the concept of the swimming pool. Those who have seen the elegant shape of Kneesup scything through the water, have remarked on its similarity to the torpedoes of WWII arcing from the underbelly of a Swordfish, into the briny waters of the Atlantic, and then on and on and eventually sinking the Bismark. I assume at any rate that the comment, “…you look like a sinking Battleship after losing a major battle…” was meant to convey this impression.

I am wounded if that were not the case, so perhaps I will take some remedial action to remove some of the excess avoirdupois gained during Lockdown. As I am weak-willed, I am taking small steps. I have bought some Corn Flakes from Mr Lewis and his partners at Waitrose and some fennel and an orange. There were also some discounted Croissants, so reasonably marked down that removing them from circulation was essentially a public service to avoid some aisle-side confrontation.

By way of activity, and apart obviously from typing this, I notice that Venetia Williams, who I am hoping to lunch next month, is, advertising, via Twitter, for a new Amateur to join her team. I fit that role in absolutely every sense, and surely the exercise would be beneficial. I’ll see how lunch goes first, perhaps.

Talking of losing pounds through Amateur projects, here are my thoughts on the first day of York.

1:50 Sky Bet And Symphony GHcap Cl2 (3yo+) 5½f 22 run

I have it narrowed down to ten and with some digging, can get it down a little further. One that sits on that list and has appeal is MAKANAH who Julie Camacho has entered alongside LOOK OUT LOUIS, who is not on my shortlist. He ran a decent 7th in The Stewards Cup from a wrong draw and was used too early.  COUNT DORSAY isn’t on my list, but this has all the feel of a plot horse and I just wonder whether he is aimed here – but got a duff draw, or whether he’s aimed at the Portland next time out…. hmmm. DAKOTA GOLD is on the list, hardly surprising since he won this in 2019 off a 2lb higher mark. NOMADIC EMPIRE is also on the list and a first-time visor may have a positive impact – but the high draw won’t help. Dutching all four would show a 7/2 return, but with seven places from Skybet and WillHill, I think I might just back MAKANAH in a very tricky race.

MAKANAH 3 pts e/w to 7 places

2:25 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes (G3) Cl1 (2yo) 7f 9 run

Charlie Appleby’s LOCAL DYNASTY was very impressive when winning a Newmarket 7f event and looks the one to be on. However, there are plenty of other good sorts here and Andrew Balding’s CHALDEAN looks to be better valued with 3 places on offer.

CHALDEAN 3 pts e/w

3:00 Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes (G2) (Colts & Geldings) Cl1 (3yo) 1m4f 6 run

Charlie Appleby has won two of the last four renewals (no runner in 2020) – and when there were two CA entries, it was the longer-priced one that came home. WALK OF STARS is that second-choice this year and he carried some of my money in The Derby, finishing last. However, that was tricky Epsom and he ran well in The Bahrain Trophy LTO, coming a neck third to Deauville Legend. Some smart three-year-olds are on show, but I fear – or perhaps I’m delighted – that there isn’t a superstar to ruin the calculations. So I’m going to throw AIKHAL into the pot, which he might take over this longer trip. An easy winner at the Curragh last time, the form has been franked, and he arrives fresh. I’ll dutch the pair of them.

WALK OF STARS – AIKHAL 6 pts dutch Win

3:35 Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m2½f 6 run

Three very good horses and a pot-hunter with ability make this a fascinating race. Unbeaten BAAEED (The World’s Best Horse?) – will he get the trip? Last year’s impressive winner MISHRIFF who does. NATIVE TRAIL 3rd in the Eclips and a champion 2yo. The pot-hunter SIR BUSKER is making a decent fist highlighting the benefits of running against the best – because of the prize money for turning up (and let’s not forget occasionally walking off with the lot). He won’t win, but I hope the team has the best of days.

So what’s the likely outcome?

  • SCENARIO 1: BAAEED doesn’t get the trip, and he’s eased down ½f from home.
  • SCENARIO 2: He doesn’t get the trip and isn’t eased down, and you never back him again, because that’s the sort of race that does your head in.
  • SCENARIO 3: BAAEED gets the trip and hoses it.

In none of those outcomes is NATIVE TRAIL second. In two of them, MISHRIFF wins. But here’s my dilemma. I am reminded that NATIVE TRAIL posted his best speed figured LTO, and indeed, it was a figure just shy of BAAEED’s best AND he gets 7lbs. This is called clutching at straws. The value is nowhere to be found. NATIVE TRAIL is 9/4 in the Betting w/o BAAEED market, which ignores MISHRIFF  – and he’s 4/7. No, the only value is to watch the race sans punt, or lay BAAEED  to a liability of 3pts currently netting around 6.75

BAAEED Lay for 3 pts

4:10 Sky Bet Stayers Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 2m½f 15 run

The trends horse is THUNDEROUS, who is an out-and-out stayer. He was a length second to Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup earlier this season, but he’s been rated a massive 109 for his handicap debut. However, horses get the top weights in handicaps because they are considered the best horse in the race. Can it be done? Ask Trueshan. If I was looking for a wildcard, I might suggest THEMAXWECAN, who has a nice low draw, is a hold-up horse which bodes well for this distance at York and is 2lbs better than his last winning mark.

THUNDEROUS 3 pts e/w – THEMAXWECAN 1½ pts e/w

4:45 Celebrate ITM’s 200th IRE Voucher Winner Fillies’ Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 5f 19 run

CUBAN BREEZE – CORAZON – GUILDED Dutch the 3 to Win for 6 pts for around 2/1 return

5:20 Sky Bet Nursery Hcap Cl2 (2yo) 6f 19 run

MRS USA 3 pts Win – CATHY COME HOME 2 pts e/w

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