What are the best bets at day three of the York Ebor meeting?
The Nunthorpe Stakes is the undoubted highlight on day three of the York Ebor meeting and is one four Channel 4-televised races covered here.
1.55: Sky Bet First Race Special Handicap, 1m4f
This is tough but at least we will get out money back as a free bet (up to £25) with Sky Bet should we not be lucky enough to land on the winner. That is enough to tempt me in and Sir Michael Stoute’s TOP TUG seems sure to go well with some luck in running. That wasn’t the case at Goodwood last time, where he would have gone close but for being denied a clear run at a crucial point, and he’s now back over his ideal trip.
He likes a bit of dig in the ground so the current “good to soft” is perfect and the only real negative is his wide draw in stall 19. That said, high numbers can often benefit if the pace is too strong and I’m not going to let the draw put me off – besides we’ll get a free bet if he doesn’t win.
Chancery, who will exit from stall one, has to be considered, although he is penalised for last week’s Ripon success and a bigger danger may be Charlie Hills’ Xinbama, who was an unlucky sixth in this race last year and will have had another attempt on his agenda for a while. He’s an each-way price at 20/1 with the sponsors.
2.30: Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup (British Champions Series) (Group 2), 2m88yds
Big Orange had less than a length to spare over Quest For More (2nd) and Trip To Paris (3rd) when winning the Goodwood Cup last time and it should be close between them again here on identical terms. But that trio may struggle to cope with Peter Niven’s ex-hurdler CLEVER COOKIE, who is shading favouritism at 4/1 with bet365.
He didn’t run in the Goodwood race and also sidestepped the Ascot Gold Cup on account of unsuitably fast ground, which won’t be an issue this afternoon. It was riding good when he won at the track in May, when taking his flat record to 5-8, and he’s since running creditably in the Group 1 King George at Ascot, where he stayed on well to snatch fifth in that 1m4f contest. He clearly needs further to show his best at Group level and today’s conditions – an extended two miles with some cut underfoot – should be perfect for him.
He may have most to fear from Tac De Boistron, another soft-ground performer, who finished just over a length behind him at Chester in May and is 7lb better off at the weights. He hasn’t run since finishing last at Ascot, though, and he might want the ground even softer, while today’s longer race will suit the selection.
3.05: Sky Bet City Of York Stakes (Listed), 7f
John Gosden’s Richard Pankhurst has at least 4lb in hand of his rivals based on the ratings and that entitles him to be favourite. However, he hasn’t been seen on a race track since winning the Chesham Stakes at last year’s Royal Ascot meeting and he’s surely best watched today, especially with so many race-fit and progressive rivals taking him on.
Charlie Hills’ Tanzeel definitely falls into that bracket, having won so well here in July, and this has been the plan since according to his trainer, who thinks he’ll stay today’s extra furlong. He may well be right but I’m drawn to a horse trained by his father Barry, the three-year-old FADHAYYIL. As the only filly in the race, she gets all the allowances and she’s far better than she showed at last time out at Goodwood, where she got no cover from an outside draw and burnt herself out.
She’s best judged on her half-length second behind Dutch Connection in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, where she had the reopposing Tupi in behind, and her previous fifth in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket when in need of the run. A smart juvenile last autumn, when she finished just a length behind Lucida in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes, she may be capable of better still after just six starts. With 11/1 available at bet365, it’s worth paying to find out.
3.40 York: Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1), 5f
This has to be the race of the entire meeting and one I’ve been looking forward to all week, not least for the fact we get to see Wesley Ward’s Royal Ascot heroine Acapulco strut her stuff. She’s a massive filly with a huge stride and that proved far too much for her Queen Mary rivals, which included Thursday’s impressive Lowther Stakes winner Besharah back in third.
Now she’s bidding to become only the third two-year-old winner of this race and the first since Kingsgate Native in 2007, with 11 other juveniles trying and failing. That said, only two of the failures were sent off at a single-figure price and Acapulco looks in a different league to them judged on her last visit to these shores. But is she really a 2/1 chance now taking on older and far more experienced sprinters, several of whom are proven at this level?
I think not and while a part of me would love to see her win, I simply can’t have her at the price. And it’s not like we’re short of alternatives, possibly headed by dual winner Sole Power, who is the top-rated horse in the field, and Muthmir, who arrives here on the back of a career-best effort in a Group 2 at Goodwood, where he had a few of these in behind. They are very plausible winners.
However, we’ve had several shock results in recent years – winners at 20/1, 40/1 and 100/1 in the last five runnings – and we might get another with David Brown’s WIND FIRE currently priced at 40/1 with bet365, who are offering four places instead of the standard three. That price looks a tad generous as she been running well in defeat this season, including a third place finish in the Group 2 Temple Stakes in May and she would have almost certainly won a Group 3 at Sandown two starts back with a clear run.
I’ve watched her on several occasions now and, while all her wins have been over the minimum trip, the impression is that she needs 6f as she tends to get outpaced before flying home at the finish. With this race likely to be run a furious gallop, it could well suit those horses who like to come off the pace and it’s not too hard to imagine her grabbing a place late on under Jamie Spencer, who has guided her to two of her three successes. That would ensure a 10/1 payday at current odds and we might even hit the jackpot.
Back a winner at 4/1 or bigger in any of the above four Channel 4-televised races with bet365 and they will give you a free bet to the same stake (up to £50) on the next race shown live on Channel 4.