Our racing expert runs the rule over Friday's televised action on the Knavesmire.
2:20 5f Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes (Listed Race) (Class 1) (2yo)
Eight of the last ten winners of this race had won last time out and nine had run no more than twice. Unfortunately, that doesn’t rule out many of these but one that could go well at a price is Charlie Fellowes’ SNAZZY. A winner on her debut at Newcastle a couple of months ago, the form of which was franked when the fourth Vikivaki ran well in a conditions race at Ascot, she can only improve on that given she showed early greenness and had a rough passage through the race. Her trainer, who describes her as his most exciting runner of the week, is hoping she can line up in next month’s Queen Mary at Royal Ascot. Hopefully she can arrive there with her unbeaten record intact.
2:55 1m (7f192y) Longines Irish Champions Weekend Fillies’ Stakes (Registered As The Michael Seely Memorial) (Listed) (Class 1) (3yo)
Threading is the form choice on her victory in last year’s Group 2 Lowther Stakes at this course, for which she is unpenalised, but she’s failed to fire twice since then and SHEIKHA REIKA might be able to improve past her. Roger Varian’s filly has plenty to find on the ratings but she has done well from two to three on the evidence of last month’s taking 7f Newmarket maiden victory. The daughter of Shamardal had clearly been showing plenty at home given she was heavily backed into favouritism and her supporters would have been counting their money a long way out as she only had to be shaken up to come three lengths clear. Given her rating (88), Varian could no doubt have placed her to win a nice handicap so that he is pitching her straight into Listed company at this stage of her career speaks volumes for the high regard she is held in, as does her entry in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes. With today’s extra furlong and quicker ground likely to suit, she looks the one to be on.
3:30 1m6f (1m5f188y) Mansionbet Yorkshire Cup (Group 2) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (4yo+)
With Desert Skyline penalised for his Doncaster Cup victory and the others having plenty to find on the ratings, this looks a good opportunity for John Gosden’s STRADIVARIUS to get his four-year-old campaign off to a winning start. In just six starts last season he developed into a high-class stayer, winning twice, including the Goodwood Cup from Big Orange, before signing off with a third in the Long Distance Cup on ground softer than ideal. With the rain staying away, he will have his ideal conditions here and that he escapes a penalty for that Group 1 victory by just a month is the icing on the cake. Of course, none of that has escaped the attention of bookmakers and he’s a shade of odds-on but he should be shorter still in my book.
4:05 1m2½f (1m2f56y) Equinity Technology Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-100)
Master Carpenter tends to run his best races at this track and is 2lb lower than when taking this last year, but that was on soft ground. and he’s opposable on this quicker surface. Thundering Blue rattled off a hat-trick last summer and shot up the weights as a result, although his reappearance fifth at Epsom suggested he could be open to more improvement. However, the one that makes most appeal is VALCARTIER, whose trainer John Gosden won this race in 2012 and 2015. He’s one of the least exposed runners in the line up after just five starts and made a very satisfactory reappearance at Wolverhampton earlier this month when only finding the odds-on Leader’s Legacy too good. He’s gone up 4lb for that but wasn’t given a hard time by any means once beaten and has the scope for plenty more improvement over a trip that should suit. Given he finished well beaten on his only try on soft ground, it’s safe to assume he won’t mind this better surface either.
All odds were correct at time of posting.