What the best bets at York on Saturday?
The Coral Sprint Trophy is one of four York races being shown live on Channel 4 this afternoon and they all come under the scrutiny of our resident tipster here.
1.45: TitanBet.co.uk Handicap, 1m208yds
There’s plenty of solid recent the form amongst these and other could be a case of working out which is the best handicapped. James Fanshawe’s Arthenus is just 4lb higher for his latest win at Ascot and should go close in his hat-trick bid, but I just prefer the chances of the Andrew Balding-trained ARABIAN ILLUSION, a 9/2 shot with Hills. It was only a five-runner Goodwood maiden he won last time, but he hacked up and is almost certainly better than his initial rating of 84. His jockey Jim Crowley reported afterwards that he “tolerated” the very soft ground and would be better on good, so the drying conditions are in his favour.
2.15: Download The Coral App Handicap, 1m2f88yds
You wouldn’t rule out of any of the eight runners, but a couple have more standout claims and it’s the David O’Meara-trained EARTH DRUMMER that gets the vote over Godolphin’s Memorial Day. Three times a winner in 2014, the selection ran a cracker when beaten just a head at Ascot in August and was far from disgraced when sixth in a hot handicap over course and distance. His latest effort in the Cambridgeshire just 14 days ago can be upgraded as he ‘won’ the race that developed on the stands’ side in the Cambridgeshire, with the seven horses that finished in front of him all benefiting from being closer to the pace. That was his first run back after a five-week break and he invariably goes best after a recent run, returning form figures of 1691216 (3-7) when racing within three weeks of his previous outing. There’s more than enough there then to merit an interest at Betfair’s 6/1.
2.50 York: coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes (Listed), 6f
With my five-day fancy Tasleet not being declared, I’ve no hesitation switching to the the Richard Fahey-trained DONJUAN TRIUMPHANT (3/1 Hills). He was a costly failure at Carlisle in July when second at odds-on and he’s now finished runner-up three times and third once in his short career. However, the penny finally dropped at Ayr’s Western Meeting last time, where he produced a devastating turn of foot to go hit the front inside the last furlong to win going away under today’s pilot Jack Garritty, and that will have done his confidence the world of good. George Chaloner, who rode him into second at Haydock in his nursery debut at Haydock two starts back, nominated him as a horse to follow in a recent interview, saying he may be able to make the step up into Listed or Group company, so that provides plenty of encouragement he can defy an 11lb rise.
3.25 York: Coral Sprint Trophy (Handicap), 6f
This is fiercely competitive and it’s a job to know where to start with all 20 runners holding claims. The draw does help to some respect as horses drawn very low in big fields on the sprint course here have a poor record – stalls one and two have a combined record of just 2-122 (1.6%) in sprint handicaps of 16 or more runners. That pretty much rules out Shared Equity (1) and Bubbly Bellini (2) and I’m inclined to ignore those horses in the next three lowest stalls too.
Races tend to develop down the centre of the track here and the selection, the Alan Bailey-trained GO FAR, is close enough in stall seven to steer a middle course should his jockey Jim Crowley decide that is where he should be aiming at. The five-year-old finally landed one of these big-field sprint handicaps when taking the Bronze Cup at Ayr last time and, while he’s now 7lb higher, he’s still a few pounds lower than his peak rating and has tended to hold his form well in the past, going on to land a hat-trick after hitting winning form last season. At 14/1 with Betfair, his price is big enough too, though an each-way bet is the suggestion with four places up for grabs.
Fancy some free bets? Back a winner at 4/1 or bigger in any of the above Channel 4-televised races and bet365 will give you a free bet to the same stake on the next race shown live on Channel 4. If that also wins at 4/1 or bigger, get another free bet and so on.