Our racing expert marks your card for Sunday's action at York.
York stages a competitive seven-race card this afternoon and punters looking to get involved need to factor in a potential going change – they were calling it ‘good’ at the time of writing with plenty of rain forecast.
Jeremy Noseda’s First Up is entitled to go off favourite for the opening 7f maiden having shown considerable promise when fifth in a hot contest over track and trip on his debut, but odds of 5/4 don’t really excite and his stable has a dire record in maidens here – Noseda is 0-10 in the last ten years and six of the beaten horses went off at 4/1 or shorter.
So, at bigger odds it could be worth taking a chance on Roger Charlton’s EYNHALLOW, who also showed up well on his debut when finishing fourth (of 14) in a decent maiden at Sandown. A £160,000 half-brother to two winners at up to 1m2f, he should come on plenty for that experience and his sire Nathaniel loved to get his toe in. Champion jockey aspirant Jim Crowley gets the leg up.
The 1m2f handicap looks a real puzzle but Richard Fahey’s DARRINGTON must have a fair shout. He was sent off favourite for a handicap over track and trip in June, only to disappoint. He’s better than that and ran far better at Thirsk last time when finishing a close up fifth of 17. That run can be upgraded as he’d been off the track for two months and was forced to race wider than ideal. He doesn’t win very often (2-18) but his turn may be nigh and connections are giving him every chance by fitting a first-time hood and snapping up the services of William Buick. He has won on a soft surface.
Mick Appleby’s Danzeno is the best horse in the Listed 6f sprint according to official ratings and missed yesterday’s Group 1 Sprint Cup for this. Connections are hoping he can use it a confidence-booster ahead of another crack at the Champions Sprint, after he finished third in last year’s renewal behind Muhaarar.
He must take all the beating if running up to his best form, but that’s reflected in his price (a skinny 5/4) of course and David O’Meara’s LORD OF THE LAND rates better value. He’s done all his winning over further and when trained in France, but he has run well on his last three starts over this trip, including when beaten just half a length in a Group 3 at Deauville just seven days ago. He also showed plenty of speed when not beaten far into fifth behind The Tin Man (second in yesterday’s big race) at Newbury in June, so he ought to be up to winning a race like this and he has plenty of form on soft ground too.
William Haggas’ Her Terms has the best form on offer in the 5f maiden, having built on a promising debut effort at Ascot in May with a couple of cracking efforts in defeat the last twice. However, she’s priced accordingly and the value lies in backing Charlie Hills’ PARYS MOUNTAIN instead. He has been keeping good company since finishing runner-up on his Leicester debut back in May, faring best when fifth in a fair maiden at Glorious Goodwood. He will appreciate this easier task and, with his stable remaining in good form, he shouldn’t be far away under Silvestre De Sousa, who has a healthy 25% strike rate on the stable runners.
It could pay to stick with the sole three-year-old runner in the 2m handicap, the Andrew Balding-trained SWASHBUCKLE, as he looks progressive with a capital ‘P’. He is seeking a hat-trick after a couple of wins in minor company at Ffos Las, both times over 1m4f and with some cut in the ground. That leaves him with his stamina to prove over this longer trip, but he’s looked better the further he goes, earning the form comment ‘stayed on strongly’ last time, and connections must think he’s a stayer in the making as they’ve made an entry in the Cesarewitch (2m2f). Given his current rating (83), he’ll need to win again to stand any chance of getting into that Newmarket contest and this looks a good opportunity against more exposed stayers. William Buick has been booked to do the steering and he’s showing a £1 level-stakes profit of £30.00 for all his rides here since 2012.
The 6f handicap for three-year-olds is trappy to say the least, but the booking of Jim Crowley takes the eye for the Keith Dalgleish-trained DARK DEFENDER. He is probably weighted up to his best, but you can say that about most of his rivals and he’s run well in defeat on his last two starts. He last visited the winners’ enclosure at Ayr in July when the ground was soft, so the more rain the better for him, and he also has a course and distance success to his name, that coming last summer off just a 3lb lower mark. Furthermore, his up-and-coming trainer is in flying form with four of his last nine runners obliging.
The concluding 1m4f handicap is confined to apprentice riders and stakes should be kept small. However, I’m a fully paid up member of the Adam McNamara fan club and his mount, the Iain Jardine-trained POINTILLISM, looks to have as good a chance as any. The four-year-old has been in tremendous form since joining his current stable, winning back-to-back races at Redcar and Carlisle before narrowly failing to land the hat-trick at Goodwood last time behind a more enterprisingly ridden winner. He’s still at the right end of the handicap, being just 3lb higher than when his winning spree started, and he promises to stay this far (the one unknown).
York 2.10, Eynhallow @ 5/1 Hills
York 2.40, Darrington each-way @ 11/1 Sky Bet
York 3.10, Lord Of The Land @ 11/2 bet365
York 3.40, Parys Mountain @ 13/2 Hills
York 4.10, Swashbuckle @ 11/4 BetVictor
York 4.40, Dark Invader @ 8/1 bet365
York 5.10, Pointillism @ 7/1 bet365