What are the best bets at York this afternoon?
The York Ebor meeting gets under way this afternoon and the undoubted feature is the Juddmonte International, which has the makings of a classic with Golden Horn and Gleneagles locking horns.
The 1m2f Group 1 is one of four races shown live on Channel 4 and they come under the scrutiny here.
1.55: Symphony Group Handicap, 5f89yds
An impossible-looking sprint handicap to get proceedings underway and it’s no exaggeration to say you could back half the 20-runner field and still not be confident of landing on the winner. Dutch Masterpiece has been knocking on the door of late and might go off favourite, but you can’t be sure he will reverse Shergar Cup Dash form with Secretinthepark, who beat him a short head and is 1lb worse off today, and I’d rather back one each-way at a bigger price.
SHORE STEP is tempting at 14/1 (Ladbrokes) after a couple of fine runs here and in the Stewards’ Cup consolation race over 6f at Goodwood, where he led a furlong out before weakening slightly into fourth. The drop back in trip should therefore suit him and his trainer Mick Channon remains in good form, with the booking of Silvestre De Sousa taking the eye.
I’ve talked myself into backing him and will be throwing another dart at the race in the shape of rank outsider SINGEUR, a 33/1 shot with Coral. Rebecca Bastiman’s sprightly eight-year-old was spotted staying on into sixth in Saturday’s Great St Wilfrid Handicap, doing second best of the hold-up horses on ground that would have been softer than he likes.
A course and distance winner, he’s on a winning mark of 85 (has won off 97) and should be suited by the likely furious gallop of this contest. With races tending to develop down the centre of the track, his middle berth in stall 12 (Shore Step is in nine) is a other thing in his favour. He might not win but the place money alone is worth chasing.
2.30: Tattersalls Acomb Stakes (Group 3), 7f
This looks a tough puzzle to solve with all bar one of the ten runners winning last time out. Aidan O’Brien’s Lieutenant General was doing so at the fourth time of asking at Leopardstown and he’s entered in all the big juvenile races in the autumn. However, he’s already been beaten at this level and I just prefer the chances of William Haggas’ RECORDER (11/2 BetVictor), who landed a decent Newmarket maiden last time, the form of which was boosted when the second and third finished 1-2 in a similar contest next time. With his stable on fire, the son of Galileo may well be able to make the necessary improvement to land this under Frankie Dettori.
3.05: Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes (Group 2), 1m4f
William Haggas’ STORM THE STARS sets a clear form standard courtesy of his placed efforts in two Derbys and this Group 2 is a good opportunity to get his head back in front. He’s already had seven races this season, the last three at the highest level, and his well beaten third at Longchamp last time could be construed as a sign he’s feeling the effects. However, his trainer effectively poured cold water on that theory in an excellent interview in this week’s Racing Post, saying the horse did not enjoy inactivity and doesn’t need a break.
He will have to be near his best, mind, to cope with Richard Hannon’s Tashar, who arrives here unbeaten after two stats – a maiden and a Goodwood handicap last time. This is obviously a huge step up in class, but connections clearly think he’s up to the task, having paid the supplementary fee, and he wouldn’t be the first winner of this race to make a successful transition from handicaps. However, I’m going to stick with the selection at Sky Bet’s 7/2 and not least for the fact his stable can do little wrong right now.
3.40: Juddmonte International Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1), 1m2f88yds
GOLDEN HORN, the brilliant Derby and Eclipse winner, is a worthy favourite to win his sixth race in as many starts. Considered a doubtful stayer before his Epsom Classic romp over 1m4f, he had no trouble dropping back to this trip at Sandown last time. Connections ducked a King George assignment due to unsuitably soft ground, and it’s clear that his connections are intent on retiring him to stud at the end of the season unbeaten. So his mere participation is confirmation that he is still at the top of his game and in that case he is unopposable, though not a betting proposition at the current 8/11 on offer.
Gleneagles looks a formidable opponent, mind. First past the post in eight of his nine starts, the winner of Group 1 at two and three and a dual Classic winner – the English and Irish 2000 Guineas – he’s hard to knock. Connections should be applauded for letting him take his chance here, which will be his first attempt beyond a mile. He may well stay and his jockey Joseph O’Brien will be hoping the race turns into a slowly-run tactical affair as his mount’s superior speed will then come into play. The 9/2 on offer will tempt some punters, but I’m not convinced and expect he’ll finish second, ahead of the improving Time Test, who has far more on his plate than when winning at Royal Ascot.
UPDATE – the participation of Gleneagles is now in doubt due to a going change to “good to soft”. Should he be withdraw, Rule 4 would apply so punters are advised to hold fire.
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.
All odds were correct at time of posting.