Our racing expert attempts to crack the four York races being shown live on ITV4 this afternoon.
2:20 1m2½f (1m2f56y) Sky Bet First Race Special Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+)
The sort of race bookmakers love with most going 7/1 the field. William Haggas’ Al Neksh is one of three runners disputing favouritism at around that price and it’s easy to see why as he’s won three of his six starts and may have more to offer in his second season. He might just need his first run back, though, and the same comment applies to the similarly priced pair of Lovell, who has been off since Royal Ascot last June, and Shabeeb.
That’s not to say any of that trio can’t win and any trainer in this day and age can ready one after a layoff, especially for a decent pot like this. But I’d still rather back one with the benefit of race fitness and Charlie Fellowes’ REPERCUSSION will strip fitter for his reappearance sixth in a well contested handicap at the Newmarket Craven meeting. That effort can be upgraded as he came from well of the pace and the form now looks even stronger after runner-up Shaiyem, who was also ridden patiently, went one better on his next outing.
The selection, who is having just his second start for his current stable having started out with Andre Fabre, was finishing better than anything at HQ and should therefore be suited by stepping back up in trip, having already won over 1m1f and finished runner-up over this trip in his native France behind the smart Lord Glitters (2-2 in 2017). That was one of two soft-ground seconds on his CV, so the more rain the better for him, and another win is very much on the cards with his stable in flying form (4-9 in the last fortnight). Sadly the early 20/1 is history (missed the boat myself!), but Betfair’s 9/1 is not to be sniffed at.
2:55 6f Infinity Tyres Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+)
An impossible-looking sprint handicap at first glance, but we can use the draw to help narrow down the field – it helped to be drawn low-to-middle in such races here last year – and some form on soft ground is also desirable with plenty of rain forecast (it’s already on the soft side of good).
Roger Fell’s MUNTADAB ticks both boxes as he’s won on soft, and good to soft for that matter, and will exit from stall two, which makes him better drawn (in theory) than Udontdodou (18), who is one of three horses disputing favouritism. The other, Wentworth Falls, has fared better in that respect having been handed stall seven, but he lacks any soft-ground form and is 4lb worse off with Muntadab on their running at Doncaster two starts back, where they were separated by half a length at the line.
The selection has since finished second again – in a quality Ripon handicap behind Intisaab – and is clearly developing into an admirable sprinter who at some stage may be able to make the transition to Group company. But there is surely another handicap in him off his current mark (97) and today’s looks as good an opportunity as any with plenty in his favour. Take Coral’s 9/1.
3:30 6f Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Last year’s winner Magic Memory is back for more and has to be respected, despite lacking a recent run this time around. He wouldn’t want the ground to get any softer, though, and Kevin Ryan’s BRANDO is much preferred, albeit he’s favourite at Sky Bet’s 10/3. While he won on fast ground at the Craven meeting on his reappearance, he has plenty of form on a soft surface, including when landing last season’s Ayr Gold Cup off top weight, before signing off with a close third behind the reopposing The Tin Man (5lb worse off here) in the Champions Sprint at Ascot. Clearly much better than a handicapper, he’s looks set to contest the top Group 1 sprints this season and must go close in this Group 2 if running up to his best form.
Of the rest, last year’s runner-up, Suedois, and Charlie Appleby’s Jungle Cat are entitled to be thereabouts, but a better each-way proposition is the Bryan Smart-trained NAMEITWHATYOULIKE, who can be backed at 33/1 with bet365. He was only fifth in the Cammidge Trophy on his reappearance and lacks the class of some of these, but he’s run well on his last two starts here, finishing third of 19 in a handicap and running away with a Listed contest last September. With no other obvious pace setters in the line up, he might enjoy the run of the race up front.
4:05 1m2½f (1m2f56y) Tattersalls Musidora Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) (Class 1) (3yo)
This Oaks trial hasn’t attracted a strong field, with just five set to go to post, and it’s hard to oppose strong favourite SHUTTER SPEED. John Gosden’s filly kicked off her career with a stylish win at Yarmouth last October and looked to have thrived for her winter break when beating Raheen House, who had gone close in Group 1 company as a juvenile, in a conditions race at Newbury. The third, Enable, has franked the form by winning last week’s Cheshire Oaks and it will be a surprise if the selection doesn’t maintain her unbeaten record, although we can let her win at just 4/9.
York 2.20, Repercussion (nap) @ 9/1 Betfair
York 2.55, Muntadab @ 9/1 Coral
York 3.30, Brando @ 10/3 Sky Bet / Nameitwhatyoulike each-way @ 33/1 bet365 (1/ 4 odds 1.2.3)
York 4.05, Shutter Speed @ 4/9 Sky Bet