What are the best bets at York on Wednesday?
The York Ebor meeting gets under way this afternoon with the four Channel 4-televised races coming under the scrutiny of our racing expert here.
13:55 Symphony Group Stakes (Handicap), 5f 89y
You can make a case for plenty in a devilishly tricky sprint handicap and it’s only a tentative vote that goes to ROBOT BOY. David Barron’s six-year-old is on a long losing run stretching back to April 2015, but he’s got himself well handicapped as a result (1lb lower than when last successful) and he showed the spark was still there when a head second (of 18) at Ascot two starts back behind Royal Birth, who reopposes on much worse terms. A fast-run 5f on quick going is what he needs (and has got) and that connections are applying first-time blinkers can be seen as another positive, given the stable ten-year record with such types – 11 winners from 62 runners (18%) for a £1 level-stakes profit of £13.63. All of which makes him a solid each-way proposition at bet365’s 12/1 with five places up for grabs.
14:30 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes (Group 3), 7f
Bookmakers are taking no chances with Best Of Days after he demolished a decent field at Sandown on his debut, with no bigger than 5/4 on offer. The fifth has won since to boost the form and Hugo Palmer’s charge, who has Group 2 entries later in the season, is the one they all have to beat. But his presence ensures we can get a good price on the rest and the majority of his rivals can boast more experience. They include Aidan O’Brien’s Courage Under Fire who has yet to get his head in front after four starts, but arguably brings the best form to the table, courtesy of his second (albeit four-lengths adrift) behind stablemate and top-class Caravaggio in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes last time.
However, a narrow vote goes to William Haggas’ LOCKHEED, who confirmed the promise he showed on his Ascot debut when relinquishing his maiden tag at Goodwood (7f) and has been working very well at home since by all accounts. He needs to come on again to land this but the stable juveniles do tend to improve with racing and Haggas has a good record in this contest. Frankie Dettori takes over from Ryan Moore and the Italian has been making hay on the stable runners in 2016, with five of his 13 rides (38%) obliging and he’s 3-3 on the juvenile representatives. Take bet365’s 9/2.
15:05 Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes (Group 2), 1m4f
Just the six runners for this Group 2 and half of them are trained by Aidan O’Brien. His Housesofparliament has claims on the back of a victory in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy and he’s preferred to stablemate The Major General, but the Ballydoyle first-string is undoubtedly IDAHO, who followed up his third in the Epsom Derby by going one better in the Irish equivalent. That form is hard to knock and he’s the highest-rated runner as a result and by some way. He has the St Leger on his agenda and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him for the Doncaster classic – bet365 are one of several firms going 4/1 – and it’ll be a surprise if he can’t take this recognised trial along the way, though best odds of 4/5 (Hills) will put most punters off.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Across The Stars, a Group 2 winner at Royal Ascot when last seen out, may be able to take second place.
15:40 Juddmonte International Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1), 1m2f 88y
A cracking renewal of this Group 1 and it’s the first time since 1999 that a double-figure field (13) will go to post. They are headed by the Roger Varian-trained Postponed, who has been put in around the 13/8 mark. The five-year-old is the best horse in the race according to the official ratings having extended his winning sequence to five in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at the Epsom Derby meeting, but he’s opposable here for several reasons. For one, he’s going to be at or near his very best with four other Group 1 winners in opposition and there has to be a question over that as he missed Royal Ascot with a respiratory infection and his stable has been going through a quiet spell of late. Varian has been very sparing with his runners in the last few weeks and while some of those to have run have performed up to their best, others have been below-par. Couple that with the fact he is dropping in trip from his ideal 12 furlongs and I’d rather be layer than a backer at the odds in a race that has historically been a tough one for short-priced favourites.
Hawkbill is next in the betting and the Godolphin runner showed he was up to this class when showing a willing attitude to deny The Gurkha in the Eclipse at Sandown last time out. He is preferred to Highland Reel, who is most unlikely to get the easy lead he enjoyed when making all in the Group 1 King George under a masterful ride from Ryan Moore, who is replaced by Seamie Heffernan.
However, it could be worth taking a chance on William Haggas’ MUTAKAYYEF with 11/1 on offer at bet365. That looks good value considering he has looked much improved for a gelding operation, winning both his starts this season in smooth style, including a Group 2 at Ascot last time when he had subsequent winners Dutch Connection and Richard Pankhurst among his victims. That was over a mile but he’s won over this far, albeit at lower level, and he appears to be getting stronger now that he has grown into himself and matured. A consistent sort who has never finished out out the first three in 12 starts, he can run into a place at the least to reward each-way support.
Fancy some free bets? Back a winner at 4/1 or bigger in any of the above Channel 4-televised races with bet365 and they will give you a free bet to the same stake (up to £50 per customer per race) on the next race shown live on Channel 4.