Our racing expert runs the rule over the televised action from York.
2:20 1m4f (1m3f188y) Sky Bet First Race Special Jorvik Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+)
Crowned Eagle likes to go from the front and made most when winning a competitive 1m3f handicap at Kempton last time off just 4lb lower. However, he might set the race up for HAMADA, an impressive winner over this trip at Wolverhampton on his reappearance following a 19-month absence and having been gelded in the meantime. He’s up 5lb for that but he was well on top at the finish and might be an ideal type for the Ebor run over 1m6f here later in the season as he promises to stay further. A worthy favourite at Betfair’s 5/2, he probably has most to fear from Now Children, another last time out Wolverhampton winner with the scope to improve further.
2:55 6f Infinity Tyres Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-105)
Orion’s Bow paid the price for completing a five-timer in the summer of 2016, looking in the grip of the handicapper for most of last season (0-10). However, he’s now 10lb lower than when finishing well beaten here last October and should be all the better for his reappearance third at Pontefract behind Foolaad, who is 3lb worse off this afternoon.
However, bookmakers are hardly giving him away at just 9/2 and I’d rather have a little on Richard Fahey’s GIN IN THE INN at bet365’s 10/1. The winner of his first two starts last season before losing his way, he was right back to his best when scoring on his reappearance at Ripon 18 days ago and given the manner of that victory – he cruised into contention before just doing enough – a 4lb rise might not be enough to prevent a follow-up. He does come with a caveat, mind, as he doesn’t want it too quick and, by making him my pick, I’m banking on the forecast morning rain materialising to take any sting out of the ground.
3:30 6f Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Harry Angel is comfortably clear on the ratings over these having confirmed himself as one of last season’s leading sprinters with a couple of Group 1 victories, and he can be forgiven a defeat on his final outing at Ascot as very little went right for him. He’s very much the one to beat but odds-on quotes don’t appeal as he’s sure to need his first run back and also has a penalty to carry.
Last year’s winner Tasleet, who finished four lengths behind the favourite at Haydock in September, one of three Group 1 seconds last season, could finish a lot closer with a 7lb pull. But he too lacks a run and SIR DANCEALOT could be worth a small each-way interest at bet365’s 10/1. Having been gelded over the winter, he posted an improved effort on his return to action, making Brando work hard for his win in the Group 3 Abernant and that can be marked up further as he was in need of the run according to his trainer David Elsworth. In which case, he must have every chance of turning the tables on his Newmarket conqueror and, with fitness on his side, he could spring a surprise.
4:05 1m2½f (1m2f56y) Tattersalls Musidora Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) (Class 1) (3yo)
This race usually goes to an odds-on favourite, with that applying to four of the last five winners, but this is a more open renewal and John Gosden’s Highgarden, the mount of Frankie Dettori, heads the market at around the 5/2 mark. That’s probably more to do with her connections – Gosden and Dettori have combined for the last three winners – than what she’s shown on track, as she failed to land the odds in a Sandown maiden on her reappearance last month.
I’m inclined to take her on and the Sandown second Give And Take has to be considered as she should come on for that run and holds all the right entries. But at the odds I’m going to take a chance on LUBINKA, with bet365 going 6/1 on Peter Chapple-Hyam’s filly. That looks too big given she ran some eye-catching races at two, including when third to Nell Gwyn winner Soliloquy in a novice at Ascot and was far from disgraced when sixth in the Fillies’ Mile won by Laurens.
Given her stamina-laden pedigree, she was always going to relish middle distances and that proved the case on her first try over 1m4f at Lingfield last month, with Jack Mitchell not needing to get serious in the saddle to see off subsequent winner Amourice. This is tougher of course but all her rivals are stepping up in class too and we know she won’t fail through lack of stamina.
All odds were correct at time of posting.