Can we keep up this amazing run. Now up over 34 units in two days and fighting hard.Another fresh set of challenges today and some slightly lesser calibre of horse to work with but a job nonetheless to sort it out and fight on.
1.55 Skybet Special Handicap – Class 2, 1 mile 4 furlongs
The talking horse all season has been Sir Michael Stoute’s, Top Tug, who having produced nothing of note so far, except slow performances, is moved up today to his longest trip yet of 12 furlongs. I can see him staying on in his last race when I fell for the hype and backed him and he just looked slow. Maybe he was always destined for this trip but it didn’t look like it back in May at this track over this trip when he was a plugging on 5th, with the excuse that the ground was a bit quick. It seems to me he has everything in his favour today and if he doesn’t win then who knows where after this. Perhaps the 5/1 favouritism may well be right but I think we need to look elsewhere. Memorial Day is a good place to start. Unexposed after two good wins, the lastest at 10F and ready to tackle 12 today. Good draw in 10 and if my maths is right about 6lbs well in on what he has achieved so far. The other that seems to have been missed, is a much bigger price, in the shape of Ransom Note. A horse rated 117, 3 years ago as a juvenile and who after a long break because of injury looked to be coming back to some sort of form for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, after finishing 4th beaten just 1.5l. If he has retained just 80% of his flat ability that would be good enough and I am happy to bet 25/1 today he might have.
Another fabulous race this week. The performances of Trip to Paris in winning 2 major 2 mile crowns, Chester and Newcastle, has been astounding and I thought he would win again at Goodwood, which has me questioning why he didn’t? You don’t rule him out lightly though, even though my suspicion is this is one trip to the well too many. Big Orange, his conqueror is such a willing type and seems on the top of his game after that Goodwood victory but I just wonder if we had two horses in this field who have that touch of class that separates them from handicap victories. The defection of Tac Be Boistron who looked to have everything in his favour and has that potent turn of foot that class horses have is disappointing but the second, Clever Cookie who I really don’t think trainer Peter Niven has got to the bottom of yet, despite the fact that he and many others including me absolutely love the horse is where we will put our money today.
Our bet :
3.05 Skybet City of York Listed – 7 furlongs
This is a bit like the Acomb for me. Tough to get a handle on who will like the step up in trip, who is destined for Group stardom and who likes this course. I haven’t had great success in this race but I was very taken by Salateen’s performance when winning here earlier and think he must be considered. Short Squeeze for Hugo Palmer has always been a fancied to be a lot better than this by his trainer but he needs to bring his A game to win this. Tanzeel for Charles Hills is the type of unexposed 4 yo that could win this race after a good performance here at York over 6f and for whom 7f seems to be the right place to go and Richard Pankhurst, so impressive in his second start last year at Ascot beating Toscanini over 7f, that a race of this nature seems the very minimum standard he should be contesting. With just natural improvement after what must have been quite an injury to keep him out for 426 days he will take some beating. I have to side with potential in each case. In one case, that this is potentially the right trip and the other that he is now fully fit and achieving his potential of ability.
Our bets :
An outstanding renewal of this race and there is only one horse they are talking about, Acapulco. Why, because you have to go back to 2007 when a 2yo won this race and I remember seeing Kingsgate Native sluice up taking advantage of the massive weight allowance and a freakish build, as well as, with respect, one of the most average field for this race you will have seen, not the calibre of today’s opposition but an achievement nonetheless. Trainer, Wesley Ward has already said that the Royal Ascot winner, is a “monster” and has just developed so much more since Ascot. If that’s true then it might be all over already. However Sole Power, Muthmir, Meccas Angel and Goldream are proven Group 1 winners, better than Kingsgate took on and despite having to give weight they will provide stern opposition. Will they be able to? Will Acapulco after just 2 starts be up to this? These are the questions you will have to feel positively about if you are going to back him. I wanted to be against Acapulco but with the ground at Good to Soft I just can’t find a horse to beat it. On good or faster I would have fancied Sole Power back at 5 but this slower ground doesn’t show him to best effect. It’s not original but Martin Pipe said, weight stops trains and nearly 2 stone is too much to give a good horse so we have to go with the favourite.
Not too much to get our teeth in to in this race but it’s possible the winner is amongst these four. Palmetto Dunes who has produced and RPR of 102 for Dermot Weld already and seems capable of better and for whom this race was undoubtedly pencilled in after his last running. Star of Lombardy who chased home a good horse on debut and will improve for experience and the trip, Perkunas for Brian Meehan, for whom this race, coming just 14 days after his success, looks a bit like, “we’ll have a go” and Beautiful Morning for Luca Cumani, after finishing a good 3rd, running green at Newmarket on debut. That of course ignores Very Talented for Godolphin for whom 7f seemed about right at Goodwood.
My two against the field are
Bit of a lame race to finish with and I am going to concentrate on two only, Rifle Range for Roger Varian, who has a tie up on form with Memorial Day in the first and is drawn 10 and just has the right feel about him. So if that runs well that could be a tip in itself and Talyani for William Haggas who, for trainer Wiliam Haggas, looks a horse on the upgrade and were it not for the draw of 20 I would be quite bullish about.