A busy weekend of horse racing awaits us with the last day of the Yorkshire Ebor Festival plus Sandown with Uttoxeter over the sticks plus an evening meeting at Chelmsford City. In Ireland they have a jump meeting at Killarney and some Pattern action at the Curragh.
They get underway at 1.50 on the Knavesmire with the 1m1f Group Three Strensall Stakes. A few in here with questions to answer truth be told and I have gone for the one I think is, hopefully, the most reliable at the moment. Dark Vision won his first three starts including the G.2 Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in July 2018 and looked a real prospect. Lost his way somewhat thereafter but put in a few fair efforts in big handicaps. Much more solid form this year, won Royal Hunt Cup and a small-field Pontefract Listed event and the four-year-old looks, to me , like the answer to this puzzle at 5-1.
At 3.00 it is the Group Two 7f City Of York Stakes. A late non-runner when I tipped him last weekend for the 7f G.2 Hungerford Stakes Threat will line-up here. The chestnut three-year-old gets all the allowances and as I said last weekend, he will win something like this I am sure and the seven may prove his ideal trip. Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle ad all being well he can return to top form and take full advantage of carrying just the 9-1. I have the 8-1. One Master is naturally feared if she is in the mood at her specialist distance.
The 1m6f Sky Bet Ebor Handicap is at 3.40. I tipped Fujaira Prince for the 1m6f Copper Horse Handicap at the Royal meeting and he got the job done in some style; I would expect to see the same positive tactics in this. A 9lb hike in the ratings might not be enough to anchor him and as one so lightly raced a little more yet might be in the tank. Drawn in 12, bang in the middle, is no bad thing (was drawn widest of all at Ascot) the yard is in form and Atzeni is of course in the saddle again. I have taken the plunge and backed him again, today at 6-1, in what is a real puzzle of a race. Dangers abound naturally including Pablo Escobarr, Trueshan, Deja and Ghostwatch if he returns to his best.
At 4.10 the two-year-olds face 5f for the Listed Julia Graves Roses Stakes. I can’t help but think the Blackberry would be a smaller price if with more fashionable connections. Two runs, two wins including beating odds-on shot Credible at Doncaster with little more than hands and heels encouragement; don’t be fooled by the official ½ length distance. Second won next tine to frank the form. She is a daughter of top-class Aussie sprinter Brazen Beau out of She's A Worldie, a winning filly over 5f in her career when trained by Bryan Smart. I think she is worth a punt at a big looking 11-1.All the best at York are fair prices overnight, maybe a cheeky each-way Saturday afternoon Yankee if that floats your boat.
Elsewhere, a few horses I have talked of on the past are running but best watched for now. In the 7.25 7f Chelmsford City Cup Handicap at Chelmsford City Royal Marine and Boccaccio run for Godolphin. I have backed both several times. Royal Marine aint won since he was two including when I tipped him again at HQ earlier this month fading into fourth in the final furlong; I can’t back him for this. Boccaccio was tried in Listed class the last twice and was far from disgraced and may have snuck in here with a handy weight. Rated 100 he only has to carry 9-2 compared to 9-9 for the 102 rated Royal Marine. The weight-for-age advantage could prove significant in a tight handicap such as this, cheekpieces go on and the booking of Adam Kirby is no bad thing. I will be keeping an eye on the prices and likely get on best odds guaranteed when the Bookies chalk-up in the morning.
The two big two-year-old races in Ireland, Debutante Stakes for the fillies and Futurity Stakes for the colts, are dominated by Aidan O’Brien and sons and are probably best watched for future pointers rather than bet in.
Talking of big two-year-old races they have the Group One 6f Prix Morny over at Deauville due of at 1.35 on Sunday. Campanelle is due to run for Wesley Ward, as he is out there having missed York this week to ride in France last weekend, Frankie Dettori is booked to ride the American raider. The Queen’s Andrew Balding trained colt Tactical may also run. It’s a fair card and I may yet get involves so be sure to check back over the weekend.