I managed to find one winner in the shape of Alpinista on Thursday – what a top-class mare she is and she has to be on any shortlist for the Arc. It’s not been the best couple of days though for me on the Knavesmire with just one winner from six bets but hopefully I have a few winners for Friday. I actually fancy five on Friday.
Best bets for the racing at York Friday 19th August
At 2.25 the two-mile Group Two Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes was looking like a decent race but sadly six-time course winner Stradivarius is now a non-runner and it looks a penalty kick for Trueshan even on ground that aint ideal. 9-10 is short but I have that. Mostly Cloudy is interesting taking a huge step-up in class and despite being rated only 95 might have been an each-way punt as an improving three-year-old getting 12lb from the field but with just the seven runners that’s not the case now.
We have some very promising two-year-olds at 3.00 for the Group Two 6f Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes. Royal Scotsman, Marshman and Noble Style having been vying for favouritism and a case can be made for all three. I tipped Royal Scotsman when he won the G.2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood and he has the best form in the book to my eyes and despite a 3lb penalty rightly heads the market. Charlie Appleby's Noble Style actually beat Royal Scotsman over 5f on their debuts at Ascot back in May but had preparations for the Royal meeting interrupted and wasn’t seen again until winning at HQ three-weeks ago. Charlie Appleby said earlier this week “He looked very smart when winning his maiden at Ascot but I was not entirely happy with him coming into the Royal meeting so we missed his intended target there. I’m a believer that sometimes missing those type of races in the summer can benefit them in the second half of the season. He had his break, then he came back under a penalty in a Newmarket novice. We got the job done but, most importantly, we could see improvement for that run. His work has been good. He’s definitely come on for that experience. The Gimcrack is the right race for him now, but in time, I think he will benefit for stepping up in trip.” I have plumped for the Godolphin colt at 3-1 but Royal Scotsman is very much feared.
The main event on Friday is the 5f Group One Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes at 3.35. Royal Aclaim won the Listed City Walls Stakes over course and distance last month and is many peoples’ fancy. She is unbeaten in three starts and has to be considered but the form of that win last month is far from red-hot, anything but in fact, and I am happy to take her on. Another course-and-distance winner The Platinum Queen broke the course record at Goodwood in July (I tipped her that day) and getting the huge 22lb weight-for-age allowance from the three-year-old jolly, and more from the rest of the field, a filly with the amount of raw speed she clearly has simply has to be considered. She fluffed the start on her only defeat at Ascot and provided she gets it right out the stalls she will surely be involved in the finish. Stall 13 isn’t that bad in a field of fifteen looking at the results so far this week and I took 3-1 on Wednesday evening – she has drifted since. Of the older generation Khaadem and my old favourite Luzuli will put in decent efforts no doubt but have to give the selection 27lb!
The 4.45 is the 7f British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden Stakes. I am on another Charlie Appleby trained on here (hopefully he has a good day) in the shape of Desert Order. I tipped him when second at Sandown a couple of weeks ago, just headed by the Juddmonte owned Arrest in the shadow of the post. Charlie Appleby said “Desert Order has twice finished second but Sandown seemed to ride like a good race. He brings experience and a good deal of ability to this. He might not need to improve much more to win a Convivial.” I totally agree and have the 6-4 I took Thursday evening. Salt Lake was second on debut at the Curragh and rates the obvious threat for his powerful connections.
The lucky last at 5.20 is the Sky Bet Mile Handicap. I said of Bay Of Honour last time whilst tipping him at HQ I wondered if he was a Group horse in a handicap, he won, and is now up to a mark of 102. The son Shamardal clearly has some talent and has to be shortlisted here, surely his last run in handicap company, despite having top-weight. I tipped Operating on debut back in December 2021 with my notes after rading ‘will learn from the experience.’ He clearly has and arrives here having won his last two starts and a mark of 91 might not stop him yet. This was a tricky choice for me but I think Buick will go forward on Bay Of Honour and can hold off the later finishers, likely to be headed by Operating. I am on at 7-1.Be lucky