If you have never been to this festival then you need to treat yourself. In my opinion, this is the best in the UK. No poncy toffs, no rip off prices, outstanding catering, great viewing, friendly staff and a beautiful city in which to spend your nights. Its even better if you have backed a few winners and that’s not that easy as it is monstrously competitive racing.
Here’s a tip that cant be beaten. If you can only do one day, do Tuesday. This is the best. So lets see if we can carve this programme up and walk away with a few quid. Couple of provisos on these tips. This is being written the day before racing and with good ground forecast. William Derby, York Supremo says they have had about 8 mils of rain and that should be it before tomorrow. He doesn’t think the going will need changing and they are racing on the sanded bend, which should mean good quality racing ground for tomorrows racing. If he is right then they will all line up. If it keeps raining then there will be massive defections. Bad ground at York is about as bad as it gets for punting. So if it stays good ground and it genuinely is then we are confident about the following.
1.55 Symphony Stakes Class 2 Hcp. 5 furlongs
A super race to start with. In a race where no favourite has won in the six years since it began you couldnt really rule any of them out but we can find some good reasons to be with a few.Four year olds have won the last 2 encounters but I don’t think that is a trend. What does look important is the weights sweet spot with all but one year seeing a horse carrying more than 9 stone. It says we are looking for a touch of class to win this race and that is what I have concentrated on.
My four for starters are Dutch Masterpiece, touched off last time, returning to the form of which he is capable. The explosive Caspian Prince who is starting to look well handicapped on fast ground with his electric pace. Lucky Beggar might just be back on the up and he is running well below old marks and may well be that touch of class, as might be Highland Acclaim.
2.30 The Tattersalls Acomb Stakes – Group 3 7 Furlongs
Really tough race to get a handle on. I went back through every winner in the last 10 years and found no trend other than they must have recorded an RPR of greater than 84. Fortunately that gets it down to four horses if we can believe those figures so I have put a ring around Adventurous, Lieutenant General, Mohab and Humphrey Bogart. Four horses, trained by Aiden O’Brien, Richard Hannon, Kevin Ryan and Mark Johnston. All trainers are in great nick and its not an easy pick. Adventurous will be better suited by 7f than he was by 6 for Mark Johnston, who had 49 winners in July – 49!!! and Mohab is the juvenile apple of Kevin Ryan’s eye, who went close with the Grey Gatsby in 2013.
3.05 The Great Voltigeur Group 2, 1 mile 4f
Bondi Beach won a 14f Grp 3 recently and if the rain continues and this is a real stamina test then it all plays to his strengths. Giovanni Canoletto looked like being the O’Brien Derby number 1 and hasnt really fired at all this year but this in theory should be an easier assignment. Medrano, for local trainer David Brown is probably better than he has shown and that isn’t bad and Balios ran some good races before a bit of a flat run in France. That leaves Tashaar, who comes out of handicap company, for whom this is a big ask of a horse who is well fancied and Storm the Stars, highly placed in the what was a good derby and has the best form figure so far this year and it is for that reason I think, against this slightly lesser company, he can get the job done for trainer William Haggas, who is in cracking form right now.
3.40 The Juddamonte International Group 1, 1 mile 2f
The race of the year. In excitement terms this race delivers exactly what was intended. The Derby winner over two furlongs less and the Guineas winner over 2 furlongs more from this years generation plus horses from last year who are amongst the best. Assuming the rain stops, this race will only be bettered by by the Arc and racegoers are in for a treat. We are going to get even more bullish in this race and here is why. The second favourite, Gleneagles, was said by Aiden O’Brien, after the Guineas, to be a miler and would not be considered for the Derby and here they are having a go at 10 furlongs, fair enough and I admire their have a go attitude, even if it is only 2 furlongs further. All credit to them but I think they were right back in May and for that reason Golden Horn, who is the real deal, will win and if you don’t have an account with any of those bookmakers who are offering 4 and 5/1 about this horse then open one now and start accumulating a nest egg of money. Thats the deal.
4.20 Fine Equinity Handicap Stakes – Class 2 2 miles
Another cracking race, this time over 2 miles and every time they run over this trip at this track the echoes of Double Trigger run through my mind. These horses regularly run against each other at Chester, Newcastle and Goodwood and now York. Where do we start. I think we need to look for a horse who is just entering in to this years staying races and appears to be on an upward curve. So who does that include. I think we need to concentrate on the rejuvenated Big Thunder- no shock there, he is the favourite. His stablemate, Saved by the Bell who was beaten narrowly and has a pull at the weights that could correct that. Highland Castle, who after a good performance behind Gold Trail, over an inadequate 12 furlongs looks to be primed for this race and possibly has more to offer over 16f than we have seen so far and against what I have said, the admirable Teak who ran a good’un last time out and deserves a win this year. Its tough but we have to have a go in this race, its the law.
Betway Stakes – Nursery Handicap Class 2 6 furlongs
This race has thrown up 33/1 winners and a couple of favs in the last 10 years. Its has had top weights and bottom weights in equal measures, top trainers and lesser known. In short, it’s tough. Lets not get carried away and analyse all of these as there is no easy way to victory. Roaring Forties has done us proud so far. Kassia has been highly tried and could find this more to its liking for in form Mick Channon but the one that excites me the most is Mayfair Lady who blitzed them last time out and that form now looks good. Lets go quietly on this but hopefully.