YORK -- FRIDAY 17TH MAY
Poor showing yesterday, with going changing considerably and lots of non-runners. But, more importantly, some moderate picking from yours truly.
Onwards, though the same venue. With 48 hour declarations having been made before the deluge, expect more non-runners, and look for soft ground horses where possible.
Before I start, a quick reminder, if you haven't seen this already, check out my best free content video ever.
Leg 1: 1.45 - Already three non-runners for this - I think - first black type contest for two-year-olds in Britain. Soft ground will be a new experience for many, so regression from some and progression from others can be expected. We also need a filly which gets further than a quick five.
The one which has shown most on a surface softer than good is Beldale Memory. She made all in a big field to win at Bath, on good to soft, and the second and fourth have both won their only starts since. She's the most reliable prospect in a field of imponderables. She's my solo A pick, and I've backed her to win as well.
Best level of form on a sound surface has been shown by Quatuor, trained by last year's winning trainer, Tom Dascombe. I'm going to take her on for two reasons: firstly, with three runs to her name, she's less progression than many; and secondly, she ran just nine days ago and that was her third start in five weeks: she might be knackered!
Hoku is entitled to improve for the run for his up-and-coming trainer, and she was beaten by a match fit Quatuor and Kidmenot, both winners since, on debut. She might run well, though the ground is a bit of a worry. B for her.
Champagne Babe's sire, Captain Rio, has both the best sire stats for soft ground in the race, and the best sire stats for two year olds in the race. So his daughter joins the party on B.
A - 2 (Beldale Memory)
B - 5 (Champagne Babe), 8 (Hoku)
Leg 2: 2.15 - I was impressed with Sir John Hawkwood at Chester last week. He seemed to win in spite of the track and was never going better than at the end, so this longer trip will suit. A son of Sir Percy, and a five length soft ground winner on his debut, the ground won't be an issue, and it's a bold shout maybe, but he's my banker.
A - 1 (Sir John Hawkwood)
Leg 3: 2.45 -I'm opposing most of the four-year-olds here, who wouldn't be as physically mature as their older rivals over this demanding trip/class. The exception is the well-raced, class-dropping Top Trip, another French raider after Dalkala's romp yesterday. Cavalryman's form on soft ground is a worry, but the level of his best form is the best here (Dubai Gold Cup winner last time) and he make A... just. [Stop press: it seems I wasn't the only one with that view, as he's now a non-runner].
Joshua Tree, a win and two places from three soft ground runs, completes my A line up.
A - 1 (Joshua Tree), 8 (Top Trip)
Leg 4: 3.15 - I really like the bottom one here, Senafe, at around 10/1. She's going to need to improve to win this, but that's likely with the benefit of a run (second to subsequent French Guineas fourth, Zurigha) and the return to a softer surface (won on heavy). She's A material.
Newbury maidens take some winning, so Sir Michael Stoute's Pavlosk cannot be ignored, especially as there was some juice in the ground that day.
Rae Guest, whose stable are in bouncing form at the moment, runs How's Life. This lass has won both her starts to date, and has taken support in the market. She is taking a whopping step in class, from a Class 5 handicap to a Listed race, but her trainer doesn't tilt at windmills too often, so he clearly rates her. I'll risk her on B, along with another wily Newmarket trainer, Alan Jarvis, who runs Annie's Fortune.
She's dropping in class, from the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes and is having her first run of the year. That she's been well backed suggests that she's improved over the winter and she's ready to play today. That's enough for me from respected connections.
A - 8 (Pavlosk), 10 (Senafe)
B - 2 (Annie's Fortune), 6 (How's Life)
Leg 5: 3.50 - Nineteen still engaged in what is a ferocious five furlong sprint handicap for three year olds. The one thing that stands out here is the performance of Yorkshire trainers, who have won four of the last five, three of them going to an Easterby (Mick 2, Tim 1).
Bachoftheque, a 25/1 shot that has won on soft, gets a B nod for Tim Easterby, then, and a small win bet as well.
I'm going mob-handed with Northern-trained horses across A and B: Secret Look (soft ground winner), My Name Is Rio (Captain Rio-bred), Lady Ibrox (needs it soggy), Vincentti (softer the better, drops from Group 3 for shrewd trainer), Lastchancelucas (two out of two over five furlongs, winner on heavy) and Chasing Dreams (best form in deep ground).
I'll chuck in the soft-loving favourite, Dutch Masterpiece as well. Phew!
A - 1 (Dutch Masterpiece), 4 (Secret Look), 18 (My Name Is Rio)
B - 6 (Lady Ibrox), 9 (Lastchancelucas), 11 (Vincentti), 12 (Bachoftheque), 20 (Chasing Dreams)
Leg 6: 4.25 - A big field handicap generally won by an unexposed four or five year old. The Newmarket trainers have held sway here too, so I immediately like the look of Sir Michael's Rye House. Stoute has won this twice in the last ten years, and his stable is in great heart.
Surprisingly, perhaps, despite its competitive feel, nine of the last ten winners were priced 8/1 or shorter. Take Two has a winning attitude and is progressing well this term. He also goes in the mud, and he's my second bullet here.
A - 2 (Rye House), 11 (Take Two)
That leaves us with perms looking like this:
Just A's - 1 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 3 x 2 = 24 bets
All picks - 3 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 8 x 2 = 384 bets
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