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Bangkok digs in for narrow success in York Stakes

Bangkok surprised some better fancied rivals to win the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes.

Starting at 14-1 under David Probert, Bangkok raced in mid division and threw down his challenge in the last furlong, locking horns with race leader Juan Elcano before Mohaafeth became involved after covering ground late on.

Andrew Balding’s bay crossed the line a head in front of the former horse, with William Haggas’ 4-5 favourite Mohaafeth a further neck behind in third.

The victory is a first Group Two success for Bangkok, who is something of a globetrotter having run in a string of valuable races in the Middle East.

Probert said: “The pace of the race wasn’t overly strong early on and he likes to have a little bit of cover and he got into a nice rhythm.

“We got racing from three and a half and I couldn’t see where Jim (Crowley on Mohaafeth) was or the O’Brien horse (Armory), so I had to read the race on my own accord.

“About a furlong down, he dropped back to third, but he responded very well for pressure and got back up on the line. I’m delighted with him as it shows he has the ability.

“He’s probably been the forgotten horse as he’s shown his true form on the all-weather. He probably needed his best to win and hopefully he’ll take a big step forward.”

Speaking away from the track, Balding said: “I’m really pleased. David gave him a lovely ride and the horse deserved that. He’s so tough and consistent, talented at the same time so it’s lovely to win a nice race with him.

“Unfortunately, he’s not in the Juddmonte International so we would have to supplement him, but we’ve got some overseas targets in the autumn anyway to take on board. We’ll put everything into the mix and come up with a plan.”

Haggas said of Mohaafeth’s performance: “I thought he ran a very nice race. A disappointing result but he ran a good race.

“I learnt a bit today. I thought it was as far as he wants to go. Absolutely not a criticism but the rail was put out 43 yards and if it hadn’t been he’d have lasted. I don’t want to bring that into it at all. The winner won fairly.

“I thought our horse ran a very good race and he’s going to be fine.

“I’ve no idea where we go next. I’ll talk to the owner.”

Bangkok digs in for narrow success in York Stakes

Bangkok surprised some better fancied rivals to win the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes.

Starting at 14-1 under David Probert, Bangkok raced in mid division and threw down his challenge in the last furlong, locking horns with race leader Juan Elcano before Mohaafeth became involved after covering ground late on.

Andrew Balding’s bay crossed the line a head in front of the former horse, with William Haggas’ 4-5 favourite Mohaafeth a further neck behind in third.

The victory is a first Group Two success for Bangkok, who is something of a globetrotter having run in a string of valuable races in the Middle East.

Probert said: “The pace of the race wasn’t overly strong early on and he likes to have a little bit of cover and he got into a nice rhythm.

“We got racing from three and a half and I couldn’t see where Jim (Crowley on Mohaafeth) was or the O’Brien horse (Armory), so I had to read the race on my own accord.

“About a furlong down, he dropped back to third, but he responded very well for pressure and got back up on the line. I’m delighted with him as it shows he has the ability.

“He’s probably been the forgotten horse as he’s shown his true form on the all-weather. He probably needed his best to win and hopefully he’ll take a big step forward.”

Speaking away from the track, Balding said: “I’m really pleased. David gave him a lovely ride and the horse deserved that. He’s so tough and consistent, talented at the same time so it’s lovely to win a nice race with him.

“Unfortunately, he’s not in the Juddmonte International so we would have to supplement him, but we’ve got some overseas targets in the autumn anyway to take on board. We’ll put everything into the mix and come up with a plan.”

Haggas said of Mohaafeth’s performance: “I thought he ran a very nice race. A disappointing result but he ran a good race.

“I learnt a bit today. I thought it was as far as he wants to go. Absolutely not a criticism but the rail was put out 43 yards and if it hadn’t been he’d have lasted. I don’t want to bring that into it at all. The winner won fairly.

“I thought our horse ran a very good race and he’s going to be fine.

“I’ve no idea where we go next. I’ll talk to the owner.”

Racing Insights, 24th July 2021

Saturday’s free feature of the day is the Trainer/Jockey Combo Report. This report allows us to not only find the most in form combinations but also to identify combinations that are particularly potent at certain courses. All in one easy to consume report!

As for the free races of the day, Saturday’s choices are:

1.40 Gowran Park
3.05 Newmarket
3.15 York
3.55 Newcastle
4.15 Newmarket
8.05 Salisbury

Having the Group 2 York Stakes as a free races is pretty handy so let’s take a look at the 3.15 York. This Group 2 is run over an extended 10f and is open to 3yo+. There are five runners set to go to post.

With a small field there is always a chance of a false gallop. This distance at York is a pretty fair one in terms of pace bias but the individual pace make up of the race is still going to be an important factor.

Montatham isn’t an out and front runner but he’s the closest thing we’ve got to one here. This race isn’t really in line with how the horse has been campaigned to date and given the ownership it looks highly likely his presence in this field is as a pacemaker for stablemate Mohaafeth. If that’s the case this should be run at an even tempo and given the small field no runner should be too poorly placed anyway – hold up performers tend to be more inconvenienced when held up off slow gallops in big fields compared than small fields because they have more ground to make up.

Now it’s time to check out the chances of each of the runners.

Armory

The highest rated runner in the field and still highest rated even if you make adjustments for the fact he carries a 3lb Group 2 penalty in this. He’s pretty consistent and although most of his form is away from fast ground he has two solid efforts on good to firm in Group 1 company so the ground should hold no fears.

His record in Group 1 company reads 2344323 so he’s clearly only just shy of the very top level and even with a penalty it will probably take a Group 1 performance to beat him. He’s used to racing in small fields which is a bonus, his last two wins came in fields of 4 and 5 respectively and a 1.5 length defeat at the hands of Love in the Prince Of Wales Stakes will almost certainly look very good form about twenty minutes after this race, if it doesn’t already. You could probably argue he’s improved again this season and he clearly sets a very high standard.

Bangkok

Won the All Weather Finals Day Classic but he’s so far looked slightly better on artificial surfaces.. Fast ground and this distance seems his preference on turf and he ran well in 2nd over 9f here at York at Group 3 level behind Zaaki a couple of years ago. He was probably a little out of sorts during last year’s turf campaign and although beaten 6 lengths by Armory at Chester he can be expected to get closer this time as he’s 3lb better off and faster ground should be in his favour too. It’s very unlikely he’ll improve enough to push Armory in this but he could get within just a few lengths of him which could be good enough to grab third maybe.

Juan Elcano

Improved from a wind op when landing the Wolferton Stakes at Ascot last month and connections will surely look to ride him relatively patiently again, his best form does seem to have come when he's avoided front running or racing prominently. He ran on well from off the pace in the Dante Stakes here last year on ground that was probably softer than ideal so he has some decent course form.

He’s pretty unexposed in general but is especially unexposed on fast ground over 10f. You’d have to think Armory would have been able to win the Wolferton Stakes by even further had he gone for that (ignoring the fact that Armory would have carried a big penalty) so although he only has 2 lbs to find with Armory on these terms he does still need to improve again and there is a suspicion he might be better in a bigger field.

Montatham

A creditable performer in his own right but he’s listed class at best on all known form, might be better with a little cut in the ground, looks better at a mile and is probably going to be used as a pacemaker. If all of these run to form he’ll finish last.

Mohaafeth

The real potential star in the field and he’s clearly extremely well thought of when you see the odds he has been winning at this season. He’s still only raced against his own generation so how much is his form actually worth?

He beat Secret Protector by 5 lengths in a listed race at Newmarket in May but then only beat that same horse by 2 lengths in the Hampton Course Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. Mohaafeth’s victory in that most recent run was quite visually impressive but there are some question marks over that form. The 4th was beaten a similar distance at the same level next time out whilst the 5th dropped to listed class and also got no closer to winning.

It's not Mohaafeth’s fault he hasn’t been beating better horses, you can only beat what’s put in front of you, and he does seem to have quite the engine on him. However that wasn’t a group 1 performance last time out and he might need near that to beat Armory here so he’s probably not one to take short prices about. He does get 9lbs weight for age which is a massive help at this time of year and that’s the main thing attracting me to him.

Summary

Is Mohaafeth as good as many think? He might well be and conditions should suit but even with the weight for age he’s a skinny price on what he’s done so far. Armory has his limitations but he’s a really solid yardstick in this and he probably deserves to be joint favourite at the very least. Getting involved at short prices doesn’t make loads of appeal but from this race at the prices it is Armory who makes slightly more appeal.

Juan Elcano and Bangkok are likely to battle it out for third place.