The opener at York looks potentially the toughest race on the entire card with a case to be made for at least half the field.
Normally when looking through such a competitive handicap I'd analyse a horses former winning marks and official rating however of the 16 runner field only one horse in the lineup is racing off a mark lower than they've won at before. The horse in question is the former Group 2 winner Raymond Tusk who is currently priced at around 33/1. He's shown very little over the past twelve months, despite a switch to the yard of Alan King, but he does have a solid record here at York. I couldn't be overly convinced but may be worth a small stakes punt for those looking for a bit of each way value.
To me the winner should hail from the market principles in Ilaraab who's done very little wrong in his career to date by winning his last five races however may need this run and isn't certain to have fitness on his side.
The other market principle and major threat comes in the form of My Frankel. The beautifully bred four year old hails from a yard who are notorious for their success with older horses and with a run under his belt already, albeit on the all-weather, should come on for that outing. With Ryan Moore in the saddle my slight preference would be for Stoute's runner but I'm going to tentatively stick with Raymond Tusk in a race that I would urge punters to approach with both caution and care.
RAYMOND TUSK (E/W)
written by Rory Paddock