14:40 Thirsk Today's feature on Thirsk's seven race comes in the form of the Thirsk Hunt Cup, over a trip of 7 furlongs and 218 yards. Recent trends for this are rather thin on the ground although winning favourites are rather irregular, with just one outright betting favourite winning from the last ten renewals.
Probable market leaders Nugget and Astro King arrive here with eye catching profiles and the pair renew rivalry today, having bumped into one another at Nottingham earlier in the season. On that occasion, the Sir Michael Stoute trained Astro King showed a most willing attitude to fend off a strong challenge from Finest Sound (Winner since) and Nugget who looked rather unlucky in the run. Off since, one would have to suspect this has always been the plan for Sir Michael's charge and he does look a typically slow burning type of improver that the yard are so famed for excelling with.
Nugget himself gained compensation for his luckless run at Nottingham when proving too strong in a hot looking handicap at Newbury ten days ago. Much like his main market rival, he appears ahead of his current mark and commands a good deal of respect, perhaps even more so if they set a decent pace for him to aim at.
Acquitted did very little wrong when finding just one too good in the Spring Mile at Doncaster, a deeper delving into his form reveals a fine second placed finish behind the Palace Pier (Multiple Group 1 winner) taking that particular piece of form overly serious would be questionable though he is entitled to come on from his latest effort and you know he does have plenty of talent.
On A Session has plenty of form in decent handicaps in Ireland to suggest he is up to winning a race of this nature, second when making his UK debut for David Barron at Wolverhampton was highly encouraging although he does look in need of a stern test at this trip.
Scottish Summit finished a fair third at Newmarket last time, the form of that race was questioned and derided in parts as there appeared to be a pace and draw bias at Newmarket. Despite that and perhaps surprisingly, the second has since won at Ascot and although Geoffrey Harker's 8 year old must produce a career best to land this, he has every chance of running into a place at fancy odds if getting a pace.
Hartswood looks rock solid on the book having placed and won at York last season, some of that form reads extremely well in the context of this race and he has previously scored over this course. Trainer Richard Fahey has saddled a recent winner of this race and a big run looks on the cards, however, perhaps the glaring downside here is that he lacking a recent run against race fit rivals.
Hortzdar and Waarif represent a powerful Northern yard and market confidence would be interesting, despite all of that, a chance will be taken on Hartswood whom currently trades at double figure odds for an inform yard.
written by Chris Connolly