We start off our channel four preview with an open looking three year old handicap.
The Tom Tate trained filly Empress Ali heads the betting here with booking of Declan McDonagh eye catching. She is a filly at the top of her game and arrives here on the back of a win and has not been out of the first two, on her last three starts. While she is open to plenty of improvement, it is going to take major improvement to beat a few of these. For that reason, I would be prepared to look elsewhere and two in this do catch the eye,
The one that I really like is the Clive Cox trained Lacan who is unexposed and open to plenty of improvement. The son of New Approach has to bounce back from a below effort at Newmarket, but I think he just did not act on the track. The colts three runs before that all came at Nottingham and that is a track that is very similar to York. A slight unknown is the ground but most progeny of New Approach are fairly versatile ground wise, so hopefully it won’t be an inconvenience.
The second horse that I fancy in this is Shot in the Sun who gets in here at the bottom of the weights. The Kodiac filly has yet to win this season but has gone placed a few times. A mark of 80 looks lenient enough as I think she could be value for at least another ten pounds on that mark. The one cause for concern is the ground as she might have a problem if it was too soft. York is a track that dries out quickly so hopefully it won’t be too bad.
Lacan (E/W if 5/1+)
Shot in the Sun (E/W)
For our second race we switch to Newmarket for a Group three race for two year olds, run over the Rowley mile.
This looks a straight match up between the Godolphin and Coolmore runners.
The Godolphin owned Future Empire sets the standard here and is unlucky not to be coming in to the race unbeaten. He won a decent maiden at this track over seven furlongs which has thrown up numerous winners. Was then stepped up to Group three company and was only beaten a short head in the Solaris Stakles also over seven furlongs. The New Approach colt should appreciate the step up to a mile here and is sure to have a say in the finish today.
Order of St George steps in to pattern company here for the first time and finally broke his maiden tag at third time of asking. The son of Galileo could not have been more impressive in doing so, winning by eight and a half lengths. While it was not a particularly strong maiden, the second does have a mark of 82 so that run was somewhere in the 100+ range. That puts him on a par with Future Empire here and this stiff finish should play to his strengths.
Given that these are two year old’s and open to lots of improvement it makes it hard to discount many. I think that the rest will only be fighting it out for the third here and not much separates Strong Glacier, Hail Clodius, Mukhayyam and Jolievitesse.
I think it could be a flick of a coin between Future Empire and Order of St George but the fact the Godolphin runner has proven pattern form, he gets my vote.
Future Empire (WIN)
We head back to York for a competitive handicap run over one mile and two furlongs.
The Saeed Bin Surroor inmate First Flight heads the betting here and looks open to lots of improvement. The son of Invincible Spirit met trouble in running at Newbury on his last start but would not have beaten the eventual winner regardless. While this is a slightly harder race he receives weight all round and looks the one that they all have to beat.
One that I like at an each way price in this is Gabrial who finally looks on a mark that he can be competitive off of. For the last few seasons the gelding has mainly raced in pattern company, but did win a handicap off an eight pound higher mark in Meydan in January. While the ground is a bit of a concern, he has acted on it in the past.
Of the remainder top weight Educate has place claims as does Sudden Wonder.
First Flight (WIN)
For our fourth race we head back to Newmarket for some Listed action over ten furlongs.
There are plenty of unexposed three year old’s in the lineup and one of them heads in the betting in the shape of Provenance. The son of Galileo has won three of his five starts and was only narrowly beaten in the other two. Last time out was his first step in to pattern company where he finished third and was a beaten favourite. I think that this race may be slightly tougher and he does not offer much value at his current odds.
The one that I like at an each way price in this is the Ed Vaughan trained Vanity Rules. While one sole win at Wolverhampton in a maiden is not exactly pattern winning form, I really liked his run last time out. The filly traveled really smoothly through the race and you were left with the impression that she is more suited to ten furlongs. While she may not be open to as much improvement as some of the three year old’s, she will aim to make it the fourth victory in a row for four year old’s in this race.
There are plenty more that you can give a chance to in this but the one that appeals most is Albasharah.
Vanity Rules (E/W)
Back to York for a Listed sprint over six furlongs and what looks a very tricky race.
I think that very little separates the front four in the betting here but the one that appeals most is Bonds Girl. I thought that Mattmu brought the strongest form in to the race but had a tough race last week. Mattmu was comfortably held by Bonds Girl on his penultimate start at Doncaster so that form looks to put her in the driving seat here. Bonds Girl also gets the filly allowance here and aims to continue the sequence of colt, filly colt, filly,colt from the last five seasons.
Kevin Ryan’s Teruntum Star heads the betting here and took a major step forward last time out. While it was a big step forward for the colt, I don’t think the form is as strong as Bonds Girl.
The only other runner you could recommend strongly is Marco Botti’s Fanciful Angel. The colt brings the highest official mark in to the race but I think it may be slightly flattering.
Bonds Girl (WIN)
Back we go to Newmarket for a handicap run over twelve furlongs.
Rewaaya from the John Gosden yard heads the betting here and comes here on the back of two fairly bloodless victories. However this looks a much tougher event that the last race that he contested and I think a few more in this look better treated.
Top Tug is the one that catches the eye in this as I think his win last time out can be improved on here. The fact that there was a seven length break back to the third that day would leave you thinking a mark of 94 looks lenient. The son of Halling also has one really good piece of two year form where he beat the now 116 rated Toast of New York in a maiden. He could potentially be the best treated runner in this.
One that I fancy at a bigger price in this is Ed Vaughan’s Adventure Seeker. While the run last time out was poor, I think his penultimate start reads much better. The winner of that race was narrowly denied at Group Two level on Arc day and Adventure Seeker had to concede a few pounds to him, only going down by half a length. This is a two furlong shorter trip but this stiff finish could make this a perfect trip for him.
Top Tug (E/W)
Adventure Seeker (E/W)
For our penultimate televised race we head back to York for a six furlong handicap.
The Micheal Easterby trained Aetna heads the betting here but offers very little in the way of value. The bay filly won a handicap over course and distance two starts back and gets similar ground here. If in the same form she is sure to go close but I would rather back something with a bit of each way value in this.
The one that appeals most here is Highland Colori who has been racing in pattern company for his last nine races. In fact the last time he ran in handicap company it was a really good victory at Ayr over Louis The Pious. The fact that Louis The Pious has a good few of these well held on more than one occasion this season reads well. At worst Andrew Balding’s charge should make the frame but certainly has enough in his locker to take this.
Of the remainder Mass Rally and Watchable have decent claims while top weight Spinatrix cannot be discounted either.
Highland Colori (E/W)
The final race of Channel Four’s televised coverage is the Cesarewitch run over a marathon trip of two miles and two furlongs.
With the last two winners of this obliging at odds of 66/1, it means that nothing can be dismissed.
I have my selections in this race narrowed down to three and if one them manages to hit the frame, it will ensure profit on the race. My main fancy in this is Ray Ward from the David Simcock yard,as this horse has always looked an out and out stayer. On the majority of his form he looks held by the handicapper but his run behind Leading Light at Ascot in 2013, could see him have a bit in hand. I am hoping that at worst he can make the frame but he certainly has enough in his locker to win this.
My second selection is a huge price in this and comes in the shape of Gabrials King. While he is a horse who has yet to win beyond fourteen furlongs, he does have placed form at sixteen furlongs and has shaped as if he would get farther. While not one to put massive faith in, I can see him running a big race here.
My final selection is the Andrew Balding trained Debdebdeb ridden by Haley Turner. While she is another who has yet to win past fourteen furlongs, she has a lot of stamina in her pedigree and I think she could improve for the step up. The hood also goes on for the first time today and this could bring about more improvement.
This is a tough competitive handicap where plenty have chances but these are three that I would be happy to back against the field.
Ray Ward (E/W)
Gabrials King (E/W)
by Ed Leahy