The World Cup is rather interfering with my racing this weekend, so expectations are not that high. Still, the hours of effort come out as follows.
York 14.25 Cl 2 Hcap 249 (104) 7f gd/fm – 14 Run
Last year – 249 (104) gd/fm – 18 ran
Viscount Barfield 11/1 4-9-0 (90) Dr 9 by 0.75l from Mutawathea 20/1 6-9-4 (99) Dr 12
Salateen 12/1 5-10-0 (104) Dr 15 was 0.85l 3rd
Above The Rest 10/1 6-9-11 (101) Dr 18 was 1.35l 4th
Get Knotted 7/1 F 5-9-8 (98) Dr 8 was 6.12l 9th
Gallipoli 16/1 4-9-0 (90) Dr 17 was 15.22l 15th
Spanish City 5-9-1 (91) Dr 2
01 Jun Cl 3 Hcap (78 d) 7f gd/fm Donc (94) 5/4 F 0.1l 1/15 off 88
In touch, headway to chase leaders well over 1f out, ridden to challenge entering final furlong, soon driven, stayed on well to lead last 50yds
Promise in 2 starts as a 2yo, and won twice a winner as a 3yo, but just the single start last season being gelded after running a modest 4th in a Cl 4 hcap at Newmarket; much better form this season bookending a promising 6th in the Victoria Cup at Ascot with wins in Cl 3 hcaps at Newcastle and Doncaster; career best lto for which he has been raised just 3lbs, but no reason he shouldn’t go close again.
Plus: class (F); going (W); distance (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto (15 days); career best lto;
Minus: course (?); up 3lbs; up in class;
Verdict: (45) lightly raced sort (11th start) and likely has more to give, a contender.
Get Knotted 6-9-5 (95) Dr 8
26 May Cl 2 Hcap (156 u) 7f gd York (108) 11/2 1.8l 3/11 off 96
Steadied start and held up in rear, headway halfway, chased leaders well over 1f out, soon ridden, kept on same pace final furlong
Won off a 1lb lower mark over C&D here on gd/sf last July and has shown decent form this season finishing runner-up on sf at Haydock on his return and after a disappointing effort in the Victoria Cup on fast ground, finished 3rd to Gilgamesh over C&D here on gd with Golden Apollo (+4) 1.5l further back in 4th; has been dropped a further 1lb today and runs off a 3lbs lower mark than when 9th last year in similar conditions, but while he has won on fast ground his best form has been shown on gd or softer.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto (21 days); down 1lb;
Verdict: (45) weighted to go close again, but may need rain to improve his chances and not perhaps the strongest contender.
Squats 6-9-5 (95) Dr 14
Showed much promise as a 2yo winning 3 of his 7 starts, but then went on a long dry spell and it was 18 starts until he again entered the winner’s enclosure over 7f on sf at Newbury last July off 95; has once more dropped to that mark but has shown little to suggest he’s ready to win again and while his latest effort at Chelmsford was better, he never threatened the winners and without Cox’s 3lbd claim will actually run off a de facto 11lb higher mark today.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (F); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto (37 days); down 2lbs;
Minus: hard to win with;
Verdict: (44) little indication that he’s ready to resume winning ways and not a strong contender.
The Feathered Nest 4-8-13 (89) Dr 10
26 May Cl 2 Hcap (180 u) 7.5f gd Chest (105) 4/1 Jt F 2.25l 3/12 off 89
Held up, ridden and headway over 1f out, stayed on inside final furlong, no impression on winner
Winner over 6f at Chelmsford as a 2yo, gained a win over 6f at Newmarket among a number of sound efforts as a 3yo; returned to win over 7f at Chester early last month and then a promising 3rd over the extended 7f there towards month end; interesting to see how she goes back on a more galloping track like York where she’s run well over 6f on a couple of occasions.
Plus: class (W); going (F); distance (W); course (F); trainer (14d); form run lto (21 days);
Verdict: (43) consistent enough sprinter who may be a strong contender back at York.
Golden Apollo 4-9-6 (96) Dr 9
26 May Cl 2 Hcap (156 u) 7f gd York (108) 11/2 3.3l 4/11 off 97
Held up in rear, headway over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, stayed on final furlong
Gelded before seeing a race course but it was not until his 6th and final outing that he shed his mdn tag as a 2yo, over 6f at Doncaster; won 3 of his 9 starts at 3yo, all over 6f on gd/sf to gd/fm; didn’t get the best of runs over 6f here on his return last month, but was finishing strongly over C&D here 10 days later when 4th to Gilgamesh, just 1.5l back of Get Knotted (-4); down 1lb, but meets GN on 3llbs better terns today and may have more to give in these conditions.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (F); course (W); trainer (14d); form run lto (21 days); down 1lb;
Minus: yet to win further than 6f;
Verdict: (40) looks as if he has more to give and a possible contender.
Off others who took part in last year’s renewal I’m not really impressed by the chances of Salateen who runs off the same mark as when 3rd a year ago, or Above The Rest who is 3lbs higher. Gallipoli, meanwhile, runs off 2lbs higher than when way down the field last year, and while he has shown improvement since I don’t see him as Fahey’s main hope. Combing through my shortlist, Squats is the first to go despite his trainer’s fine record at York – you can’t win with them all it’s said. He’s followed by Get Knotted, who I suspect is better on softer ground. Of my remaining trio I have to go with Spanish City to get the better of The Feathered Nest and Golden Apollo.
Sandown 15.15 Cl 2 Hcap 311 (98) 8f gd/fm – 11 Run
Last year – 187 (97) gd/fm – 11 ran
Greenside 13/8 F 6-9-11 (94) Dr 2 by 1.25l from Laidback Romeo 4/1 5-10-0 (97) Dr 10
Chiefofchiefs 5-9-6 (90) Dr 11
24 May Cl 3 Hcap (93 d) 8f gd Sand (96) 5/1 0.1l 1/13 off 86
Tracked leaders, smooth progress over 2f out, ridden to lead well over 1f out and struck for home, lead dwindled last 100yds, always just holding on
Showed promise on fast ground as a 2yo and won 3 of his first 5 starts as a 3yo where his only real failure came in the final of the London Mile at Kempton in September; back to form on his third outing of the year over C&D here lto in a career best, for which he’s been raised 4lbs; likely there’s more to come and he has won in this class off only a 4lbs lower mark.
Plus: class (W); going (F); distance (W); course (W); trainer (C); form run lto (23 days); career best (lto);
Minus: up 4lbs; up in class;
Verdict: (50) looks to possibly be still improving and a contender.
Via Serendipity 4-9-6 (90) Dr 9
13 Jun Cl 2 Hcap (323 d) 8f AW Chelm (104) 7/2 F 1l 2/15 off 90
Held up in touch in midfield, closed and not clearest of runs just over 2f out, headway and pushed left over 1f out, headway under pressure to press winner inside final furlong, kept on same pace final 100yds
Won his last start as a 2yo and did the same last season as a 3yo when beating Salt Whistle Bay (-4) by 1.25l over 8f at Newmarket on fast ground in November; close 3rd on his return over 7f at Chelmsford in April and then by no means disgraced when a close 5th to Ripp Orf in the Victoria Cup; improved again lto when runner-up to Seniority at Chelmsford in a career best.
Plus: class (F); going (W); distance (W); form run lto (3 days); career best lto;
Minus: course (?); trainer (C – 1/38);
Verdict: (42) conditions suit and appears to be improving, a contender.
Zwayyan 5-9-11 (95) Dr 7
20 May Cl 2 Hcap (142 d) 8.5f sf Nott (106) 5/2 2l 2/6 off 95
Prominent, raced in 3rd, pushed along 2f out, ridden into 2nd 1f out, chased winner final furlong, no impression
Formerly with Haggas under whom he won 4 times, moved to the Balding yard in mid-May; has had 2 starts since, the second showing some promise when runner-up at Nottingham on sf; did win his mdn on fast ground but his better form for Haggas was on softer than gd; nevertheless, and interesting contender as he settles into his new quarters.
Plus: class (F); going (W); distance (W); trainer (14d); form run lto (17 days);
Minus: course (?)
Verdict: (41) the fast ground makes him a contender with questions.
Salt Whistle Bay 4-9-5 (89) Dr 3
16 May Cl 4 Hcap (55 d) 8f fm Yarm (86) 5/6 F 0.05l 2/6 off 86
Steadied start, held up well in touch in rear, closed over 3f out, ridden to chase leaders 2f out, strong challenge and edged right just over 1f out, kept on to lead well inside final furlong, headed last strides
Another whose best form has come on form on the soft side of gd, which might explain why he beat Ripp Orf (0) at Yarmouth on sf at the start of May and then got beaten over 8f there on fast ground lto, career best notwithstanding; moreover, he has something to find with Via Serendipity, as he meets him on 2lbs worse terms than when beaten 1.25l at Newmarket on fast ground in November.
Plus: going (F); distance (W); trainer (14d); form run lto (31 days); career best lto;
Minus: class (?); course (?); up 3 lbs; up 2 classes;
Verdict: (36) with ability to prove in both class and going, a contender with questions.
I must have missed something here, but this is the only quartet I see with winning chances, and of these I have questions about the ground for Zwayyan and Salt Water Bay. So that leaves me going for Vis Serendipity from Chiefofchiefs with perhaps Zwayyan edging Salt Water Bay for third.
York 15.35 Cl 2 3yo-Hcap 623 (101) 6f gd/fm – 20 Run
Last year – 623 (104) gd/fm 18 ran
Golden Apollo 5/1 3-8-3 986) Dr 1 by nk from The Wagon Wheel 20/1 3-8-2 (85) Dr 2
Foxtrot Lady 3-9-0 (94) Dr 13
08 Jun Cl 3 3yo-Hcap (156 u) 6f gd/fm Carl (87) 5/3 3.75l 1/6 off 87
Close up, led going well 2f out, ridden and drifted left inside final furlong, soon clear, readily
Took her a while to get going, but she’s looked the part the last twice under today’s claimer setting a career best on each occasion; up 7lbs for her latest success, but could well be more to come.
Plus: going (W); distance (W); trainer (14d) form run lto (8 days); career best lto;
Minus: class; course (?); up 7lbs; up in class;
Verdict: (46) filly in form and a contender.
Gabrial The Saint 3-9-3 (97) Dr 4
28 May Cl 3 3yo-Hcap (125 u) 6f gd/sf Leic (92) 2/1 F 3l 1/8 off 86
Chased leaders, led over 1f out, ridden clear
Promising sprinter who has never been beaten by more than 3l and has won his last 2 starts at Chester and Leicester in authoritative fashion with career bests on each occasion; 11lbs rise for latest success makes it tougher, but could well have more to give; untried on faster than gd, but sire stats suggest no problem.
Plus: distance (W); trainer (14d); form run lto (19 days); career best lto;
Minus: class (?); going (?); course (?); up 11lbs; up in class;
Verdict: (43) unexposed sort in grand form and a contender.
Beshaayir 3-8-9 (89) Dr 18
Narrowly beaten on debut over 6f at Newbury last August and beat Foxtrot Lady (0) by 1.5l over the same C&D the following month; won a 7f novice at Wolverhampton on her return in April, but poor start upset plans in 7f listed stks at Musselburgh at the start of the month coming back from a 54-day break; from the Gr 1 entries she holds, better is expected but now she’s dropped to making hcap debut.
Plus: distance (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); recent outing (14 days); down in class;
Minus: class (?); going (?); course (?); hcap debut; high draw;
Verdict: (35) unexposed and a possible contender given trainer’s record here.
Staxton 3-9-5 (99) Dr 3
Won 2 of first 3 starts as a 2yo before going on to show form in listed class; didn’t appear to get home on his hcap debut in the Free Hcap at Newmarket in April and runs off a 2lbs lower mark today; trainer has won 3 of the last 5 renewals, so by no means ignored,
Plus: class (F+); going (W); distance (W); course (F); trainer (14d); down 2lbs; down in class;
Minus: 59-day break;
Verdict: (34) has to bounce back from Newmarket disappointment and not the strongest contender perhaps.
While I don’t normally look at 3yo before Ascot, I’m only 4 days early and this is only a 6f sprint in any case. That said, I’m rushed for a variety of reasons, not least a World Cup match in less than an hour. Of the outsiders I wouldn’t entirely write off Bengali Boys, as Woods’ claim means he’ll carry less than the stable’s major hope, Gabrial The Saint. You can make a case for a whole number here who are unexposed, and which include Beshaayir and Staxton, but I’m going with Gabrial The Saint from Foxtrot Lady with Beshaayir battling Staxton for the minor places.
Any comments on today's racing. Please don't just put in selections ... please add some reason why you think a runner will win
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