Final day of the York Dante meeting today, with the main interest at 3.00 when Stradivarius sets out on his mission to scoop the £1million bonus for winning the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup Stakes and three more later in the year.
This 5-y-o achieved the feat last season, but we think he might fall at the first hurdle (if you’ll excuse mixing both metaphors and codes).
This time round, Strad-baby is saddled with a penalty as a result of previous efforts and may struggle to give weight to Charlie Appleby‘s young pretender Ispolini.
Stepping up in trip has been the making of this 4-y-o and, after mopping up a Meydan Group 3 in February, Ispolini ran the race of his young life in finishing a close second to the mighty Cross Counter in the Dubai World Cup at the end of March. This, people, is serious form and, although Godolphin don’t need an extra million, you betcha they are going to have a go at it.
With a ‘dead eight’ field, we must lash into this each way at 9-2.
The other race of interest is the Matchbook “Best Value” Exchange Handicap (their inverted commas, not ours) at 3.35, which has a manageable field of eleven.
Favourite is the Roger Varian trained UAE Prince at 15-8 and, if there ever is a horse that’s potentially miles ahead of its mark, this is it.
Trouble is, things always seem to go wrong on raceday and that was the case on all three runs last season. One day everything will fall into place and we happen to think that day might be today, so we recommend a lumpy bash.
In case we are wrong, there is a case to be made for Tough Remedy, which runs as if crying out for a longer trip and gets just that this afternoon, so we also recommend an each way play on this one at 14-1.
For reasons best known to themselves, ITV are also showing the 2.10 at Newbury, the Coolmore Stud Handicap, and we are quite glad they are, as it gives us a chance to put up Embour as the likely winner.
Richard Hannon‘s 4-y-o is just two lbs higher than when winning a Class 2 handicap at Kempton in April and showed its current market is workable by finishing a close third at Doncaster two weeks ago. More to come from this lightly raced sprinter and it should be backed each way at 13-2.
Back tomorrow, when there are more televised races than you can shake a stick at.
Ispolini 3.00 York 3pts e/w @ 9-2
UAE Prince 3.35 6pts win @ 15-8
Tough Remedy 3.35 York 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (4 places SkyBet)
Embour 2.10 Newbury 2pts e/w @ 13-2