Main televised action today comes from the meeting at York, with the most valuable race being the Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint Handicap at 3.35.
A mere 22 runners are due to go to post and two of them, Dazzling Dan and Moraawed have crossed swords twice before this season. The score is one each, with Dazzling Dan reversing previous form four weeks ago at Newmarket. However, Moraawed didn’t get the clearest of runs that day and has a 4lb pull today, so we are firmly on the side of Roger Varian‘s 4-y-o and recommend an each way bet at 6-1.
If there is a horse to spoil the party in this race it could be Recon Mission which ran a stormer first time up at Chester, before failing to cope with the Epsom Dash on good to firm ground. 6F on soft could be what it wants, so we recommend an each way ‘saver’ at 18-1.
The action kicks off at 1.50 with the Queen Mother’s Cup Handicap, which has a field of 13 laydees vying for a valuable prize over 12 furlongs of the Knavesmire.
We have a strong fancy here for last year’s winning combination of Michael Dods and daughter Sophie who are responsible for Billy No Mates. This 3-y-o won twice last year (one on soft) and tuned up for this with a staying on 5th over 10 furlongs at Doncaster. Looks nailed on to be suited by the extra distance and must be backed each way at 7-1.
The JCB Handicap at 2.25 is another multi-runner affair (20) but we think that Richard Fahey has this race in the bag. He saddles three and although the gallant 10-y-o Gabrial probably won’t be there at the finish, the other two may well be. Advice, therefore, is to have an each way bet on both Aljady (6-1) and Great Prospector (10-1). May they fight out the finish.
The Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup Stakes at 3.00 looks at the mercy of Mekong, but, at a fraction of odds-on, we can’t recommend a bet and so move on to the televised races at the other meetings.
The Randox Health Handicap at 3.15 is highly competitive but has thrown up a good each way punt called Baltic Baron, trained by David O’Meara. This 4-y-o has plenty of good form on the sludgy stuff from its days in France and ran a cracker on stable debut in a Class 2 handicap at Nottingham, finishing a slightly unlucky second. That was its first run since October last year and, off a pound lower mark and with The Sauce Man aboard, this looks a belting each way bet at 5-1.
Further down the weights is the horribly named Loch Ness Monster, the only 3-y-o in the race and with plenty of form that gives it a chance. At a more artisan price of 8-1 we’ll add to the mix.
Over at Chester, the cameras are also capturing the Whitley Neill Handcraft Gin Handicap at 2.40 and this mile and a half slog can go to Prefontaine, trained by Roger Varian. Has stamina to burn and a pedigree shouting soft ground, so at 4-1, this’ll do for us.
Back next week to cover some minor meeting or other in Berkshire.
Moraawed 3.35 York 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (5 places)
Recon Mission 3.35 York 0.5pts e/w @ 18-1 (5 places)
Billy No Mates 1.50 York 2pts e/w @ 7-1 (4 places)
Aljady 2.25 York 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (5 places)
Great Prospector 2.25 York 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (5 places)
Baltic Baron 3.15 Sandown 1.5pts e/w @ 5-1
Loch Ness Monster 3.15 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 8-1
Prefontaine 2.40 Chester 2pts win @ 4-1