The York Ebor meeting rolls into Day Three with the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at 3.35 the feature event.
For the past two seasons this has been one of the targets for the somewhat enigmatic Battaash and here he is again. Seemingly unbeatable anywhere else, there is no love affair with the Knavesmire, as he has finished a well beaten 4th on both attempts, which leads us, at 9-4, to employ the Spanish Archer.
Favourite for the race is the impressive July Cup winner Ten Sovereigns, who will be trying the minimum trip for the very first time. Aiden O’Brien has ‘previous’ with this tactic, having landed the same two races with first Stravinsky and then Mozart and we think he will do it again today. At 13-8 this is a good win bet to ensure the prize money stays with the sponsors.
A more potent threat may come from the horse which was touched off by an agonising nose last year and has been laid out to put the record straight this year. Mabs Cross is the beastie in question and we recommend a saver here at 5-1.
Action starts at 1.55 with the Sky Bet Handicap over 12 furlongs and this features the headline horse in the shape of Mandarin. A winner of two handicaps on the bounce before pitching up in the Shergar Cup Stayers, Ian Williams‘s 5-y-o was given a rubbish ride by Filip Minarik (no, me neither), staying on all too late to grab a close third on the line.
Ridden by P J McDonald this afternoon, Mandarin can continue its upward curve and storm home at 7-1.
Winner of the Ascot race was our selection Indianapolis, which, for once, suffered no ill luck in running and finally showed what it could do. Just 3lbs higher this afternoon, we’ll have a bit of this as well, at 11-1.
The Wetherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes at 2.25 will witness Stradivarius attempt to pouch the million squid bonus for the second year running, when he crosses swords with Dee Ex Bee for the 29th time (well, not quite).
Braveheart‘s horse must be sick of the sight of Strad‘s backside but even with a 3lb pull for just a neck, he’s likely to get another view today.
At 4-9 the fav, we’ll sit this one out.
The Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes (snappy, eh?) at 3.00 has a field of 13, but if ratings and form mean anything(?) 12 of ’em may as well stay at home and leave this race to Threat.
Close seconds in the Coventry and the Richmond (both Group 2) are far and away the stand out pieces of form and, at 7-4, Richard Hannon‘s horse rates a reasonable bash.
One opponent which might out-run his odds is the Karl Burke trained Dubai Station, whose third behind Earthlight looks a whole lot better after that horse won the Group 1 Prix Morny last weekend. At 12-1, we’ll venture an each way bet.
Back tomorrow for the eponymous main event.
Ten Sovereigns 3.35 York 4pts win @ 13-8
Mabs Cross 3.35 York 1pt win @ 5-1
Mandarin 1.55 York 2pts e/w @ 7-1 (6 places SkyBet / WilliamHill / PaddyPower)
Indianapolis 1.55 York 1pt e/w @ 11-1 (6 places SkyBet / WilliamHill / PaddyPower)
Threat 3.00 York 6pts win @ 7-4
Dubai Station 3.00 York 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (4 places)