Day 3 of the York Ebor funfest today, with the highlight being the Group 1 Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes at 3.35.
With the retirement of the mighty Battaash, a new monarch will be crowned this afternoon and the market thinks it will be either Golden Pal from the US of A or the French raider Suesa, as these two are disputing favouritism at 11-4.
Wesley Ward has described Golden Pal as the fastest horse he has ever trained, although that statement may have been made just before the horse was sold to today’s sponsors – we couldn’t possibly comment.
Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November, the 3-y-o tuned up for this with an easy win at Saratoga last month and has the Mad Italian up top from a favourable draw, so what’s not to like?
Well, we’ve been here before with these Pegasus animals and they tend to be short runners, so we are unable to recommend a bet in the dark, as it were.
Suesa put up a spectacular performance last time out in taking the Group 2 Qatar Stakes by 3 lengths, but ground conditions will be very different this afternoon and the filly is also drawn away from the pace and, on the last two days’ evidence, on the wrong side. Again, we are forced to swerve.
Our idea of a bet in this race is to go each way on another ultra consistent 3-y-o – enter the Dragon (Symbol).
Archie Watson‘s charge took the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot before being disqualified, finished second in the July Cup and second again to Suesa at Goodwood.
Quick ground holds no fears for this admirable colt who is drawn alongside Golden Pal in Trap 2 and so will get a good lead into the race. With usual pilot Oisin on board, the 9-2 on offer looks the way to go.
Opening race is the Sky Bet Handicap at 1.50 with 15 runners standing their ground as we write.
Favourite at 11-4 is the William Haggas trained 3-y-o Wink Of An Eye which goes for a 5-timer and steps up to 12 furlongs for the first time. This horse is a difficult one for the handicapper to nail, as it just does enough, but keeps doing it and we must open our portfolio with a win bet on this one.
We also suggest an each way bet on Dark Jedi at 8-1.
This 5-y-o was Tim Easterby‘s hope for Saturday’s Ebor but didn’t get in so comes here instead. Second in this race last year and trained to the minute you can be sure, the gelding rates a fair shout.
We complete our attack on this race with a small each way poke at Scarlet Dragon from Alan King‘s yard. We are assured that its nose has been stroked, the pet goat has travelled up with it and the quirky 8-y-o will consent to run for its life. Take the 14-1 on offer.
The Lonsdale Cup Stakes at 2.25 sees the reappearance of Stradivarius, 4-4 on the track, twice the winner of this race and fav at 11-8.
However, there must be a considerable doubt that the second favourite Trueshan will get to post with Alan King planning to walk the course before racing on account of quick ground. In Trueshan‘s probable absence, Stradivarius will be long odds on so we will just leave this race alone.
The Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at 3.00 completes the coverage and the first and second in the betting for this are both penalised for previous Group 2 victories. It’s entirely possible that Lusail and Berkshire Shadow will fight out the finish but we’ll take a chance that Fearby can get the better of both.
Edward Bethell‘s star has done little wrong in four runs to date and the step up to 6f could eke out that little bit extra. At 5-1, have an e/w crack.
Back tomorrow for the eponymous event.
Dragon Symbol 3.35 York 2pts e/w @ 9-2 (4 places) with bet365 / PaddyPower / Betfair
Wink Of An Eye 1.50 York 4pts win @ 11-4
Dark Jedi 1.50 York 1.5pts e/w @ 8-1 (6 places) with Skybet
Scarlet Dragon 1.50 York 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (6 places) with Skybet
Fearby 3.00 York 2pts e/w @ 5-1 (4 places) with William Hill