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York has been frustrating this week, as we've gone close on a fair few of them, unlucky not to land a winner as of yet. However, today is a new day and I do believe the selections of today also have great chances.
Similar to the first race on the opening day of York Ebor Festival, 3yo's have not won this last in the last ten years, so if you're thinking about backing Wink Of An Eye or State Of Bliss, tread carefully. That being said, they are both running off low weights, and both look to be progressive, and funnily enough they are both tied closely in their form, with Wink Of An Eye beating State Of Bliss by narrow margins at the Glorious Goodwood festival.
3yo's record in this race in the last ten years:
2020 – 9 ran (King's Caper 8/1 [5th], Zabeel Champion 11/8F [6th])
2019 – 16 ran (Persian Moon 9/1 [7th])
2018 – 18 ran (Te Akau Caliburn 12/1 [12th])
2017 – 14 ran (Londinium 6/1C [5th], Speedo Boy 13/2 [7th])
2016 – 0 3yo's
2015 – 0 3yo's
2014 – 16 ran (Satellite 9/1 [10th])
2013 – 14 ran (Winterlude 7/1 [14th/last])
2012 – 19 ran (Martin Chuzzlewit 10/1 [2nd], Willie Wag Tail 9/2F [4th], Silver Lime 11/2 [9th], Expert Fighter 16/1 [13th], Fennell Bay 16/1 [19th/last])
Total: 13 have run in this race. 2 have been placed since 2012, which was in 2012.
4yo's have a very good strike rate in this race, winning 9 of the last 10 renewals, and I think it could be suited for another 4yo, STRAWBERRY ROCK.
Even though the selection has already won once this season, and then finished 2nd the time after, and has since been raised 5lbs for both of those runs, he could still be well-treated. The runner-up at Windsor, in the race he won, won next time out. Strawberry Rock was ahead of a couple who re-oppose him today, including HMS President & Dark Jedi. His most recent 2nd finish was a career best, and I think the Godolphin horse who won, would've ran a big race in The Ebor, but it appears he has narrowly missed out, so he will be aimed at other big prizes in the near future. Strawberry Rock was put up 1lb for that run (raised to a rating of 92), and when you consider he ran to an RPR of 101 from 9st 10, that is a lenient increase in the weights. He appears to best on Good ground and good to soft, which he should get, as the ground will probably be on the slow side of good. Oisin Murphy is an eye-catching jockey booking. He's drawn in 17, which isn't a positive, but I'm hoping he's progressive enough to ignore the fact he's drawn wide, and he'll overcome it, as long as he doesn't get trapped wide.
My Second selection in this race is THRONE HALL, who is back down to 12f, which should be his ideal trip, and he is back on a mark of 98, which saw him run a big race at this track earlier in the year.
Click the video below if you want to see what Kevin Ryan has to say about Throne Hall. He doesn't say much, but he does say he believes he is his best chance of a winner at the Ebor Festival. Once you press play, it will take you straight to where he mentions the above.
York form is often a big advantage, as we've seen in many recent years, horses who come with a big chance of winning, just don't turn up, and that probably is due to the ‘York Factor'. On that day he had My Frankel, Sam Cooke & Rhythmic Intent behind him, but two of those are currently shorter in the market than he is.
This horse clearly handles the track and the drying ground should help his chances. He is drawn low, but can often be slow away. He was quite slow away when he last visited this course, but he managed to get a decent position on the rail. In big field handicaps like this, they do tend to come away from the rail when they enter the straight, so it would be very surprising to see him not get a clear run.
Even though I tipped Stradivarius up at Glorious Goodwood, where he eventually was a Non-Runner, I am attempting to get him beat today. I'd have to say that this renewal of the Lonsdale Cup is quite a pathetic showing, as I think if I owned a staying horse who was Class 1 level, I'd definitely roll the dice as I think Stradivarius could be coming to the end of his best, and could be the time to take him on, but also, I just don't trust/rate the form of Trueshan.
With that being said, I am siding with an old friend of mine, SPANISH MISSION. I have been on this horse multiple times in his career, and at one stage I thought he was going to be a beast over the middle distance trips, but that didn't quite work out, and I gave up on him. But, over the last year or so, he has been rejuvenated as a top class staying horse, and today could be the day he proves himself as the top dog. If you know anything about this horse it is that he HATES slow ground, which is why I found it ridiculous that he ran on bottomless ground on Champions Day last year. He ran how I thought he would, and it's safe to say they will not try that again, especially at the top level.
The ground he encounters today should be spot on for him. He won at this track earlier on in the season on ground which has the same going stick readings as yesterday's racing, which was 6.9 (Good).
There is a strong possibility that race turns into a bit of a sprint, as there is only five runners in the race, and none of them like to go forward (generally). The only one which it makes sense for them to make the running is, The Grand Visir. He has absolutely no chance of winning this race if he doesn't blast off like a madman and try and make all like Serpentine did in the Derby in 2020, so I fully expect him to be the front runner, and potentially go off very hard. Now, if that does happen, the ones in behind have two choices, they follow him, so it is a strongly run race, or they leave him and hope he comes back to them, which in theory means it could turn into a bit of a sprint. If it is a sprint, it is between Strad & Spanish Mission. I'm going to side with the latter, who appears to travel well through his races over shorter distances, and does record decent sectionals. Stradivarius is definitely no slouch, and is known for his electric turn of foot. However, at the age of 7, I willing to take a chance on his speed not fully being as good as it once was. Also, at the odds, I think he worth challenging, for a horse who's in good order and is in the hands of the form man, Andrew Balding.
As for Trueshan, I think it's obvious that he's best effective when the ground is soft or bottomless. I'm not quite sure on his form, as even though horses do race against him on soft ground, chances are they still don't like it, so Trueshan is flattered by the winning margins, as he is one of few who act really well on it. I refuse to believe he'll be as good on a faster surface, and I think you can take him on. If Spanish Mission doesn't win, I'd like to see Trueshan prove me wrong.
This might seem a little mental, but I'm giving CHIPOTLE a chance in the Nunthorpe, which is obviously an extremely tough ask for a 2yo, but he could be up to it.
This horse is clearly a very good 2yo, and we've not quite seen the best of him just yet. He was very impressive when winning at the Royal Ascot meeting, winning the Windsor Castle by 2.25 lengths. That was a mightily impressive performance when you consider the fact he was on the wrong side of the track, and had to wait for the gaps to appear before she could get into top gear. Being drawn on the far side was a disadvantage all week long, the horses drown near the stand's side rail were definitely on better ground, only marginally, but little things make a big difference at the top level.
Since then, he has been rather unlucky and disappointing, but there are reasons to believe you can ignore those runs, and think he'll run a solid race today. He was the one they all had to beat in the big sales race at Newbury, and he surely would've bolted up if he had a clear run through. Unfortunately, he couldn't find the gaps, was sandwiched on two different occasions, but when he was finally in the clear, he ran on well. As for the Goodwood race, it is quite apparent that he prefers a sounder surface, so the soft ground they encountered was against him that day.
The form of his Royal Ascot run has worked out well, producing a number of winners, including arguably the best 2yo performance of the season in Armor. Armor was back in 5th at Royal Ascot, but in his next run he absolutely smoked the field, and that was the best visual performance I've seen by a 2yo this year. He made a good Group 3 race look like handicappers. Other horses to note who were in behind Chipotle at Royal Ascot are Kaboo, who finished 3rd in a Class 1 race, and Flaming Rib who won the final race on the first day of the York Ebor Festival.
Being a 2yo is obviously a big task for such an inexperienced racehorse, but I applaud connections for giving it a go. For their bravery, they are somewhat rewarded with a huge weight advantage. Chipotle will run off 8st 1lbs, whereas the 3yo's will run off 9st 9lbs and the 4yo's will run off 9st 11, this means he is carrying 22 – 25lbs less than them. He is obviously no where near the finished article, but the times which he ran at Royal Ascot suggest he isn't too far behind.
When you compare the sectionals and the overall time of the races between the King's Stand Stakes (Group 1 5f) to the Windsor Castle Stakes (Class 1 Listed 5f 2yo's only), there isn't a whole lot of difference. The King's Stand was ran 0.84s quicker than the 2yo race, which is a decent amount, but they were carrying 9st 5lbs in their race, whereas the 2yos were carrying 9st 3lbs. Obviously, today Chipotle will be carring 22-25lbs less, which is a big difference to the 2lbs difference when you compare their times, surely that counters the age difference. Chipotle was staying on strongly in his race at Ascot as well, running quicker sectionals in the final 2f than the likes of Oxted, Arecibo and others who are in this race today. Granted the King's Stand was ran at an extremely strong pace, but the final sectionals give him a strong chance of staying on if this race is something similar, which it looks like it will. Also, another thing to note when comparing the sectionals and times for the two races, the King's Stand was the day before on slightly faster ground, which would've helped as well, plus they raced after from the far side, which is where Chipotle raced.
This is a tough race to dissect, but I think I might have found a nice horse who gets in this race at the foot of the weights.
KING TRITON falls in the category of well handicapped, in my opinion, as his rating of 85 looks remarkably low when you consider the fact the horse who he recently beat at Thirsk has now progressed to a mark of 97, but has ran to an RPR of 106. King Triton ran a belter from the front to beat the Shadwell horse, and though he was carrying 7lbs less, that was an ace performance, as the front two pulled well clear of the field, which was average.
It is very strange that Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum and Roger Varian have decided to sell this lad after showing more than he has done in his previous 2 runs. However, their loss is Grant Tuer's gain, and I think Grant has got a lovely recruit. Connections bought him for 100,000 GNS so must be expecting a return at some point. Grant Tuer has been one of the break through stories this season, and he has proven that he is a trainer going places in the Northern part of England, and definitely deserves some better horses. He has bought or obtained many horses from different yards this year, and he has managed to get them firing pretty much straight away. The difference with this lad is that he is already in form, so he just has to improve him, and considering I think he's already well handicapped, it should be interesting. Grant Tuer is easily having his best season to date, he's already had 37 winners this year, operating at a 25% SR. When you compare that to his previous seasons:
- 2020 – 11 Wins, 6% SR
- 2019 – 21 Wins, 17% SR
- 2018 – 8 Wins, 9% SR
- 2017 – 3 Wins, 7% SR
- 2016 – 3 Wins, 7% SR
Another interesting thing about this horse is the pedigree he has. He is by Invincible Spirit, out of an unraced Mare who is a sister to Dubawi and some other decent performers.