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York has been frustrating for me this week. As I've said on previous days, the majority of horses which have been tipped up have ran very well, but they keep hitting the frame rather than getting their head in front. Hopefully, the final day will see a change in fortune.
I fancy a couple of horses in this race, and the first selection is big odds, but there are reasons to believe he'll outrun his odds. DIAMOND CUTTER is the first selection for the second race at York, and he is currently at odds of around 40/1 for David Menuisier, who is a shrewd trainer.
This lad has form with Moshaawer, who is much shorter in the market, and in turn that horse was in front of Valley Forge who is also a lot shorter than Diamond Cutter. This lad seems to have been plotted for a handicap route as he has never really been knocked about in his first three runs, but his run behind Moshaawer at Kempton suggested there is definitely ability with this horse. On that day he was 3lbs lighter, but today he will be 21lbs lighter, which is a big swing in the weights. I understand why the price is miles away between the two horses, but with this new trip sure to suit and the massive difference in the weights, I wouldn't be surprised if he actually turns the form around with that horse, which in my eyes gives him a good chance of running well in this race tomorrow, as I do think the Shadwell horse has a nice chance in this.
There are rumours that the rain could arrive at York, and that shouldn't pose a problem to this horse who has a pedigree which means he should handle it. Harzand, his sire, was effective on soft ground, and his progeny appear to be following in his footsteps. Also, I said previously, this step up in trip should suit based on his running style and pedigree. Running off a featherweight of 7st 11lbs, when you take Faye McManoman's 3lbs claim into consideration, which puts him in a good position if he can handle this step up in grade. David Menuisier thinks he could be a nice stayer for the future: “I thought he ran an absolute stormer first time out, after which we educated him on tight tracks, which has hopefully made him grow up quicker. For his handicap debut he is now going back to a galloping track and over a trip that should suit. He could turn into an interesting stayer but I have the obvious worry about him being so inexperienced for such a competitive handicap.” This lad was entered in two races this weekend, this race and one on sunday in the ‘Sunday Series' at Sandown, which was a decent pot of around £35k. It's interesting that David has opted for this race over the Sandown meeting. Yes this race offers more money, but this is a much harder task. Also, Sandown is his favourite track, which is why I think he thinks that he'll outrun his odds, as he could've ran in a much easier race for good prize money at a track which he does well at.
Another one I liked the look of in this race was IMPERIAL SUN, trained by John & Thady Gosden. This lad will need to improve a fair bit to win this race, but I was impressed with the way he won at Wolverhampton over a new trip. He didn't exactly beat much that day, but he won doing handstands, and appeared to be a strong stayer, which is why the extra 2f which he will encounter, looks to suit.
He is still very unexposed over the staying trips, and his pedigree suggests it should be right up his street. He is by Sea The Stars, who has produced good staying horses, but also Imperial Sun is related to the St Leger winner, Harbour Law, who was an extremely strong stayer.
If truth be told, I don't think this race is all that good. Space Blues is arguably the correct favourite, but at the prices I don't think I'll be playing him, as York appears to be favouring the horses who are sat close to the pace, and Space Blues can often be placed towards the rear. With that being said, I'm taking a punt on POGO who is remarkably quicker than what he gets credit for. He has primarily been campaigned as an 8f horse, but if you look into some of his sectionals, he is a quick horse, and he could put that to use on a speedy track, from the front.
I think his most recent run at Ascot behind Palace Pier was a fine effort, and I think the run at Leicester where he beat Mums Tiple in a Class 1 Listed race was better than the bare form. That run was his first start of the season, on the back of a 197 day break, and he won it quite snugly.
His sectionals in his Class 1 Listed win at Windsor on Good To Firm ground last year were impressive, they ran above standard that day by 0.09s and he absolutely bolted up, winning by 5.5 lengths. That day he recorded a 10.69 furlong between the 2f – 1f and then recorded a final furlong of 11.28, which are some good numbers, especially in the final stages of a race, which is over an extra furlong which he'll race over today, so in theory he will be better off.
There are doubts to whether he is better on rattling fast ground compared to anything else. The ground at York yesterday was quick ground, but if the rain does arrive, it might hinder his chances. I'd say if you're backing this lad, maybe wait before the off or at least a couple hours before the racing starts, to see what the ground is like. I'm sick of playing weather man, as the forecasts are all over the place.
Remarkably I've had a decent record in the Ebor in the last couple of years. I backed/tipped the winner in 2019 with Mustajeer, winning for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane, and then last year I had the agonising 2nd placed front runner Glencadam Glory who was 25/1. Today's selection for the big race is another Irish raider, MIRANN.
I am quite confident of a big run from Johnny Murtagh's 5yo, as he was an eye-catching runner in his race at Royal Ascot, and I think this step up in trip is what he needs to bring out the best of him. At Royal Ascot he was behind Quickthorn, but that horse relished bottomless ground, but that run was also an impressive performance by Mirann. If you watch the closing stages of that race, the way he ate the ground up to finish 4th was impressive, especially when you consider the position he was coming from, Ben Coen must've thought he was riding Frankel. Next time out he ran another nice race at Leopardstown, finishing 4th, but that was over a much shorter trip than ideal, as once again he was staying on in the dying stages. He clearly handles soft and heavy ground, and he ran a nice race lto on good ground, so he should be fine no matter the ground conditions.
I was expecting a bigger price than what he currently is, but I am still going to back him as Johnny Murtagh has done alright when bringing over his horses from Ireland this year. I am surprised that his stable jockey isn't riding this horse, and I think Adam Kirby has got a cracking spare ride in the Ebor.
A chance is taken on BALLET STEPS who looked like a smart recruit for the Kevin Ryan stable, when winning at Beverley on debut ten days ago. This is a quick turn around, and in much better company but she could be a smart filly, and I don't think they would've pitched her in this if she wasn't without a chance.
She was well backed on debut, going off at odds of 5/4F, so connections must've thought she was showing all the right signs at home. However, despite winning and despite going off at short odds, that doesn't tell the full story. She was towards the rear, and positioned on the rail, which is the place not to be at Beverley. She was cruising in behind horses, and was denied a clear run, but she was brought wide quite late in the race, but showed an eye-catching turn of foot to win on the line.
This race is obviously a much tougher assignment than that Beverley win, but Kevin Ryan must really like this filly, as he has pitched her in deep end after 10 days of winning her maiden. It's not surprising to see Danny Tudhope jump ship onto the Karl Burke runner, as she is a proven quality horse at this level, losing on the line at Newbury last week. I am a big fan of Kieran Shoemark, and he is the second retained jockey for Clipper Logistics, and if I'm honest, I think he is better than Tudhope, so it's a positive in my eyes.
There is a chance that she gets completely blown out of the water today, but I think she could spring a surprise.
The final race of the Ebor Festival is a decent sprint race for apprentice riders, which normally bodes well when you back the horse with one of the leading amateurs, hence why I like the look of BLIND BEGGAR.
Richard Fahey has decided to book the services of Joanna Mason, who has been nothing but fantastic this season. This is her first season as a fully fledged jockey, as she has decided to go full time after being a conditional/lady amateur for a number of years. She has totted up 25 winner so far this season, which equals a 12% SR. From her 206 rides, she has either won or finished 2nd/3rd in 80 of them.
Blind Beggar is a horse who has been ridden from the front in the past, and I'm hoping they keep the same tactic today, at a track which has been biased to the horses at the front of the races. He has course form, as he finished 3rd on his most latest start at this track, which is arguably one of the strongest pieces of form on offer. I think the potential key to this horse is the drop back to 5f as he shows a lot of early pace, but his final effort over 6f dwindles, so the furlong less to worry seems the correct thing to do. He has close form with Atalis Bay who heads the top of the weights, and does have the best form on offer, where he finished 2nd to yesterday's Nunthorpe winner, Winter Power. However, Blind Beggar was only beaten by 0.5 lengths, and he is now 13lbs better off with that horse, so it's hard to envisage Atalis Bay holding up that form.
12:00 Newton Abbot - Race: 1
12:10 Hamilton - Race: 1
12:20 Roscommon - Race: 1