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Monday's racing is very busy with six cards, but not much really grabs my attention and is an extremely good bet, so I've kept it to just the two selections:
Hyperfocus is a very good handicapper on his day and he has been in good form recently. He has been placed three times in his last six runs, as well as winning two runs ago at Haydock when digging deep and winning with a bit in hand. He is a horse who likes to get on with things from the front end, so I expect him to make the running, which should be fine for DAKOTA GOLD to track and pounce late.
Carrying 10st makes this a tough assignment for Dakota Gold, but he is the class horse in this race and he has won when carrying 10st before, so it's not out of the ordinary for him to win this. A handicap mark of 101 at the age of 8 also makes this a tough ask, but similar to Hyperfocus he is in good form this year, where he has won once and finished runner-up another time, either side of two blowouts. The fact he has had two blowouts is a concern, but I think he is worth a punt in this contest considering he has been running in much stronger handicaps.
Nothing seems to phase this horse, he handles all types of ground and can run over five or six furlongs. He can make the running or sit behind the pace, he is a really lovely horse who has been an excellent servant to the Dods stable and has racked up a wonderful partnership with Connor Beasley who continues to improve as a jockey and win more big races including the recent Stewards' Cup, which he has won two years in a row.
Though this race does seem competitive, I am going to play GLASSES UP in the place market, where you can get just over EVS to finish in the top 2. This course and distance specialist will try and make all in this race, which should be suited to him in a five-runner race, but I am slightly concerned that he is better over further. However, I still think he will run a big race and I struggle seeing him out of the top two in the finish.
Chance has to carry a big weight, even with the 5lbs taken off from Harry Burns' claim. What's The Story is getting on in years and normally runs his best races at York, even with a reduced handicap mark of 90, I think betting on him in a handicap at the Ebor meeting would be the way to go. White Willow is running in a better race and has to prove she is fit from a 71-day absence.