LAURENS (3.00) will be marked down by many punters as a banker in the City Of York Stakes as four days of top-drawer action reaches its conclusion.
Karl Burke’s high-class filly has kept Group 1 company in her last 11 starts, so this Group 2 contest represents a welcome ease in grade. Her only run on the Knavesmire came in last year’s 1m 4f Yorkshire Cup when, not surprisingly, Laurens weakened out of contention behind Sea Of Class and Coronet. This shorter trip will see her in a different light.
RAHEEN HOUSE (3.40) has endured a frustrating run of near-misses in his career but William Haggas has given him the perfect preparation ahead of today’s Sky Bet Ebor Handicap.
With a shared £1million pot up for grabs, the race has more of a Group 3 feel than a traditional handicap, and the days of the Ebor being plotted up by a light weight are long gone. Bearing that in mind, Raheen House boasts solid credentials following two runs for the Haggas yard since leaving Brian Meehan. Both outings have come over today’s course and distance, with Raheen House just losing out in a blanket finish to Red Verdon and Gold Mount in July. The likes of winning-machine King’s Advice, Withhold and Ben Vrackie are just a trio of redoubtable opponents but Raheen House should be in the shake-up.
WISSAHICKON (1.50) is a worthy favourite to land the Group 3 Strensall Stakes. John Gosden’s colt has tasted defeat only once in his last eight starts and that came on the all-weather at Lingfield in April when no match for Matterhorn. He boasts winning course form and edges the vote over Zaaki, beaten a nose by ill-fated Beat The Bank in the Summer Mile at Ascot.
The 1m 6f Melrose Handicap is always a competitive affair and ALMANIA (2.25) should go close at an each-way price. Sir Michael Stoute’s colt looked as if he’d appreciate a longer trip when fifth to Forest Of Dean at Glorious Goodwood. First In Line represents the Gosden/Dettori dream team and the colt edged out Harrovian at Lingfield in June before thrashing Wise Ruler by six lengths at Doncaster. Aidan O’Brien’s Eminence, third to Sir Ron Priestley at Goodwood, is another with leading credentials.
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