The ground was described as good at York on Tuesday morning ahead of the opening day of the Ebor meeting on the Knavesmire with no significant rain forecast between now and the opening race of this wonderful four-day meeting.
The American bred Cloudbridge (2.15) would not the ground any worse than good to soft but the form of his debut success at Leicester last month was given a boost when the third – River Alwen – scored at Haydock earlier in the month. The selection – 6/4 from 7/4 with 10bet – looked in trouble at halfway under Ryan Moore but showed a willing attitude and was well on top at the end. William Buick takes over in the saddle this afternoon and he looks sure to give a good account in what does not look a vintage renewal of the Gp 3 Acomb Stakes.
The Gt Voltigeur Stakes which follows is a cracker and John Gosden – who knows the family so well – steps Darain up in trip to 12f for the first time. The colt is unbeaten in two starts but was a little free last time and is not guaranteed to get a mile-and-a-half although Subjectivist will ensure there is a decent gallop.
Mogul (2.45) was well on top at the end of the Gordon Stakes last time and he can continue his upward curve for Ballydoyle. Connections insisted that he would improve as the season progressed and that was certainly the case at Goodwood after a couple of underwhelming efforts at Royal Ascot and in the Derby. The selection is 2/1 across the board on Wednesday morning.
Five go to post for the feature race of the meeting and it really is a race to savour with four top class proven Group 1 performers in opposition. Ghaiyyath lowered the colours of Enable in the Eclipse and is a worthy market leader but 6/5 is too short given the quality of opposition.
Lord North was visually very impressive in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot but that did not look the deepest renewal of that Group 1 contest and he is overlooked in this company.
Kameko did us a huge favour when winning the Guineas and l feel he will relish today’s step up in trip having been all dressed up with nowhere to go in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood last time. He will have the race run to suit, but I just favour the brilliant mare Magical (3.15).
The selection – 7/2 with Boylesports – has won four of her last five starts and was going as well as anything two out in the Arc before fading to finish fifth. The only horses to have beaten the Ballydoyle mare over 10f in the last couple of seasons have been Crystal Ocean – soft/heavy ground – and Enable. On a line through the duel Arc winner she has a bit to find with Ghaiyyath but at 7/2 with Boylesports she gets the vote in a memorable renewal of this great race.
Blakeney Point was backed as if defeat was out of the question in a modest novice hurdle at Bangor last time having just his second start for Donald McCain and his first since a wind operation. He is well handicapped on his best form for Roger Charlton and is a fascinating contender.
Charlton saddles True Destiny (3.45) who was a fluent scorer over today’s C&D last summer and I have always thought there was a big race to be won with the five-year-old. The ew selection – 9/1 with William Hill who are betting five places – was not at his best at Goodwood last time in a race over 2m 4f+ in which he finished third last season but I do feel two miles is his trip. Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle.
At Stratford I hope to see Ashutor (3.05) go one better than when runner up his chase debut beaten a neck having made a significant error at the second last. Good ground is perfect, and I hope to see Harry Cobden make plenty of use of the grey around these tight turns. Atlantic Storm receives 16lbs from the selection – including Charlie Hammond’s claim – and looks the danger but I do feel Ashutor can make into a decent chaser at around the minimum trip.
No Regrets (2.10) did us a favour at Southwell last week and a 7lbs penalty is unlikely to prevent him following up if in the same mood given the ease of his success. The selection is 11/8 at William Hill.
Alan King’s recent Sandown flat winner Fibonacci is potentially very well treated reverting to hurdles but he has yet to set the world alight over timber although he did show at Newbury, on ground softer than ideal, to suggest he could make his make over timber granted a decent surface. A market move would be significant.