Frankie Dettori had big-race winners at Newmarket and Deauville (Group 1) last weekend, but it is a sign of the times that he has only had three rides at York this week ahead of the final day of their Ebor meeting. Do note he was in action at Newbury on Friday primarily to ride Frantaastic who he gave a moderate ride at Sandown earlier in the month.
Dettori rides MIGHTY ULYSSES for the Gosdens’ in the opening 1m 1f Group 3 Strensall Stakes and I expect him to take a world of beating. The colt failed to get home over 10f at Epsom on his reappearance but has shown himself to be very nearly top class over a mile – beaten less than a length in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot – and he has little to fear from second favourite Alfaila on Newmarket form last time. I will be disappointed if his stamina does not stretch the additional 177 yards of today’s contest.
Maries Diamond and/or Finest Sound should ensure a decent gallop and Dettori should be able to save ground on the market leader from stall one. The classic generation have not won the corresponding race in the last decade, but few have run in recent times although they filled the places in 2019 behind Sir Michael Stoute’s Zaaki.
Recommendation: Mighty Ulysses at 6/4 with William Hill
The Melrose is one of my favourite races of the year and Andrew Balding has saddled the winner of the corresponding race for the last couple of years with Coltrane and Valley Forge. The Kingsclere representative Soul Stopper is a must for any shortlist having improved for the step up in trip to 1m 6f when scoring at Chester last time.
I am loath to desert Caius Chorister who has done us so many favours this term, but she has never struck me as a Melrose type. Nusret broke his maiden tag at the Curragh last time and Mickey Sheehy will be leaving his challenge to the last minute, but I backed SOULCOMBE earlier in the week and he really could be a blot on the handicap for William Haggas.
The selection finished best of all when fourth at Goodwood in their valuable 12f handicap at the Glorious meeting when he was slowly away. That tardiness from the stalls is fast becoming a trait and Hollie Doyle is likely to switch her mount to the back of the field from his wide draw. He may have to pass the whole field in the home straight and he is not proven at the trip, but he is surely going to rate much higher going forward and he is unlikely to carry 8st 4lbs in any race in his career again.
Recommendation: Soulcombe at 10/3 with Betfred
Valley Forge was my long-term fancy for the race, but he must race from 8lbs out of the weights in a race that has become a limited handicap. Why?
Earl Of Tyrone has headed the antepost market for a couple of months now and he is much respected but my two against the field are Euchan Glen and ALFRED BOUCHER with the latter getting the each way vote as he bids to follow up his facile win in the 2m handicap here on the opening day.
The grey is penalised 4lbs for that effort, but he certainly would have won with an extra 4lbs on his back on Wednesday and the drop back in distance is of no concern. It is possible that he won’t be over his midweek exertions, but the Galway Festival showed again this year that horses can back up big performances in a short period of time.
Ian Williams is a trainer I have the utmost respect for, and PJ McDonald takes over in the saddle with William Buick claimed for Godolphin.
Recommendation: Alfred Boucher EW at 14/1 with William Hill 6 places
I remember Injazati being backed off the boards at Pontefract on soft ground back in the spring and I couldn’t believe the ease with which he was brushed aside. His subsequent 137-day absence suggests all was not right with Charlie Fellowes 4-y-old who is one I will be following this autumn.
Jamie Spencer takes the ride on a gelding who has won three of his seven career starts and would have been a confident choice with a bit of cut in the ground. He is one to keep on side going forward.
The each way vote, however, goes to SPIRIT DANCER who finished fourth in the John Smith’s Cup before scoring over C&D from a 4lbs lower mark last month. At the time of writing Richard Fahey has yet to strike gold at the meeting but I do feel his 5-y-old who will love the forecast fast ground has an excellent chance in the finale.
Recommendation: Spirit Dancer 7/1 EW with Boylesports 5 places
MANCINI finished runner up in the 2m handicap in the corresponding race 12 months ago and he can race from a mark 15lbs lower this afternoon – 18lbs if you include Ben Robinson’s claim. Trained by Ian Williams the 8-y-old bounced back to something like his best when third at the Galway Festival last time on ground, arguably, softer than ideal.
Conditions were described as good on the Roodeye on Friday morning which would be ideal for the veteran who can show he is no back number in the Chester finale.
Recommendation: Mancini EW at 10/1 with William Hill