The first day of York’s three-day May meeting begins this afternoon with the feature event the Gp 2 Duke Of York Stakes over 6f. Four-year-olds have won the last three renewals of this valuable sprint and Invincible Army is BetVictor’s 9/4 favourite to build on his Doncaster listed reappearance success.
James Tate’s 4-year-old looked an improved sort in the Cammidge Stakes, but he did win first time out last season before his form tailed off in a light campaign. He has good course form having finished runner up in the Gimcrack Stakes over C&D as a juvenile, but the each way vote goes to Yafta (3.00) who ran, arguably, a career best when runner up in the Abernant at Newmarket on his reappearance.
I like horses drawn low at York on the sprint course and Jim Crowley’s mount – 9/2 at BetVictor – has the beating of Brando – who reopposes today – on his run at HQ.
Fujaira Prince (1.50) has been raised 7lbs for winning at Doncaster on his reappearance and he might still be ahead of the handicapper for Roger Varian as he steps up to 12f for the first time. A half-brother to Nichols Canyon there could easily be more improvement in this lightly-raced 4-y-old for the step up in trip. That is not lost on the market, however, and he is 5/2 market leader with BetVictor who are betting five places on the race.
Stealth Fighter ran away with a 10f handicap at Yarmouth last time and is another stepping up to a mile-and-a-half for the first time. The 4-y-old has been raised 11lbs for his Yarmouth romp, however, and that might not have been the strongest of races with Hamloul a disappointing favourite.
The race of the day is, arguably, the Gp 3 Musidora Stakes and Sparkle Roll (3.35) can follow up her impressive Sandown Novice win when she gave weight and a beating to her rivals. The selection is 5/2 at BetVictor (16/1 for the Oaks at the end of the month) for this classic trial and is just preferred to the unbeaten filly Frankellina who created such a favourable impression when scoring at Yarmouth on debut over a mile. I would be disappointed if the winner did not come from this unexposed pair.
Karnavaal shaped as if the drop back to 7f would suit when a beaten favourite at Newmarket on his reappearance over a mile. The each way vote, however, goes to The Night Watch (4.10) who was a bit keen when trying to give weight to his rivals in a Salisbury Novice event on his reappearance. Talented apprentice Cieren Fallon takes off a valuable 7lbs and at 13/2 with BetVictor I would be disappointed if he didn’t run a big race.
Ryan Moore has only ridden Past Master (5.05) once previously when making all at Salisbury last summer and he is in the plate again this afternoon for Henry Candy’s lightly-raced 6-y-old who is the each way vote at 13/2 with BetVictor who are paying five places on the Knavesmire finale.
I’m not convinced Enjoy Responsibly (2.45) has been getting home over further in recent starts and I think the return to an extended two-and-a-half miles at Newton Abbot will suit Oliver Sherwood’s chaser who has dropped to his last winning mark and goes well for 7lb conditional Harrison Beswick.
The Boola Bee (7.35) is not the biggest horse in training, but she could be called the winner from some way out when scoring at Warwick on Sunday and escapes a penalty for that conditional jockey’s event. Nigel Hawke takes his mare to Perth this evening and, if she is over those exertions, she will be very hard to beat.