The Skybet Ebor at York on Saturday week promises to be one of the races of the season and there is unlikely to be more than 10lbs between top-weight Communique and the bottom weight. Twenty-two will go to post for the £1,000,000 Handicap and Mekong – 25/1 at BetVictor – looks overpriced although he did finish last in a trial over C&D on his penultimate start. He is best judged on his second at Sandown in listed company last time – a run that makes him look fairly-weighted.
Ayr have abandoned their today’s card, but they race at Catterick and Maid In Manhattan must go close in the 2m Handicap having won two of his five starts this season. He is only 3lbs higher than when runner up at Nottingham last month, but marginal preference is for Tonto’s Spirit (4.45) who has a good record over today’s C&D and the forecast soft ground is ideal. The hope is that he can make all.
Good ground is likely at Windsor and I hope to see Onassis (6.00) go one better than when runner up at Lingfield (all-weather) behind Richard Hannon’s Dark Lady who travelled like the best horse when third in the 7f Group 3 Sweet Solara Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday. Onassis is well drawn in stall two and she looks sure to run well back on turf.
Mordred (7.00) improved for the step up to 12f when fourth at Glorious Goodwood last time and that form was franked by the runner up – Sapa Inca – who scored in the Shergar Cup last time. Now that connections are aware their 3-year-old gets today’s 10f trip, and more, I would expect Sean Levey to race prominently. Caradoc looks the biggest danger.
It has been a moderate season for Hugo Palmer, but his string have been running well of late and his Debbonair (7.30) won a four-runner race at Doncaster last time and a 3lbs rise is fair. I expect him to reverse recent course form with Bug Boy at the revised terms and James Doyle takes over in the saddle.
At Wolverhampton Fantastic Flyer is 5lbs higher than when making all over C&D last time – her fourth win of the campaign. I hope Dean Ivory’s filly helps sets the race up for Dashed (6.20) who finished third at Leicester last time and makes her all-weather debut this afternoon.
I must give Engrossed (6.50) another chance given she was badly hampered at the start last time when behind Street Poet over an extended 7f last time. The selection steps up to an extended mile for the first time this evening and has a moderate draw to overcome, but I feel she is well treated at present and I hope Rob Hornby can get her into a decent position at the first bend.
Dana Forever (7.50) finished well but go too far behind from a moderate draw over 5f here last time and she looks sure to appreciate today’s sixth furlong for Tom Dascombe and Richard Kingscote.
Endless Joy has the plum draw in stall one and looks the main danger with Archie Watson’s filly having been a beaten favourite in both starts so far. She has obviously been working better at home than she has shown on the track to date and a switch to the all-weather might see her in a better light.
It might also be a Dascombe v Watson head-to-head in the next and Hot Heels (8.20) receives 7lbs from the unbeaten He’s A Laddie who made all over C&D on debut. The selection finished second at Chester last time behind a decent sort of Richard Hannon and showed promise when fourth here on debut. He gets a narrow vote to make it third time lucky.