It is the penultimate day of the Ebor Festival on Friday and as we build up to the big race on Saturday it is the Nunthorpe Stakes which is the feature race on the Knavesmire on another day of really good looking action.
That race, as with the feature races so far this week, doesn’t throw up a bet for us but the undercard is that good that there a couple from there in the competitive handicaps which are being raced up in York.
We open Day 3 with a 16 runner Heritage handicap over a mile & a half and, like so many other races on the Knavesmire this week, it looks a really competitive contest with bookies going 6/1 the field. Mahrajann, ridden by Jim Crowley, is likely to go off favourite but he is winless in 3 starts this year yet has risen in the weights. If Lord Protector isn’t inconvenienced by his very wide draw, he should go close judged off an unlucky in running 5th of 18 in the Chesterfield Cup last time out, whilst Juan De Montalban is also greatly feared but is another with a wide draw & he may also be better at Ascot.
From stall 5, I like the chances of Parachute from an Ed Walker that has been firing in the winners recently. This is his trip, with his handicap form at the distance reading 1364416 whilst at other distances it reads a more modest 3005. He is ridden by William Buick who has been on board twice before, winning once & finishing a close up 4th in the other. That’s a positive in itself & whilst he hasn’t won off a mark this high, it certainly looks within range & I’m sure there’s a bit more improvement to come. His 2 handicap wins have come off 83 & 85 (races off 89 today) but he has form in & around this market; 3rd of 17 off 88, 4/10 off 90 & a close 4/9 off 87. Last time up, he was only 6th off this mark but that was at Chester & the sharp turns did not appear to suit. He also appeared to hang left too which didn’t help his chances. He has to find a bit more to win here but he has enough positives in the book to be of serious interest here.
Back Parachute (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 9.50 Bet365 BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)
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12 go to post for the Group 2 Gimcrack over 6 furlongs for 2 year olds. The market has it between 3, all trading around 11/4, with the rest in double figures. Unbeaten Noble Style goes for Charlie Appleby & he’s looked good in winning his 2 starts so far, both in novice company. That said, he only just got the better of Mill Stream last time out & that rival could only finish 5 lengths 4th in the Group 3 Acomb earlier in the week. Royal Scotsman was beaten fair & square by Noble Style on debut but has improved a chunk since then, finishing 3rd in the Coventry before coming home in front in the Richmond. Marshman is another with a 2 from 2 perfect record & he looked one to follow when winning by 8 lengths last time out at Thirsk.
At the prices, I think Clearpoint is the one to be on. At 4 times the price of the market leaders, he too has a 2 from 2 record & I was impressed on both occasions. Admittedly, they weren’t the hottest of contests but he travelled so well in his debut win at Ayr but it was his turn of foot that impressed most. He quickened clear in a matter of strides & bounded clear before being eased near the line coming home over 3 lengths in front. He proved himself as a pacy type on his most recent start when making all to land a novice event on the all weather over the minimum trip. It’s hard to know exactly how good he’ll be but it’s interesting to me that only one horse in the field has recorded a better RPR on their first start. The yard loves a winner at York & they are yet to get off the mark for the week although Fahey’s horses have been running well. With the extra places available, he looks a great each way bet.
Back Clearpoint (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 13.00 Skybet BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)