Day 3 of the Ebor meeting and a good mix of strong handicaps and Group races.
The highlight of the day is the Group 1 5f dash for the Nunthorpe. This looks like a head to head between Lady Aurelia and Battaash. We favour Lady Aurelia, but also suspect Marsha could have a say and it may be worth just watching.
The City of York stakes (1500 BST) looks much more like a betting proposition. Daban is possibly a slightly false favourite, her third in the 1000 Guineas is eye-catching form, but she was well held in the Jersey last time, finishing behind Mubtasim, and that somewhat grounds her form.
Trainer David O’Meara has been in characteristically hot form all week, and stable jockey Danny Tudhope takes the ride on the useful Suedois. This ex-French gelding has been reaching top form this year and was arguably very unlucky at Goodwood last time.
Stablemate So Beloved was 5th in that Goodwood race and 2nd in this last year. He must have a huge chance, but Tudhope rarely ends up sat on the wrong one from this yard, and Suedois must earn the pick.
Earlier the stayers get their chance in the Lonsdale Cup (1425). The big question is whether Willie Mullins’ Thomas Hobson can convert stunning Ascot handicap form into Group class. It didn’t work at Ascot but that could have been due to the swift reappearance, but it also may be due to the step up in class and different race pacing. He may be worth taking on.
The one we prefer is Willie Haggas’s Dal Harraild. He is unexposed at staying distances having been campaigned primarily at 12f including when a reasonable 6th at Royal Ascot last time.
His only run beyond 12f came here two runs ago when he made all on softened ground over 14f to win with impressive ease. That suggested there could be a career at longer distances, and his 12f class would be far too much for these. He could just set a cute pace from the front under Pat Cosgrave and be far too good to pass up the straight.
Another stable with an enviable York record is Godolphin, and they have the joint favourites in the day’s opening 10f handicap (1355). Red Galileo may have been unfortunate at Ascot last time, but he is the more exposed of the two.
The more interesting contender is the lesser raced Godolphin contender, Game Starter. He has shown rapid improvement in three runs including when spread-eagling a field over this trip at Newmarket recently. A 10lb rise is arguably insufficient for that effort alone, but may also underestimate the rate of progress.
A prominent racing style matches well to the course, and he can kick-start a great day for jockey Pat Cosgrave.
Game Starter, (1355 York), 1pt win, 5/1 generally available
Dal Harraild, (1425 York), 1pt win, 9/2 generally available
Suedois, (1500 York), 1pt win, 7/1 generally available
Game Starter & Dal Harraild & Suedois, 3 x 0.5pt win doubles, 0.5pt win treble (approx. 263/1)
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