This looks more open than the betting suggests with Kew Gardens pretty short in the market. Aiden O’Brien’s son of Galileo will no doubt relish the extra two furlongs, his form is good but not spectacular. Dee Ex Bee produced a very good performance at Epsom and could challenge the favourite but both his best performances were on soft ground which he is unlikely to encounter here. Of much more interest is Rastrelli, who beat a decent performer in Global Conqueror over a mile staying on well, he has course experience and looks a bit of value @ 9/1. Albishr disappointed last time and needs to improve to be competitive, the same applying to Westerland though both will be suited by the step up in trip. Graffiti Master is another who cannot be taken lightly due to connections but needs to improve significantly.
A typical York handicap, difficult to figure out, what is significant is the lack of an front runners and this could well be end up a bit of a crawl. Numerous runners have questions to answer, not least Chelsea Lad, beaten on number of occasions when fancied the way he finished in the Cambridgeshire suggests this trip may suit but 9/2 is short for a horse who has had his problems and who has not gone on from the promise he showed last year. Big Country goes well at York over this distance and should be thereabouts though he has been on the go since February and at some point this long season may just take its toll. It may be best to side with the consistent Anythingtoday @ 6/1 who has been knocking on the door in good handicaps over this distance and came third in what looked a good race at Newbury last time. With the lack of pace Empress Ali will be able to dictate proceedings and if soft was to appear in the going description would have a major chance. Speed Company and Dark Red would have to come into calculations but their respective yards are not exactly firing in the winners at the moment which does make one err on the side of caution regards backing the pair. Finally Master Carpenter tends to pop up at big odds at York so do not be surprised if he runs another big race on the Knavesmire.
The 2017 Autumn Stakes looks an above average renewal with Dream Today likely to take them along. Mark Johnston’s son of Dream Ahead was disappointing at Doncaster last time after such an impressive debut at York and has questions to answer especially over a mile. The Solario Stakes at Sandown looked a good race, the winner Masar going onto to run a cracker in top company and Purser would have finished closer to him given a clear run. Purser then followed up with an impressive nine length victory at Lingfield and rates the one to beat @ 4/1. The two likeliest challengers look to be the very well bred pair Ghaiyyath and Zabriskie. Ghaiyyath, a half-brother to group one winner Zhukova was impressive on his second start over course and distance and represents big potential. Zabriskie, a half-brother to the top class Arc winner Bago, won what looked a good maiden on testing ground and looks overpriced @ 10/1. Wafy and Flag Honour look the pick of the rest but will have to improve plenty to challenge the main protagonists.
Shabaaby looks the real deal after an impressive seven length destruction of John Kirkup at Doncaster and Hamdan Al Maktoum has another classy sprinter on his hands. He should take all the beating and deserves to be a short price. The fairer sex is well represented here with Dance Diva, Peggy’s Angel, Pulitzer and Daddies Girl all capable of giving the favourite a race though the latter goes best with some cut in the ground. Of the boys, Staxton should fair best but is quite a way behind Shabaaby on the ratings.
The Dewhurst is shaping up into a very exciting race with three definite contenders. Expert Eye, after winning the Vintage Stakes by four and a half lengths looked to have no peers in this race until three weeks ago. The pick on the ratings and with improvement likely Expert Eye is entitled to be a short priced favourite. Only last month Emaraaty confirmed the promise of his debut with a comfortable two length win from the talented Magnificent. An expensive colt, related to Jazzi and Izzi Top, John Gosden obviously thinks highly of him and does not throw his two year olds into these top races lightly, though he needs to improve significantly to worry the favourite. On ratings Expert Eye’s nearest challenger is US Navy Flag who has finally found his stride in the last month or so culminating in a win in the Middle Park. This is a fairly quick turnaround but Aiden O’Brien will no doubt have him ready for this with the extra furlong no problem. It would be a big surprise not to see any of the aforementioned taking this and the likes of Seahenge, Cardsharp and Theobald are surely only playing for place money.
A good even pace from both high and low draws with Flying Pursuit and Nameitwhatyoulike, first and second at Ripon last time locking horns again. Both ran right up to their recent best and it will take a fair effort by both to reproduce that. Portland winner Spring Loaded comes here after a good win but will need to better that performance to win this and the usual suspects of Stake Acclaim, Upsatging, Pipers Note and Teruntum Star should all give their running. Eqitraan will be happier back on a sounder surface but needs to improve and the ground will be in the favour of Mr Lupton and Perfect Pasture who are not ruled out. Golden Apollo, not far behind Flying Pursuit and Nameitwhatyoulike at Ripon looks like running another good race @ 14/1 and is a previous course and distance winner on better ground while the veteran Hoof It could be set for a big effort after finishing well at York last time and may be a bit of value @ 20/1.
Not a race to get too excited about as far as betting goes with 50 and 66/1 winners in recent years. The Irish are mob handed with Lagostovegas looking the pick. John Constable represents Evan Williams @ 8/1 though it is interesting to note that national hunt trained winners have raced on the flat the season of their win, John Constable has not been seen on the flat since 2014! Trial winner Who Dares Wins should be considered, as should the improving London Prize, Shrewd and Euchen Glen. Dubawi Fifty has some good form but needs to improve to take a hand in this and the Rooney’s also have Frederic @ 80/1, drawn high which is a bit of a negative but the ground will suit and he ran a fair race at Goodwood in conditions he won’t have liked before a good second over hurdles at Sedgefield. Another that catches the eye is Poyle Thomas. He has had two runs this year on ground that will not have suited but when trained by Ralph Beckett was making up into a progressive stayer. Good ground will be to his liking, he stays this far and has course form with the 80/1 worth a little flutter.
Quickened Clear’s Best Bets:
Rastrelli – 1.50 Newmarket – 1pt win @ 9/1
Poyle Thomas – 3.40 Newmarket – 1pt win @ 80/1