BIG SHOUTS FOR EBOR LONG-SHOTS AT 25-1 AND 20-1: The York draw enigma has Daqman spotting outsiders in the two big races over 1m 6f today, the Melrose and the Ebor, in which he rates 26.0 and 20.0 offers as ‘too big’ on Betdaq this morning.
The York draw has me going round the bend. Low numbers dominate in the Melrose (2.30) yet – round the same left-hand turn on the same course over the same distance – nine times out of 10 they get run out of it in the Ebor (3.40). I’ve got to crack the Enigma Code!
2.00 York: Eight out of 10 winners came from the low-eight stalls; 9 out of 10 had won over this very particular distance of 7f; five of the last six were dropping from Group level.
King Torus and Majestic Myles fit most of the stats and neither should have problems with the ground unless the forecasters are wrong and there is more rain.
King Torus hasn’t been seen since last October but goes well fresh and the race suits him: it’s noticeable this week that horses striking the front between one and two furlongs out have been impossible to catch on the dead ground. I would like to see Across The Rhine lead – if he can get across (pun intended) from stall 11 – and King Torus pick him up two out.
With him at the front of the market, Regal Parade is seven now, the 2009 dead-heater Dream Eater is said to be warming up for another race, and Doncaster Rover is a better horse at 6f.
That leaves Yaa Wayl, winner of the race last year and clearly aimed at it again, and Dafeef, for William Haggas, who has won this twice. Has been gelded (Dafeef not Haggas), goes well fresh and four-year-olds are ahead of the three-year-olds 6-2 in this in the last decade.
I suspect some deterioration in Yaa Wayl, who has resorted to a visor and dropped to class 4 to win so, personally, I’m dutching 7.4 Dafeef and 5.2 King Torus (though my bets are all staked to win 20 points unless otherwise stated).
2.30 York (Melrose Handicap): The Melrose draw enigma: in the last nine runnings, eight went to stalls 1-to-8, with just one winner in a double-figure box.
John Dunlop and Luca Cumani have shared four of the last six renewals but it’s Cumani who gets the draw van, and Lyric Street – stall 5 – also has a declared-hungry Fallon to get him on song (pun intended).
Lyric Street, who would have just missed the cut in the Ebor, is a typically-unexposed late-season Cumani handicapper, stepped up to 1m 6f for the first time.
So, too, Sir Michael Stoute’s Kinyras, 12lb better with Whiplash Willie on Salisbury form, but you wonder if he’ll run as well as that second time in visors. Conversely, will Halifax improve today for first–time blinkers?
One I very much like in stall 9 is Communicator, who got within three lengths of the strong St Leger contender, Census, at Royal Ascot. Hayley Turner will be riding with great confidence after her sprint stunner yesterday.
Ardlui, Henry-Candy-trained brother to a Leger runner-up, should improve for the trip, as should Masaraat and the unexposed Western Prize, but all three have double-figure stalls.
Michael Bell has already trained one royal winner this week, and Wayward Glance looks undervalued by the handicapper off 7st 13lb.
It’s a very hard betting race and I’ll have to let the draw decide for me: I’m dutching Lyric Street (10.5) and Communicator (11.0).
3.05 York (Lonsdale Cup): A tremendous decider between Blue Bajan, winner of a key race for this and third in the Goodwood Cup, Jockey Club Stakes winner Dandino, Yorkshire Cup hero Duncan, last year’s Lonsdale winner Opinion Poll, and the consistent Harris Tweed.
You would think that keen-running Harris Tweed and Dandino will be all out to get the trip, and Blue Bajan has twice been seen off by Opinion Poll.
Any vote against ‘Poll’ (pun intended) will have to be Duncan, capable of making all over 1m 6f on this course, giving weight to Blue Bajan, and leading Opinion Poll at this distance before fading in the Ascot Gold Cup.
Strictly on a line through Blue Bajan, Duncan wins it, and he’s a better price at offers of 6.0 this morning. It would be a notable Yorkshire double for Duncan and John Gosden.
3.40 York (Ebor Handicap): The Ebor draw enigma: in the last decade, 22 of the 30 horses in the frame behind the winner were drawn 1 to 12, yet the winner itself was drawn 14-22 nine times out of 10.
More significant stats: in 33 years, only two horses over the age of five have won and the scores by age are: three-year-olds 11, four 10, five 10. In all that time just three favourites have won.
No winner has carried more than 9st 4lb since 1979, but three of the last four were set between 9st and 9st 4lb, confirming the general trend to tighter handicaps (only 12lb from top to bottom here).
I can imagine Ted Spread going a strong pace, joined by Blissful Moment and Fox Hunt. Blissful Moment’s stablemate Modun, bred to be a stayer, was favourite when Fox Hunt beat Blissful Moment (9lb better off here) at Royal Ascot and his form over shorter has been boosted by Green Destiny this week.
At 20.0 on Betdaq this morning, Nehaam, Group placed in his second season, and drawn not far off the rail, needed his comeback win last time out to get into this race, and his display of speed suggests he will be among those striking for home in the straight.
Harlestone Times is far too big at 26.0, considering he was favourite for the Northumberland Plate (failed to stay) and the Goodwood trial for this (hampered).
You can’t leave out Saptapadi and Lost In The Moment, but you’ve got to if you want to have a bet: taking two or three of those at the front of the market will too much reduce your margin in such an open race, where there is bound to be massive bunching soon after the turn.
BET (to win 20pts) 4.7pts win KING TORUS and 3.1pts win DAFEEF (2.00 York)
BET 2.1pts win LYRIC STREET and 2pts win COMMUNICATOR (2.30 York)
BET 4pts win DUNCAN and 1.1pts win (stakes saver) OPINION POLL (3.05 York)
WIN-40 JACKPOT: BET 3.8pts win BLISSFUL MOMENT, 2.1pts win NEHAAM, 1.6pts win HARLESTONE TIMES (3.40 York)