Race Time: 1.45pm Meeting: York
Full Race Name: John Smith’s Racing Stakes (Handicap)
A cracker of a handicap to start our afternoon after a huge day yesterday and although not an easy one to solve, if we do we are assured of a decent price as we suspect the favourite will start at 5/1 or thereabouts. Birdman (12/1) just keeps on improving for whatever reason and will be looking to make it win number five for the season here, though there is every possibility that the handicapper has finally caught up with the son of Danehill Dancer with another rise in the weights of six pounds for his last victory, meaning his winning run now adds up to rises totalling 29 pounds now, possibly enough to stop an elephant let alone a thoroughbred.
Saeed B in Suroor and Godolphin will be represented here by Musaddas (7/1) who has only had the one race this season when successful at the other Newmarket track back in May that saw him go up seven pounds for a two length win over Jacob Black. That form actually looks OK to us and decent enough in the context of this race, though we do note that he was wearing a hood that day which is conspicuous by its absence for whatever reason this afternoon.
Just the one three year old winner in the last ten years is not a statistic followers of Basateen (9/1) will want to read, but on form and potential he does look as if he has chances today. Richard Hannon is responsible for the son of Teofilo who hacked up to take his maiden over seven furlongs at Doncaster last season before a perfectly respectable third to Dutch Connection in a Group Three at York. That form would most certainly give him a decent enough shout from a rating of 104 but as with other horses later in the day, his race fitness (or lack of it after 325 days off the track) part explains his price and if we do back him, we also know that is something we have no control over.
Mount Ras (20/1) has to carry top weight for trainer David O’Meara here, but there is an old racing saying that they don’t give weight to donkeys, and his rating of 103 is based on racecourse efforts and nothing else. His recent handicap in in Dubai is hard to assess but shows he is more than capable but it can take a run or two to recover after the journey to the Middle East and we will be watching today for future reference without getting financially involved.
Lastly, William Haggas is a Newmarket trainer who loves to capture prizes here, and we note that Liam Jones is at the track, primarily to ride Dream Spirit (16/1) at a guess. We can ignore the return run of the four year old at Ascot in May as he needed the race and was never at the races, but this has allegedly ben his target ever since and on his best form he may well be acceptably weighted of a rating of 92. He did win his first two races at Newmarket and looked a horse of some potential but as a late maturing sort the rest of last season may have all been a bit too much for him, though with another winter on his back it will be interesting to see if he now goes forward or drops backward in abilities?