Race Time: 1.55pm Meeting: York Distance: 1m 4f
Full Race Name: Sky Bet First Race Special Stakes (Handicap) Class Two
We can’t help but start our write up here with the intriguing pairing of Frankie Dettori with trainer Sir Michael Stoute thanks to the entry of the so far disappointing Top Tug (13/2). Now a four year old, he won his maiden at the second attempt in 2013 and added a handicap win at Newmarket off a rating of 83 but has been unsuccessful in four more races since his rating was put up in to the 90’s, but ran his best race for some time when less than three lengths behind Mount Logan in a competitive event at Glorious Goodwood, despite being eased after his run was stopped a furlong out and again inside the last, and he would surely have gone close if everything had panned out as connections wanted. Likely to start at a decent price today, he is a bit better than the bare form implies and although we are wary that he may not get home over a mile and a half, he seems sure to run a big race and is one for each way consideration regardless of his possible stamina issues. Ransom Note (25/1) won’t have any stamina concerns for Nigel Twiston-Davies and will be ridden by his son William after his highly encouraging fourth to Novancia at Newmarket. That was the eight year old’ first run on the flat since finishing fourth in a Group Three off a rating of 110 back in August 2012, and if he improves for that run (and understands the need to do things a little quicker here than over hurdles), he is certainly very attractively weighted off a mark of 90 again this afternoon – another one for the each way possibles pot.
Godolphin still have plenty of winners and some decent horses spread around the globe even if they aren’t in our opinion getting the returns their investments deserve, and in Memorial Day (8/1) they have a lightly raced four year old who seems to be improving race after race. A third in a seven furlong Wolverhampton maiden was followed by a second over a mile before the son of Cape Cross got off the mark at Haydock at the third attempt. Upped in trip to a mile and a quarter last time out for his handicap debut, he ran on well enough to score off a rating of 83 but he has been put up to89 for his next appearance and wont find life quite so easy now. That said, he is clearly a backward sort hence missing out on the whole of his two year old season and only having the one race at three so it seems sensible to think he may well improve even further, though at this stage he is just one of five Godolphin entries so who knows what their real plans are? Charlie Hills won the race last season with Glenard and he will be hoping that Xinbama (25/1) can bounce back to his best form after a below expectations effort when only eighth of ten to Missed Call under Jamie Spencer when left with way too much to do in the Shergar Cup. Prior to that lacklustre effort he had won on his seasonal return at Leicester despite looking as if the race would do him the world of good, and bigger and better things were expected by many of us in the press room but it wasn’t to be and now we need to decide which of the races was his true form, with the first effort good enough to see hi involved here – the latest run most certainly not. Lastly, David O’Meara has surprised us all by deciding to run Chancery (15/2) under a six pound penalty after the seven year old absolutely hacked up with a bit of give in the ground at Ripon over a mile and a quarter, and if he is in the same frame of mind over a quarter of a mile further here, then he will certainly take an awful lot of beating.