2.10pm York – Betfred “Supports Jack Berry House” Stakes (Handicap) Class Two – 5f
As we write we are still expecting decent ground by the time they race today, and the one we like for starters is the appropriately named Fast Track (11/1 Each Way), a son of Rail Link who defies his breeding with a blistering turn of speed when needed. He likes to race up near the pace which seems to be an advantage based on yesterdays results, and will arrive at York fully tuned up after two runs already this season where he finished second on both occasions, one at Wolverhampton and the other at Lingfield. He does handle the turf as well as the polytracks and has won at Newcastle, Thirsk, and Newmarket, and although this would need a career best effort to win he does look just the sort to take this sort of race off a fast early pace and looks outstanding each way value at the price.
Although he had multiple engagements this week Kevin Ryan allows Brando (13/2) to take his chance with the trip and going hopefully in his favour (though he won’t mind any cut either so is an ideal suggestion), though a lower draw would have been advantageous. A late maturing son of legendary sire Pivotal, he placed a few times as a juvenile without success and didn’t appear until August last year, when he seemed like a different horse. After bolting up in a Hamilton maiden he disappointed at Thirsk when only fifth but bounced back to his best with a win over six furlongs at Haydock before being put away again. Reappearing at Newmarket over this five furlongs he cruised clear for a three and a quarter length success which will have delighted those who backed him, but not connections who have seen his rating shoot up by another nine pounds which will take some shrugging off. Balancing a weight rise against the ease of a win is an inexact science, but Jamie Spencer seems pretty keen to keep the mount which in itself suggests he had something left up his sleeve, and it will be interesting to see how he gets on from his new handicap rating.
Charlie Hills has always thought a lot of Lucky Beggar (16/1) even if his form is yet to reach expectations, but he is certainly well weighted here and could run a big race with Edward Greatrex taking a very useful five pounds off his back. Admittedly he hasn’t won in close to two years, but that was off a rating of 102 and he runs off 89 this afternoon even before his jockey’s allowance, and if they can rejuvenate his interest, there is ono doubt whatsoever that he is remarkably well handicapped.
David Simcock is ticking away nicely and he has the lightly raced Doctor Sardonicus (14/1) in here as he looks to follow up his win at Chelmsford last September. That was off a rating of 86 and he does have to carry six pounds more this afternoon, but he has only had a mere ten races which is precious little for a five-year-old, and there is a slim chance he has even more to offer this season, and if he an get away smartly and take them along at his own pace, he could well prove difficult to pass in the final furlong and as he stays further, he seems unlikely to be coming back to his field whatever his rivals may expect or hope for.
Everyone seems to have a soft spot for trainer Richard Fahey these days while Sammy Jo Bell is certainly one of the top female jockeys, and the pair of them unite again this afternoon with Arctic Feeling (16/1), who won on his return after close to six months off the track with a win at Beverley off a rating of 92 – though that was on soft ground. Put up five pounds for that there is every chance he can improve that much and more for the race, in which case he has each way possibilities, and he has scored on fast ground in the past, but as a son of Camacho we are reasonably certain cut in the turf will see him at his best, and as things stand there is no guarantee he will get that today.
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