Race Time: 2.10pm Meeting: York Distance: 1m 2f 88 yds
Full Race Name: 888sport Stakes Class Two
You just have to love these handicaps for older horses where despite the mile and a quarter trip there will be plenty of hard luck stories if there is as big a field as we currently expect. There are no less than 20 declarations ranging from the 99 rated Tres Coronas (12/1) at the top all the way down to Field Of Fame (11/2) (86) at the bottom – so just over a stone between all of them on official ratings so this will be tight. The first named is not getting any younger at the age of eight but has won eight races in total, five of them over this sort of distance and most of them on good to soft ground which is predicted for this race. One win one second and one third from six races suggests he likes it around here, and he did show his best form for a while last time out when runner up at Chester though he is still rated far too highly in our book and need to come down a few more pounds before his chances improve of winning his first race since this time last year.
If there is an unknown quality then it has to be John Gosden’s Mahsoob (7/2), a very lightly raced son of Dansili out of a Montjeu mare who is bred to appreciate a bit of cut in the ground. After winning his maiden over a mile at Kempton he won a Class Three handicap at Newbury despite having no luck in running and was value for a lot more than the official neck margin. We cannot say he is well weighted on what he has achieved so far but has acres of room for improvement. He’s unbeaten so far but is drawn out in 18 which is tough especially for an unexposed horse and he’s up 8lb for his last win in a tougher field here.
If you are looking for a dark horse then look no further than Peter Chapple-Hyam’s Voice Of A Leader (50/1) who has had his issues but could be better than your average handicapper. A romp in a Sandown maiden in 2013 saw him sent for the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes where he was a decent enough third before he was put away for the winter. Off the track for over a year he reappeared on heavy going back at Doncaster in a handicap where he was an awful thirteen of fourteen -and we haven’t seen him again since. At home they still think he has what it takes to win more races, and at a big price he could make the frame, he’s one we couldn’t pass up at a frankly huge price.
William Haggas is a trainer you simply can’t ignore and he sends Satellite (9/1) here from a choice of dozens. At first glance his chances seem severely limited and we cannot really see why he is rated as highly as 89 but at least that is four pounds lower than when he was well beaten last time out, and catching him fresh may be the best time to see him to good effect, though he won’t be carrying our money today. Lastly, Andrew Balding has somehow got the promising and unexposed Field Of Fame (11/2) in here off a rating of 86 which looks pretty generous. Third behind Mahsoob on his return after over a year off, he meets that rival again on four pound better terms but the big question is whether he will bounce – or improve for the run in which case there would be very little between the two of them?