2.25pm York – betstars.uk Home of Spin & Bet Stakes (Handicap) Class Two – 7f
An ultra-competitive looking handicap at the four-day stage but Andrew Balding has a 17% strike rate in the past two weeks and in Secret Hint (7/1 Each Way) he is another in with a realistic chance of success today. One of the older horses that his trainer does so well with, the seventh furlong could be as big an enemy as any of his rivals here with all three of his career wins over a furlong less, and nothing better than a second in seven attempts at the extra furlong. David Probert rides the five-year-old for the twelfth time today so ought to know what the son of Oasis Dream is capable of, and we suspect he needs to be produced right on the line to have any hope, so he is not a bet for the faint hearted punter!
Mick Channon is on target for his best ever season and as we have always liked Lincoln (15/2), he deserves at least a mention here. Two below par efforts at Haydock and York have sandwiched a much better third to Russian Realm at Goodwood when he was only beaten two necks at the line, and if he can repeat that (which we can’t rely on), then he would have each way chances here even off a rating of 94 which still seems just a few pounds too high.
A Saturday would rarely be complete without a televised Richard Fahey winner these days and in Withernsea (6/1) he has the last of our five against the field for now, though a bit of rain may be needed to see him at his peak. All his winning form is on turf with plenty of cut in it but there is rain forecast for York so you never know until race time, and after finishing runner up to Predominance at Haydock last time out he will be at his peak today. Whether he can win off a mark of 97 seems doubtful as he has failed on every attempt off a mark above 89 but with the skills of the Fahey team behind him you can never be too sure.
There cant be too many horses in training with a name as catchy as Lulu The Zulu (16/1), and with trainer Michael Appleby as astute with his handicappers as just about anyone we know, you write off the eight-year-old at your peril. Off the track since last July, she was perfectly entitled to need the run when only eleventh of twelve at Chester but she isn’t too badly weighted if she can repeat her best form of 2014, and she could sneak a place at a massive price, for those who like a much riskier bet than the rest of us.
To end with, Mark Johnston has his string fit and firing again and has booked William Buick to ride Enlace (25/1) and if she can recapture her 2015 form she is well in at these weights. This seven furlongs is her trip as proved with four wins (three at Goodwood), the last one in August off a rating of 94, two pounds higher than she is lumbered with today. Admittedly her recent form has been a lot worse than that and she will need to find an awful lot based on her last run, but she is capable and may have a better chance than her current odds imply.
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