2.55pm York Tips & Betting Preview 17/05/2017

Another wide open handicap field of 20 runners, this time up the straight 6f. Out Do is equally at home over five and six furlongs, with a pair of York wins over the minimum trip in 2015. 2016 was, however, a disappointing campaign for the David O’Meara trained gelding which saw his mark slip from a peak of 109 down to double figures. He returned to action with a smart third at Ripon in April. Even though he will need his obligatory luck in running, a big field and strong pace play perfectly to his strengths.

One place in front of Out Do at Ripon was the Roger Fell trained Muntadab. He rounded out his 2016 campaign with a brave success at Doncaster, making virtually all the running to repel a big field. Runner-up on both starts so far in 2017 (the first of which behind Wentworth Falls who has followed up since) he finds himself seven pounds higher for that Doncaster win. His prominent style of racing is often a plus at this track, but there will be others looking to take him on for the lead early on, so dominating this field will be no easy task.

As mentioned above, Wentworth Falls is already a dual winner this turf season, adding to his Doncaster win with a Redcar victory on 17th April. That saw him land a turf hat-trick for Geoff Harker who appears to have a smart horse on his hands. He is five years old now but has really come of age this season, travelling strongly in both wins, running on to win both quite comfortably. This is not the easiest track to come from behind on, but such was the impression that he made – travelling all over his opposition in both races in 2017 – that there could well be more in the tank. As Harker said after his Redcar win, “In a bigger field and a class better Wentworth Falls will travel a bit stronger, and settle a bit better”. That could be ominous for his rivals now stepped into a Class 2 event and he’s taken to continue his progression.

George Bowen is one of the most frustrating horses in training, but the talent is there to get his head in front in one of these big field sprints. He tends to get a bit behind in his races meaning that he needs plenty of luck in running, but the quicker they go in front the better it will suit him. The handicapper has been kind to him, dropping him another three pounds from a run behind both Out Do and Muntadab last time. That leaves him three pounds below his most recent winning mark. He looked like winning the Great St Wilfred consolation for a long way when tried in first time blinkers last summer. Connections reach for a hood now and it will be interesting to note if the new headgear has a positive effect given his current rating.

There was market support for Northgate Lad when he was last seen over the stiff 5f at Pontefract, something always worth noting for the Brian Ellison yard. He finished less than two lengths behind Wentworth Lad at Doncaster when plenty of use was made of him in a race that suited the hold up horses whereas the bare minimum trip was on the short side at Pontefract. He looks likely to push the pace on the far side with Muntadab so it will be interesting to see who claims the early lead.

Finally, despite trainer Stuart Williams being on the cold list, Shamshon is an interesting runner for the Newmarket handler. One of just three course winners in the line-up (scored over 5f here in May 2014) he was an eyecatcher, running on too late over the sharp 5f at Epsom last time. He won on soft ground at Ascot last season off a mark of 92 and now finds himself three pounds lower, having run well at both Sandown and Ascot again off marks in the mid 90s last summer. He needs to prove that this 6f trip suits him as well as the minimum does, but he is too well handicapped on his 2016 turf form to ignore.

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