Race Time: 3.25pm Meeting: York Day: Saturday 10th October
Distance: 6f Full Race Name: Coral Sprint Trophy (Handicap) Class Two
Not a great race for favourites or three year olds with just the two of each in the last nine years, and only trainer Richard Fahey and Michael Dods able to double up in that period. The Dods yard are unrepresented in 2015, leading us to George Bowen (7/1) who heads the antepost betting for the yard, and has decent enough recent form, even if he has risen in the weights for his sins. Although a three year old, his stable have a habit of bucking the trends this season, especially in the sprints, and the son of in vogue sire Dark Angel looks to follow that pattern. Since dropping back to sprint trips after an abortive campaign at seven furlongs he has been a handicap revelation with wins at Newmarket (rated 85), The Curragh (91), and most recently a rallying head second to stable mate Tatlisu in the Ayr Silver Cup (95), which has seen him put up to a new career high of 100. If he gets a good draw he may well be on the scene, but we have to say he may well be weighted out of it, and with the poor record of favourites and his age group we can afford to let him run without the added weight of our money today.
Being at York we can be assured that the Easterby family would love nothing more than another winner and in course and distance winner Aetna (14/1), Mick Easterby will hope to pull off a bit of a surprise. The five year old appears better with a bit of cut in the ground which is pretty likely looking out of the window, and has won off of marks up to 99 so isn’t totally out of his comfort range off of 102 this afternoon. His 92 day absence may be though injury, but may equally be to freshen him up for a crack at this race so we will be carefully watching the betting as when the stable’s horses have a good chance, they rarely run unbacked.
Irish raider Bubbly Bellini (20/1) seems attractively weighted off a mark of 96 having already won at Cork off of 100 and Tipperary off of 97 earlier this season. It is pretty rare for the handicapper to loosen his grip quite that quickly to be honest, but the fact is he is well in her at his best, and if the betting suggests he is fancied, we wouldn’t argue with anyone who decided to follow the money.
Looking for horses at the top of their game to round things off with, and Go Far (14/1) did at least win last time out at Ayr when given a beautiful ride by Martin Harley who brought him to the front at exactly the right moment. Jim Crowley is tasked with doing the same this afternoon off a mark a full seven pounds higher, but this is a smaller field and possibly even a slightly easier to win race and we can expect him to go close if he gets a clear run, which he will most certainly need.
With so few recent winners to call upon, we will end for now with top weight Poyle Vinnie (14/1), who is, after all, the best horse in the race even if he is weighted accordingly. Trained my Michael Appleby, the five year old has won a single Hamilton handicap this season but has run well without success since at Ayr last tie out when caught late on by the unbeaten Fahey trained Don’t Touch in the Ayr Gold Cup, and history may well prove that trying to give the three year old four pounds was close to impossible. He won’t find life easy carrying nine stone ten this afternoon, but has carried more weight to success in lesser races and cannot be written off here either.