Without a single favourite winning in the last nine renewals perhaps this year is the year that jolly backers will get their rewards. Raced over five furlongs for juveniles this will be over in a flash, but our race preview will hopefully point you to the winner of the 4.10pm at York this afternoon.
IN SUMMARY: A top class Listed event with any number of connotations but if Wesley Ward’s ELIZABETH DARCY has been taught to settle then she will take all the beating here. She can and possibly will make all the running again today, but if she does so without over-exerting herself she may well have enough left to repel all challengers over this trip, with Bengali Boys perhaps her biggest danger.
1 SOUND AND SILENCE – Charlie Appleby’s son of Exceed And Excel has to carry a three-pound penalty here for winning the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot in June but can be forgiven his last effort when he ran far too freely to see out the sixth furlong in the July Stakes at Newmarket. Back at his best trip he could do a lot better for a stable with a 27% strike rate thanks to eight winners from their last thirty runners.
2 ABEL HANDY – Steps up in class after winning his second race on his third start in a Thirsk Novice Stakes over this trip. Declan Carroll has always had this race in mind for the son of Arcano, saying after his last win that “Abel Handy has improved with every run and the bit of juice in the ground helped him today. He may go for the Roses Stakes at York next”, though to be fair he will need to find a lot more than we have seen so far in this exalted company.
3 BENGALI BOYS – Arrives with some of the best form on offer after bursting clear to win the Newbury Super Sprint last time out despite the heavy going. Winning a twenty-three runner sprint by six lengths is a rare occurrence and he cannot be taken lightly with Paul Hanagan teaming up with Richard Fahey and as he has also won on fast going all ground seems to come alike to the son of Clodovil, though his supports would surely be happier were the stable in better form (nine winners from their last 100 runners or 9%).
4 DECLARATIONOFLOVE – Only two pounds better off with Bengali Boys for six lengths and has a bit to find if that form is taken literally. His Windsor Novice Stakes win caught the eye on quicker going so he cannot be ignored but his stable are winner free in the last two weeks and others do appeal a lot more in this field.
5 ENCRYPTED – One win from four starts for the son of Showcasing in a Kempton Novice event on the all-weather over six furlongs but last seen finishing a fifteen length ninth in the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood earlier this month. Much more needed here and looks up against it in this field, but he certainly won’t be disgraced for trainer Hugo Palmer and jockey Josephine Gordon.
6 HADDAF – Seven runs already for the James Tate trainer two-year-old who won his maiden at Newcastle on the all-weather but has been found out twice since. He ran well enough at Vichy in a Listed race when a half-length third but disappointed at Chester when last of five and this looks likely to prove another tough assignment.
7 KODITIME – Looked like a horse with a big future after winning on his debut at Doncaster over this trip at the end of April but hasn’t built on that in three races since with a ten and a half-length seventh to Havana Grey at Goodwood in the Molecomb Stakes here last time out. Held by To Wafij on that form and others do look to have much better chances.
8 TO WAFIJ – A decent sort with a win at Yarmouth first time out and two third places behind the useful Havana Grey in his last two starts at Sandown and Goodwood in decent races. Still seems to be improving for Newmarket trainer Roger Varian who has had six winners in the last two weeks and won’t be far away granted a clear run.
9 PURSUING THE DREAM – A shock winner last time out at Deauville in Listed class when getting up close home to score by a neck and perhaps surprisingly deserves her place in this line up on that run alone. Her earlier form didn’t add up to anything near as good as she was still a maiden to that point but she does seem to be improving and cannot just be ignored.
10 ANGEL FORCE – She has a course and distance win to her name from late July but that was in a Class Two Nursery and she ought to find this a lot more difficult. Last time out she finished second to John Kirkup at Thirsk in another nursery when receiving well over a stone from the winner and on that form she looks to have very little chance of success today.
11 ELIZABETH DARCY – Lightly raced after just the three starts and trained by the formidable Wesley Ward. A seven and three-quarter length win on debut at Indiana Grand in America was followed by a sixth at Royal Ascot in the Windsor Castle Stakes before being held up for the first time at Deauville when a running on second to Zonza in the Group Three Prix du Bois. That form looks good dropped back in to Listed class and she ought to be a serious challenger.
12 FALABELLE – Three races for one win so far when scoring by the minimum margin of a nose from Rumshak at Musselburgh over this trip last time out. Although the stable are going well with ten winners in the last two weeks (22%), the daughter of Choisir needs to find a lot more to get involved in the finish here.
14 LOOKS A MILLION – One win from four races in a Sandown Novice over this trip, but she has been beaten twice since in this class with a thirteen length seventh of nine at Newbury when failing to see out the sixth furlong, and a three and three-quarter length fifth of fifteen at the same track overt this five furlong trip. She seems likely to be outclassed here and ought to start at a very big price.
15 OUT OF THE FLAMES – Amazingly Richard Hannon has not won this race in the last decade and it seems unlikely that this daughter of Showcasing will change that statistic. After finishing a three-length winner at Windsor in a Novice over this trip she ran her best race yet when three lengths third to Heartache at Royal Ascot in the Queen Mary Stakes. Not disgraced when fifth to Clemmie in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket she wasn’t at her best last time when a six and a quarter length seventh at Newbury in this class, and she will need to bounce back to her peak to take a hand today.
13 Formidable Kitt.