4.50pm York Tips & Betting Preview 23/08/2017

Competitive nursery action to close out the card on the first day of the Ebor meeting. Twenty juveniles are stretched right across the six furlong sprint course. Our expert tip and runner by runner preview for the contest are below.

IN SUMMARY: ZAP looks massively overpriced for this contest, especially as he was a course and distance winner here on his debut. His run since in the Woodcote suggests that he is on a workable mark and he looks like huge each way value. Kalagia seems to be a potential improver for handicaps – holding a decent each way chance – while Queens Sargent, despite being a maiden, is on a winnable mark judging by his performance last time out when not getting home over seven furlongs.

1 ETEFAAQ – Acquitted himself as well as could have been expected in a pair of Group 2 races since he broke his duck. Despite those runs being fair, there is little to suggest that a mark of 97 is deserved on those efforts. Has Frankie Dettori on board for Al Shaqab which indicates that he is the first string, but needs a big step forward.

2 JOHN KIRKUP – Progressing well, he won a Thirsk nursery a little cosily last time. He has previously placed over this course and distance so has had that important look at a track that is fast becoming a specialist one. Didn’t appear to quite get home that day and, in a bigger field with the potential for a stronger pace, that has to be a concern.

3 DEMONS ROCK –  Already has eight runs under his belt, arriving on the back of a hat-trick. The last two legs of that were both in handicap company, winning with plenty in hand, albeit at a considerably lower level than this. Looks like he should hold his own in this company, but he should find a couple less exposed progressing past him.

4 RED ROMAN – Scored impressively in a nursery at Glorious Goodwood despite a wider than ideal draw. He was a little wayward in the finish there, drifting across the track under pressure so the likelihood is that there is plenty more to come. That was on soft ground which he might just need to show his very best.

5 ZAP – Winner over this course and distance on his debut, his effort behind De Bruyne Horse in the Woodcote on Derby Day rates his best so far. Gelded following a poor run at Pontefract, he begins his handicap career on a decent mark given that the front pair in the Woodcote are now rated 101 and 110. Looks a big player back on a track that he clearly likes.

6 GREEN FORTUNE – Improved for the fitting of cheekpieces when able to overcome trouble at Chelmsford last time. Maureen Haggas said in the aftermath that he “is a real baby and doesn’t concentrate. He’s done quite well to win when his mind is not completely on the job“. That suggests that there is plenty more to come. He is in the right hands to improve, holding a solid chance on the form in the book.

7 TATHMEEN – Improved by a stone on his third start compared to his early runs when faced with soft ground. He ripped a Newbury contest to shreds, winning by six lengths. It would be unwise to go overboard about that win, given the lack of strength of depth in the field. He has the ability to at least make his presence felt if he is as happy on this quicker surface.

8 LUIS FERNANDEZ – Winner of three on the bounce, although Kevin Ryan fits first-time cheekpieces after the way he hung under pressure last time out. That winning habit certainly won’t do him any harm and, if the headgear has the desired effect, he is going to be a solid each way player.

9 GHAYADH – Winner on his debut, he has taken significant backwards steps the last twice. Handicapped on that initial outing, this is going to be a difficult task for him even if he can return to that debut form. Overlooked by Frankie Dettori for Al Shaqab.

10 GIFT IN TIME – Five pounds better off for a length and a half beating from Red Roman at Glorious Goodwood. This flatter track should allow him to go close to turning that form round on better ground. Has an each way chance, but has a little to find with John Kirkup on a line through Palmer.

11 SAVALAS – Didn’t have to improve on his previous form to get off the mark on his third attempt. He has a little to find with Ghayadh from the time before which suggests that there are others with far more pressing claims in this line-up. It is therefore rather surprising to see him the favourite.

12 FALMOUTH LIGHT – Winner on his debut, he has struggled twice since under a penalty. All three of those runs were over seven furlongs, shaping as if this step back in trip would suit. Typical front runner for the Mark Johnston team, it won’t be easy to get his own way out in front, but he has an outside chance.

13 AREEN FAISAL – Appreciated the switch to handicaps when off the mark at the fourth attempt. That was his first run at this six furlong trip and he should appreciate this bigger field given that he was keen in the early stages there. Needs more to follow up, however the win may have done his confidence the power of good.

14 FAITHFUL PROMISE – One of the more exposed in the line-up, this will already be her eighth race, She won on her handicap debut in a lesser contest at Catterick, running well on a step up in class last time. This is deeper still and should find others progressing past her.

15 BRANDY STATION – An impressive winner when making all the running at Pontefract, he missed the start in deeper company last time and was never able to get involved. Trying to give weight to the front pair who are both rated in the 90s was never going to be an easy task. This is slightly easier, but 79 is no easy task on handicap debut.

16 SHE BELIEVES – Twice a winner already, she was value for a little more than the winning margin on her handicap debut. That was only a 0-80 so she has to find plenty more stepped up so markedly in grade. Nevertheless, she made a good impression that day and is clearly still improving.

17 MILTON ROAD – Has four wins already to his credit, two nurseries to supplement a pair of selling successes. He has earned an attempt at this grade and will get the strong pace that he needs to run at. For all that, however, he will start a big price as this would require a massive personal best at this level.

18 KALAGIA – Made all the running when successful on her second start, she didn’t match that level on soft ground last time so the return to a sounder surface should suit. She is closely matched with both Gift In Time and John Kirkup on a line through Palmer that gives her an each way chance.

19 BRANSCOMBE – One of the more exposed runners, he has already been well seen off in a pair of handicaps. Connections fit first time blinkers in a bid to get his career back on track, yet they will have to improve him markedly if he is to play a significant role.

20 QUEENS SARGENT – Only maiden in the field, he came to win the race at Haydock last time but didn’t quite get home over seven furlongs. The drop back to six is certainly a positive and, based on that Haydock showing, his mark is one that he can exploit for all that this is a deeper contest.

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