How to have a profitable afternoon on today's action from York and Newmarket
High class, big field handicaps are the order of the day at York and Newmarket where the Channel 4 cameras will be heading. If you manage to back a winner or two you’ll surely be in profit with even the favourites likely to start at big prices in the majority of the races. Here are some pointers to make it profitable afternoon:
A competitive handicap to start the day but one i which the market looks a little lopsided. Empress Ali and Master Of Finance, winner and runner up at Chester last time, are likely to be popular but they had the run of the race from good draws and things might not be so kind here. Empress Ali had previously been beaten twice off lower marks and Master Of Finance’s overall profile doesn’t suggest he’s ahead of the handicapper. Indy will surely prove better than his rating of 95 in time having beaten the now 93 rated Penny Drops by 4 lengths on his debut but he has something to prove off the back of an absence.
Lacan flopped last time out after an absence but that was in the 22 runner Silver Cambridgeshire and on softer ground, in a smaller field, with that experience behind him, he can go well at nice odds. All three of his maiden runs suggest he’s well ahead of the handicapper off a mark of 89, particularly when he finished a short head behind Wannabe Yours who is now rated 109.
Although for older horses and over a couple of furlongs further this race has a similar feel to the last with it being very competitive for a relatively small field handicap. Unlike the last though this could easily be dominated by those at the head of the market. First Flight looks like he’s going to be hard to beat having beaten all but the very well handicapped Air Pilot last time out. He looked as though the ground was just a bit too soft last time and it won’t be as testing at York here. A 2lb rise for beating 13 other runners in a competitive handicap looks fair and there is no reason why he shouldn’t run particularly well.
Best of the race could be Magic Hurricane and Soviet Rock in that order. Magic Hurricane is still lightly raced and will appreciate the ground here having found it a bit too lively at this trip the last twice. He’s only 3lbs higher than when finishing a close third in the ultra competitive Old Newton Cup earlier in the season.
Teruntum Star could be a warm order here but lack of soft ground form is a worry and that’s particularly the case for Fanciful Angel who should also be near the head of the market. Softish ground isn’t a worry for Mattmu who ran a great race last week to chase home the clearly progressive Limato. His effort wasn’t enough to get that horse off the bridle but he beat 21 other runners and a reproduction of that effort should be enough here, with the softer ground here a reason why he might even improve on it.
This sprint might not be as competitive as it looks at first glance. Horses that have run after a break on unsuitable ground can often be worth following and that is certainly the case for 7/2 favourite Aetna. Backing a 7/2 chance in a 20 runner sprint at York might seem the quick way to the poor house but Aetna has an outstanding chance. He’s still only had 11 starts, has won 4 of them and placed in 4 others. He won on his seasonal debut and then after running flat on ground too fast over the minimum trip at Beverley he won again at Ripon, beating subsequent Wokingham Handicap winner Baccarat over course and distance. He was raised 6lbs for that and then went missing for 4 months before finishing a very unlucky 3rd at Newmarket on ground that might have been a bit lively as well. Nudged up just 1lb for that, the return to softer ground will suit and if he gives his running he should win.
The winner of this race last year, Mass Rally at 15/2, is now 1lb lower than that victory and has run well this season in both handicap runs here and he can follow the selection home.
We end the coverage with the almost impossible looking Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket. With so many runners (just the 34) you need an angle to narrow down the field and it could be the ground here. The course hasn’t had as much rainfall this week as expected and whilst many of these were declared expecting the going to be close to soft, it should actually be perfect, good racing ground. That means the horses that need this sort of trip on softish ground are likely to be outpaced and many of the market leaders seem to want it soft.
He may not have the best draw but other than that Ray Ward looks to have as good a chance as any at 14/1. He’s never won a handicap but he’s looked a different horse since being stepped up to marathon trips. He may have only finished 6th in the Ascot Stakes but he should have finished on the heels of the leaders having met trouble at the wrong time. He backed that run up with a 2nd in the Goodwood Stakes, over half a mile further than this race. He travelled up well behind Teak (won again since) but his tank just emptied a furlong out. Then he ran in the trial for this race and he found everything going against him. First of all it poured down before the race and the good to firm ground soon turned good to soft. Then the race was run at a pedestrian gallop meaning his stamina wasn’t fully brought into play and then he probably wasn’t given the best ride ever, finding trouble in a relatively small field. He looked capable of winning all 3 of those races yet has only risen 4lbs in the handicap and he has more to give as a stayer.