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Soft ground and Dettori in the saddle make Top Tug the best bet at York on Friday

20 Aug | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Soft ground and Dettori in the saddle make Top Tug the best bet at York on Friday

Top Tug looks sure to go well in opening race of Day 3 of the Ebor Festival with Clever Cookie and Muthmir also offering good value later on

The opening race on Day 3 of York’s Ebor Festival looks a cracking contest and as long as the ground doesn’t dry out too much Top Tug looks sure to go well.

Sir Michael Stoute has a good record in this race with two wins in seven years and he often targets this race with a good sort.

Top Tug was very unlucky in running at Goodwood and the key to this horse seems to be a bit of cut. The only time he’s had his ground this season was at Goodwood when he should have won and this extra two furlongs certainly won’t inconvenience the horse.

York’s flat track should suit and with Frankie Dettori replacing Ted Durcan in the saddle everything looks set for a big run. Any rain before the race would only increase confidence further.

The likes of Curbyourenthusiasm and Pressure Point probably want better ground and have to prove themselves off career high marks.

Penhill has largely been disappointing this season and is often over bet whilst Memorial Day is interesting but this will be the softest ground he has encountered and he goes up in trip yet again.

The most solid rival to Top Tug could be Chancery. He bolted up in a fair race at Ripon on Tuesday and this double course winner is well in under his penalty, but he is above his highest winning mark again now and this is a hot race.

At a very big price it is also worth considering Mistiroc. The horse throws in the odd bad performance but he was closely matched with Top Tug on a run at Newmarket last year – finishing half a length in front – and they carry the same weight difference again here.

He has still had very few goes at this trip, which should be his optimum. He was very unlucky in running last time out, finishing second off this mark at York earlier in the season on unsuitably fast ground, and, if given his running, could hit the frame at nice odds.

Cookie can further enhance Knavesmire record in Lonsdale

The Lonsdale Cup looks a top-notch renewal and the exact result could depend on exactly how the ground rides.

The first three home in the Goodwood Cup (Big Orange, Quest For More and Trip To Paris) would all ideally want faster ground here and Trip To Paris once again must carry a penalty.

Mizzou, well-fancied in the Ascot Gold Cup, apparently found the ground too fast in that race and had previously been reported to not particularly like Ascot due to the short straight (despite having won there), so the easier ground and longer straight here will leave him with no excuses.

He holds Vent De Force on his seasonal debut and could yet prove a Group 1 stayer.

The most solid one though is Clever Cookie. When the ground turned soft for the King George he was punted in almost favouritism but the drop back to 12f in a race that good was too much for him. Back at York, where he has a 60% strike rate, and up at two miles he looks guaranteed to go very close.

Muthmir the safe option against hot Nunthorpe favourite

There is also Group 1 action on Friday in the Nunthorpe Stakes but the ground has once again made this a very difficult puzzle.

Hot favourite Acapulco wants fast ground but her weight allowance means she’s going to be tough to beat on anything that doesn’t resemble a bog. However she’s 2/1 on ground that isn’t ideal so it looks better to back something at a bigger price.

Mecca’s Angel hasn’t achieved as much as her price of 6/1 suggests and the recent rain means the price went  couple of days ago. It’s also unlikely to be as soft as she prefers.

Mattmu at 16/1 is interesting but has to prove himself back at 5f so it may pay to back Muthmir each-way.

He’s shown much better form to date than Mecca’s Angel and although probably ideally suited by fast ground, he’s won both his starts over 5f on ground softer than good to firm including a Group 2 win on good to soft.

An each-way bet on Muthmir at 11/2 looks the safest option here and it still produces a profit if he only places.

Second place special: Betway will refund losing bets on selected races up to £25 if your horse finishes second and is beaten by less than a length. Terms and conditions apply.