Brendan Duke: A look ahead to the week at York and Newbury

Our racing columnist takes a glance at the upcoming races from York and Newbury...


A weekend that promised so much delivered only despair for this punter.

On Saturday morning my punting portfolio looked in rude health. Warren Buffett himself would surely have been happy with so many positive equity decisions. Unfortunately the horses don’t know what price they are. Think they’d have sensed something mind.

I told enough people about my bets. Anyway, the wagers went south and I walked out of a sunkissed Curragh with the Terry Jacks dirge ‘Seasons In The Sun’ playing in my head. A song about dying in the summer time seemed appropriate. A truly woeful ditty but like many songs of that ilk, once in mind it can be hard to shake.

Leopardstown on Sunday offered no respite. So often a sanctuary and another beautiful day weather wise filled me with optimism. Alas the south Dublin playground gave me nothing but seconds. At times like these we must channel our inner shark. Got to keep moving forward. I’ve picked myself up and dusted myself down. Hopefully York can provide some cheer and stop things descending into a summer of discontent.

Head over to for the latest betting at York

The 3-day May meeting kicks off at 2.20pm tomorrow with the Jorvik Handicap over 12 furlongs. Hamada heads the betting. This lightly raced 4-year-old is greatly respected but at the prices preference is given to Now Children. The comparisons between this horse and the favourite are hard to escape. Both failed to make the track as 3-year-olds following promising juvenile careers. Both returned this year with impressive wins on the all weather. Both represent yards in good form, Cox and Appleby respectively.

With Now Children at 7/1 and Hamada at 2/1 the bet looks obvious.

In fairness Now Children isn’t proven at the trip and is stepping out of class 4 company. Pedigree concerns about the trip are legitimate. However the horse was strongest at the line on his latest win. Also he was a touch keen early, was quite headstrong as a 2-year-old, but settled down after a couple of furlongs. It’s reasonable to expect a more measured effort as he matures and his speed should be an asset in a race with little obvious pace. The 7/1 looks too big to my eye and he rates a decent bet.

The highlight of day 1 is the Musidora Stakes at 4.05pm. Lubinka sets the standard here. She achieved a rating of 100 when finishing 6th behind Laurens in a hot renewal of the Fillies Mile at Newmarket. She was 150/1 that day. She won easily on her comeback at Lingfield and is respected but I’d be surprised if there isn’t something here that can beat her. Trying to identify the winner is tricky. Most have the potential to step forward out of maiden and novice company.

At around 7/1 Ejtyah appeals. Her maiden win at Chelmsford doesn’t look particularly strong form but she really caught my eye that day. She was quite green but once shaken up responded kindly and was a snug winner at the line. She’s by Frankel out of a mare from an Aga Khan family. Stamina should be her forte. Her trainer David Simcock won this year’s French 1000 Guineas with a similarly unexposed sort in Teppal. The fact he is willing to let this filly step up to group company on her second start is surely encouraging. A chunk of improvement is needed but at a reasonable price I’m happy to take a chance she can find it.

The Middleton Stakes on Thursday at 2.55pm looks intriguing. The favourite is Coronet. She’s very likeable and did nothing but improve last term. She faces an old foe her in Mori. Coronet beat her by a neck in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot last year. Whereas Coronet kicked on to better efforts in Group 1 races, Mori finshed her season with 2 dismal efforts. The interesting thing about Michael Stoute’s charge is that she has stayed in training.

Mori has a storied pedigree being by Frankel out of Midday. There will most likely be a red carpet outside the breeding shed when she eventually arrives. Surprisingly that won’t be this year as she instead returns to the track. The programme for older fillies may be a factor but I suspect her trainer feels there is some unfinished business. A breathing operation suggests a physical issue has been identified. At 7/2 she looks a fair price to live up to her lineage and the promise of the early stages of last season.

I haven’t got the declarations for Friday but keep an eye out for Torcedor taking up his option in the Yorkshire Cup. After his win in the Sagaro Stakes trainer Jessica Harrington suggested he would head directly to the Ascot Gold Cup. I haven’t seen any quotes to suggest plans have changed but the fact he’s still in on Friday could mean that plans are fluid. He was uber impressive that day in beating a very solid yardstick by 5 lengths.

That run suggested the improvement shown last term may not have plateaued. It’s hard to back him now given the doubts and I would be surprised if the 13/2 were available should he run. However 4/1 would be more than acceptable. Stradivarius is a tough nut but given Torcedor has had a run and is tactically versatile I’d give him a right chance of turning the favourite over.

Newbury stages some Group 1 action on Saturday. The Lockinge market is headed by Limato and Rhododendron. The former may not stay while the latter probably wants further. They are about 5/4 coupled and I’d rather take the other side. The obvious alternative is Addeybb. I’m happy to back him. He stepped up from a wildly impressive Lincoln victory to win a Group 2 at Sandown. While not as visually stunning he put some useful sorts firmly in their place. He’s a horse going places in a hurry.

Quicker ground is the obvious concern. Progeny of Pivotal often enjoy cut but they’re just good stock and plenty handle all types of ground. The dam side would be most encouraging on the ground front. Addeybb is 5/1 at the moment. It’s hard to see him shortening much between now and Saturday. My advice would be to hang on and come the day have a good bet on him.

Find the latest odds from York, Newbury and more over on

What do you think?