Horse Racing tips: Frank Hickey’s Thursday treats for day two at York

Frank's back in the ring for another swing.


York 13.45 – Noorban

The Lowther Stakes looks an interesting renewal this year and Sacred sets a pretty high bar on her second in the Queen Mary, but she hasn’t been seen since and she is short enough in the market.

I am willing to take a chance on each-way is Noorban for David O’ Meara.

Well backed on debut at Beverley, she was a little slowly away but was travelling well within herself and when asked to go win her race, she picked up in decent style to win more snugly than the winning margin suggests. While it was a Beverley maiden, the time compared favourably with the nursery on the card won by a 79 rated horse and the third has gone on to win since to frank the form.

The step up in trip to 6f could well unlock some more improvement and I’d be pretty hopeful that the rain shouldn’t inconvenience her looking at her breeding.

York 14.15 – Happy Romance

Devious Company brings very strong form to the table, with two Group 2 seconds in his last two starts but all his runs have been at 7f and I’d be slightly concerned about the drop to 6f on a sharp track like this.

He is worth taking on with Happy Romance in a race where Paddy is paying the first 5 home as her trainer Richard Hannon has won this race three times in the last four years and Happy Romance brings the next best form to the table. She was a very creditable fifth in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and then absolutely bolted up in the Super Sprint at Newbury last month. Jockey Sean Levey had mentioned that he thought she would improve for a step up in trip and if she improves, she could get a very large slice of nice prize money on offer.

York 14.45 – Ouzo

Top Rank and Sir Busker have very strong claims and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing them.

However at the prices and with Paddy paying 5 places it’s worth having something each-way on Ouzo. A decent three-year-old last season, he won three handicaps on the bounce to see his rating rise from 74 to 91. He returned this season in the same form when just collared late by Bell Rock at Newmarket off that 91 mark Ouzo was only 4/1 when a disappointing eighth in the Silver Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, but has been gelded in the interim and runs off a mark of 95 now, which is workable.

He has run really well every time he has encountered soft ground, so the forecast rain should prove no issue and will carry my money.

York Races Ebor Festival

York 15.45 – Albaflora

This doesn’t look the strongest of Listed races and I am quite keen on the chances of Albaflora here for Ralph Beckett. in a race where Paddy is paying the first 4 home.  Very much unexposed, she only made her debut at Haydock in June when justifying favouritism in beating subsequent winners Casting Vote, Matthew Flinders & Our Girl Sheila.

She shaped there like a horse that was all about stamina, so the sedate pace in the Musidora on her next start would have been against her but she still shaped really nicely to finish second, staying on strongly. The step up in trip today to 1m 4f and the prospect of a stronger pace look sure to see her improve.

The softer the ground gets could also be a positive for her, as her half-sisters Alyssa & Alea Iacta won the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes and a French Group 3 respectively on soft ground.

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