Ilaraab has done nothing but progress this term, following up his maiden win with success at Wolverhampton, before completing the hat-trick in relatively straightforward fashion at Beverley in August. He then again improved to bring up the four-timer at Newbury last month, quickening impressively to burst to the front with a furlong left to run. He is thriving on racing and there should be more to come from him, both this year and next, and a 5 lb rise does not seem enough to stop him adding yet another victory to his CV.
Valyrian Steel overcame unfavourable circumstances to make a winning debut at Newcastle in June, his sire Frankel’s influence shining brightly as he reeled in the long-time leader, and he defied a penalty to make it two from two at Beverley last time, still not looking the finished article but never really in any danger. He undoubtedly needs to grow up and show more professionalism, but he is a useful-looking colt with scope for much better, and he is difficult to overlook in a contest like this.
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As is the norm for big sprint races, this is an ultra-competitive renewal – just 8 lb separate the 22 runners on Timeform weight-adjusted ratings. Magical Spirit tops those rating, and with the extra place on offer, he looks the best each-way play. Stepped back up to this trip in the Silver Cup at Ayr last month, Magical Spirit showed much improved form to run out an impressive all-the-way winner, the wind operation prior to his previous run perhaps revealing its effect at the second time of asking.
A positive ride from Kevin Scott, who retains the ride here, made a huge difference, Magical Spirit forcing the pace and drawing clear entering the final furlong. He stayed on strongly and had the field spread-eagled behind him as he hit the line with three and a half lengths to spare, and a 10 lb rise may not be enough to prevent a repeat.
Timeform’s three best bets at York on Saturday
Essential reading for Saturday’s racing
- Paul Jacobs’ 4 Fab Value Plays For Saturday’s UK Meetings
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- Timeform’s Punts For Every Newmarket Race On Cesarewitch Day