Paddy Power Hambleton Handicap tips and runner-by-runner guide to Thursday’s 3.00 at York

We've got our name on the big handicap on day two of the Dante Festival.


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Brunch heads the weights for the Paddy Power Hambleton Handicap as last year’s runner-up attempts to go one better on Thursday.


Michael Dods’ charge faces 14 rivals in the 3pm at York on the second day of the Dante Festival including 2019 winner What’s The Story. You’ll find our runner-by-runner guide and tips from Paddy’s pals below.

Paddy Power Hambleton Handicap runners


Trainer: Michael Dods Jockey: Jason Hart Age: 5 Weight: 9st 12lbs Draw: 7

Likeable type who was just touched off from 3 lb lower mark in this race 12 months ago. Hard to knock his efforts in defeat this term, 4 lengths third of 7 in Newmarket listed race (9f) last month. Expected to give another good account.

Bless Him

Trainer: David Simcock Jockey: Jamie Spencer Age: 8 Weight: 9st 12lbs Draw: 14

Useful gelding who, well backed, capitalised on the drop in grade when striking fast and late at Newcastle (7f) in March. Similar form when third in conditions’ event at that venue (1m) latest but he’s never won from a mark this high.

Isla Kai

Trainer: Nigel Tinkler Jockey: Rowan Scott Age: 4 Weight: 9st 8lbs Draw: 15

Rapid improver as a 3-y-o, completing hat-trick of 1m victories prior to a smashing second in a C&D event at the Ebor Meeting final start. Solid fourth on return in Spring Cup and he’s of interest with prospect of even more to come.

What’s The Story

Trainer: Keith Dalgleish Jockey: Callum Rodriguez Age: 8 Weight: 9st 5lbs Draw: 12

Dual C&D winner back in 2019 who finished fifth in this race 12 months ago from 9 lb higher mark. However, seen only 4 times subsequently and not his best when fourth at Kempton in April.

Cruyff Turn

Trainer: Tim Easterby Jockey: David Allan Age: 5 Weight: 9st 5lbs Draw: 1

Developed into a useful handicapper last term, gaining fourth victory of campaign over C&D in August, granted the run of the race but proving determined. Better for return when midfield in Thirsk Hunt Cup and expected to give a good account.


Trainer: David O’Meara Jockey: Daniel Tudhope Age: 7 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 3

Winless last season but returned in good order from reduced mark, confirming previous promise to end losing run at Ripon (1m) 3 weeks ago. 4 lb higher in this more competitive scenario but foolish to rule him out.


Trainer: Dianne Sayer Jockey: Paul Mulrennan Age: 8 Weight: 9st 2lbs Draw: 4

Gained seventh course victory at Ayr (7.2f) in September and arrives here on the back of a career-best display when landing last month’s Thirsk Hunt Cup (1m), displaying a good turn of foot. However, even more needed from 3 lb higher mark.

La Trinidad

Trainer: Roger Fell Jockey: Tom Marquand Age: 5 Weight: 9st 1lbs Draw: 10

Improved again last term, winning back-to-back course handicaps in June/July. Far from disgraced in defeat back here next 3 starts, fourth of 20 in a class 2 C&D event final start but present mark just demands that little bit more.


Trainer: Tim Easterby Jockey: Duran Fentiman Age: 4 Weight: 8st 13lbs Draw: 6

Both victories for Charlie Hills came in small field AW events but he stepped up on return/yard debut when eighth in last month’s Thirsk Hunt Cup, keeping on having briefly met trouble. Remains relatively early days with him and he may have more to offer.

Garden Oasis

Trainer: Tim Easterby Jockey: James Sullivan Age: 7 Weight: 8st 11lbs Draw: 13

Largely thrived on a busy 2021, successful at Ayr/Ripon either side of a C&D victory in July. Shaped as if needing last month’s return at Ripon but he’ll need to step up plenty on that to feature here.

Lion Tower

Trainer: Grant Tuer Jockey: Sam James Age: 5 Weight: 8st 11lbs Draw: 2

Good advert for his shrewd yard last term, gaining fourth victory in handicaps at Musselburgh (7f) in August. Shaped up really well on return when fifth in Thirsk Hunt Cup (1m) and he’s fancied to give another good account.

Gifted Ruler

Trainer: Hugo Palmer Jockey: Cieren Fallon Age: 5 Weight: 8st 11lbs Draw: 8

Hit the crossbar in 7f handicaps at Haydock/Doncaster early on last term and returned to form when third at Newbury (7f) in October. Final start best overlooked and starts out for new yard now but sole success to date came on heavy ground.

Trais Fluors

Trainer: Mick Channon Jockey: Silvestre De Sousa Age: 8 Weight: 8st 9lbs Draw: 9

Hasn’t found winning easy in recent years but eased in weights and shaped as if in good form despite finishing tenth in last month’s Thirsk Hunt Cup, meeting trouble and finishing with running left. One to bear in mind from this mark.


Trainer: T. J. Kent Jockey: Cam Hardie Age: 4 Weight: 8st 8lbs Draw: 11

Won 3 of his 5 starts at 2 yrs back in 2020, including nurseries here and Doncaster. However, seen only 3 times since, understandably shaping as if needing first run for 7 months at Newmarket in April. This promises to reveal more.

Lightening Company

Trainer: Ben Haslam Jockey: Andrew Mullen Age: 4 Weight: 8st 7lbs Draw: 5

Progressive 4-y-o who was let down by jumping only start over hurdles but quickly back on the up to score at Redcar (1m, soft) last month, showing a good attitude. This tougher but he’s still low-mileage. Not discounted.

Paddy Power Hambleton Handicap tips

Matt Chapman: You take a chance with CRUYFF TURN as his form is not consistent. That said my hope has the perfect opportunity to bang out from stall one and make all the running under David Allan for Tim Easterby. That’s what he did last season at this track off a mark of 95 and he’s only up 2lb here.

Rory Delargy: Isla Kai is probably the right favourite and he’s still improving but the worry is he’s in stall 15, so I’ll swerve him. I like BRUNCH for Michael Dods. He’s hugely reliable and he wants a strong pace, which he’ll get. He didn’t run badly at all in the Lincoln and he stepped up again in the Sefton Stakes, finishing third behind Master Of The Seas.

I’m also going with WHATS THE STORY for Keith Dalgleish. He’s a course and distance winner and he’s got plenty of solid form. He showed a bit in the Lincoln but it didn’t go to plan. He improved on that at Kempton last time out and it was a fair enough run. He’s down to 97, which is a very competitive mark.

Timeform: A most progressive 3-y-o handicapper, ISLA KAI produced a solid comeback effort when fourth in last month’s Spring Cup at Newbury. He has plenty about him physically to think he can rate higher still this term and earns the vote to come out on top. Trais Flours doesn’t find winning easy but lurks on a handy mark so is feared, along with Hortzadar and Lightening Company.

Ruby Walsh: I’m going for a big price! SNASH ran really well in the Thirsk Hunt Cup but just seemed to lose his balance and suffered some interference as they got down past the furlong post when he was coming with his challenge. He didn’t quite fight his corner enough due to a bit of inexperience. He was drawn wide at Thirsk and always seemed to race wide but he never got the run of the race. He hasn’t got a bad draw here in 6 and could be value!

Jason Weaver: LA TRINIDAD has already got some rock-solid form in the books over this course and distance. The make-up of this race looks perfect for him to get a nice mid-division position, to be produced late in the day. His rating of 93 requires a big effort but his overall profile fresh is pretty decent. We have a major jockey upgrade with Tom Marquand taking over too.



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