*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change while some odds quoted are ante-post prices and you will lose your stake if the selection does not run.
Many of you will think that this opening race and indeed handicap of the meeting is a cruel place to start for an investment when it looks arguably an impossible big field event to solve, but find the right priced entry and we could be ready to make a betting killing nice and early to set us up for the rest of the week. Of course there are several on this speed roster that make plenty of appeal. We know top weight Mountain Peak comes here at the peak of his form, but judged by his last run at Ascot the handicapper may finally have this likeable sort in his pocket, while with the first time blinkers on, Dusky Lord looks an interesting runner off 90.
I was willing to give the fourth home at Ascot, Bond Chairman, another chance here as he probably did a bit too much too soon and if held up in midfield here I suspect he will be hard to keep out of the frame and may well be worth a saver on the selection.
But the number one selection looks an even more interesting wager at a huge price. Kevin Ryan has always thought a lot of this youngster who crucially has course form following his close up second to Lusail in last year’s Gimcrack Stakes. It’s true that he has underperformed on three outings this term, but two of those runs were above his class in the Sandy Lane Stakes and Commonwealth Cup and now that he has been dropped to a far more reasonable looking mark of 99 and with the first time cheek pieces added, he could be ready to bounce back.
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La Trinidad was going to be my original point of call for this always competitive handicap, but last year’s ninth has surprisingly not been declared for this year’s renewal. Yet it still remains a race I am massively interested in and with enhanced place terms it remains an appealing each-way event. The veteran What’s The Story finally returned to winning ways following a drought of 20 runs over a period of three years and on a track which he has fine record over and back over his best trip he is a player at a big price. At the top end of the market the likes of last year’s winner Cruyff Turn, the back to form Orbaan and the consistent Lion Tower all have solid claims. However, I wanted to be on the Godolphin charge as he has the most intriguing profile of the entry.
A slow maturing sort, he has been given plenty of time by his handler having experienced just the seven starts to date, over as far as a mile and a half with two of the last three races over 10 furlongs. However, this son of Dubawi has belied his breeding by showing that a high cruising speed is his main asset over stamina, a view cemented by his comeback run over a mile at Newmarket when he travelled like much the best horse in the contest behind Noble Dynasty. That run should have put him straight and from a good box draw he looks a hugely viable play off a rating of 96.
This looks a fabulous renewal of the Nunthorpe Stakes with connections of The Platinum Queen recognising that these weight for age terms are hugely in the favour of this lightning juvenile. The sectionals that she put up at Goodwood were truly sensational and if she repeats that kind of speed here then I would make her favourite over the unbeaten three-year-old Royal Acclaim.
I could be aiming at the wrong end of the argument here, but I am banking on that effort having taken plenty out of her and it is also worth recognising that this will be her fifth start since June 1st which is an average workload, but now requires another significant step up the form ladder. So I am prepared to oppose the two fillies and row in with last year’s runner-up. Since that run the selection has just lasted home in the Haydock Park Sprint Cup and run a fine fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Four unplaced runs since suggest that the now six-year-old is on the downgrade, but his last run in the July Cup was a cracking effort only backing out in the final 150 yards over that stiff six.
That should have put him spot on for this and if as I am convinced will happen with a heavy topped speed bias up front, they go too quickly, then I am hoping that Kevin Ryan’s charge may be able to pick up the pieces late on.
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The biggest betting event of the week looks as high class as ever with several unexposed sorts set to line up in what is sure to be a maximum field of 22. As has been well documented before a high draw is not a negative so we are not really playing with too much fire before knowing the final decs and box lay out of the field.
Duke of Edinburgh winner Candleford is surely better than his laboured effort at the Newmarket July meeting suggests and even off this much higher mark he has to be in the equation. I think we have also yet to see the best of the Jessica Harrington trained Ever Present who had a nice warm up for this event in a Listed contest where the slow pace in a small field wouldn’t have suited the son of Elusive Pimpernel. I fancy that both him, Okita Sushi and the likely favourite Earl of Tyrone could rate a deal higher in time.
But for me the unexposed stayer in the race, set to run over this trip for the very first time, could be the Ger Lyons’ trained four-year-old. Since being gelded after his third start in May, the youngster has had a lovely warm-up for this race when a never nearer fourth of eight behind Gear Up in the Group Three Ballyroan Stakes given a lovely, considerate ride by Colin Keane in the closing stages.
The only slight negative may be his effectiveness in a big field for such an inexperienced horse, but that is wiped out in my mind by his mark of just 103 which I am sure he will leave behind in time. I don’t think this has been a long term aim by his trainer, but he may just have stumbled upon the perfect race for this son of Frankel.
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
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