There aren’t too many horses that get to run in a race named in their honour and Seymour Biz believes that Micheal Dods’ horse has what it takes to win yet again, at York on Saturday. Here are his Lucky 15 selections. Find all previous UK racing previews in his weekly column: Saturday Horse Racing Tips.
The quality of racing moves up notch this week after last weekend’s offerings with a couple of great cards at York and Ascot. ITV are televising both meetings and we have some great racing on offer. At York the card starts with two tremendous handicaps followed by a fine Group 2 where couple of classy 3-year-olds will take on their elders, and Sangarius is fancied to follow up her Royal Ascot victory. At the Berkshire course this Saturday we have four televised races including a couple of top-class handicaps, but the race of the day is the King George. It will be worth the entrance fee just to see Enable never mind watching her race as John Gosden plots her course to the Arc in October. But what a line-up she has against her, the Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, the Prince Of Wales winner Crystal Ocean, Hardwicke winner Defoe and Prix Ganay winner Waldgeist. Definitely a mouth-watering contest and Enable is sure to go off a very short priced favourite so I will look to the handicaps for this week’s value races and here are my thoughts.
Starting with the 2.25 at Ascot, the Porsche Handicap. This is a race over the straight mile for three-year-olds and the winner of this needs to be a genuine improver against his same aged compatriots. Richard Hannon’s Motakhayyel showed promise as a two-year-old and has followed that up with two fine victories at three and he has shown he deserves to be top of the betting. Charlie Appleby sends Wings Of Time, another dual winner this year, into the fray. He is joint favourite but I can’t help feeling these two have had their day in the sun at Newmarket and they may not be suited by Ascot. Rectory Road won at Kempton on the all-weather in January and has not been out since so is best watched. This is a major step up in class for Sash who won at Windsor a fortnight ago and would need to improve dramatically. But I did say this is a race for improvers and the obvious one is Andrew Balding’s Flashcard. After two fair runs in top class contests at Goodwood and Newmarket in May and June he came back to HQ earlier this month and was beaten by Motakhayyel after taking a keen hold. I feel he could be a different horse at Ascot, he is getting stronger and the course should suit him to produce his best.
The major race of the day is the Moët and Chandon International Stakes at 3.00. This is a Heritage Handicap over 7 furlongs with £150,000 of prize money so it has naturally attracted all the top trainers with their best animals. At the top of the betting is Ripp Orf from David Elsworth’s yard. He was a dual course and distance winner last year, his latest run was at Newmarket where he finished sixth behind Vale Of Kent. They reoppose here along with several others from that Newmarket race but Vale Of Kent has a 3lb penalty for that win. Land Of Legends has a lightweight and won last time out, he faces several he beat that day and should confirm those placings but he is facing some big hitters here. The one of those I like is Hugo Palmer’s Arbalat who has been who has been running in Listed company and drops back to handicaps for the first time this season, he is on a good weight and can take this. But I must also mention Hey Jonesy who is another stepping back into handicap company, he could well run into a place at a nice price.
Moving north the first race on the card at York is at 2.05, the Sky Bet “Get Knotted” Handicap. This race is named in honour of Michael Dods gelding, a triple winner on the Knavesmire, and he is top of the betting. I can see no reason why he cannot rattle off his fourth victory at the Yorkshire course. Although he has not had the best of seasons this year the quality of the opposition in this race is not of the highest grade. Among them is Mark Johnson’s Love Dreams who in eleven outings this year has won only once at Beverley, and this horse seems the best of the opponents. Ivan Furtado’s Medahim is lightly raced this season and is stepping down in class but the gelding has a poor record overall. Wentworth Falls has a fair record this year being placed on a number of occasions and his trainer, Geoffrey Harker, will be pleased to see him placed once again. But it’s Get Knotted for me to win his namesake race.
At 2.40 is the Sky Bet Dash Handicap, a 6 furlongs all-aged sprint. David O’Meara’s Gulliver is the bookies choice for this contest on the back of his win here at the end of June, but he has moved up the handicap and is maybe rather high. At the top of the weights here is Hugo Palmer’s Encrypted who steps down from Listed and Group 1 races, but he has been running primarily on all-weather tracks and I cannot rate his chances on turf. Michael Dods has a strong hand with Dakota Gold and Camacho Chief, the latter of whom won last time out. But the pair of them are high enough in the handicap here and that impedes their chances. Savalas was fourth here in May but he is essentially a 5 furlong horse as his second place showed last time out. Bottom weight Tomily has won his last two for trainer, David O’Meara, but he is being asked to step up massively in class. He has been well placed previously but I feel this is beyond him. The one I like the look of has been recently slipping down the handicap and that is Richard Fahey’s Growl. He has been improving this year race by race, his latest outing over the minimum trip was unsuitable and he was awkward at the start. Fahey is very astute and could well have found the race to kick- start the 7-year-old’s career.
Lucky 15 Tips
2.25 Ascot. Flashcard
3.00 Ascot. Arbalet
2.05 York. Get Knotted
2.40 York. Growl