Chris Dixon's Notes And Angles: Patience can be key at York this week

By Chris Dixon@cdixon82
Wed 19 Aug 2020

The Racing TV analyst's latest column highlights a number of horses to follow and an interesting view on riding tactics around the Knavesmire.

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With an abundance of racing across my home county and a fantastic four days of action in my home city, this week is always a real favourite. Admittedly, in this unusual year it won’t be quite the same as the crowds and the atmosphere both at the track and in the city play their part in what makes for such a great week, but I’m still looking forward to it and I’m privileged to be there covering the action for Racing TV on the first two days of the meeting.

We’ve already had some good racing on the Knavesmire this season and the one noticeable change at the early meetings has been the switch from the usual low-draw advantage in big fields on the sprint track to those in the high draws being favoured.

We’ll see if that trend continues in the opening handicap on day one but I’m hoping it does as I’ll be throwing a few quid at Jonah Jones (stall 14) at double figure odds. Indeed, Jonah Jones is one of the horses that was unfavoured by the part of the track he raced on here last time.

That was an angle I noted in this column previously and it leads me onto something to bear in mind for the next few days. I often hear York labelled as a pace-favouring track, something which is true over shorter distances. Indeed the numbers suggest that in races from 5f-7f there’s an advantage in making the running, especially in small fields. However, once racing over the longer distances I always think York is a tough place to make all and the figures I researched when prepping for the card yesterday show that to be the case.

In the last 10 years in fields with 10 or more runners over 14f or further, some 94 horses have led or disputed the lead across 82 races. Just two of those 94 have been in front at the line while those that were described as being held up produced 40 winners.

Clearly more horses were held up than leading but the strike rate is still much higher, as is the impact value, so my advice for races such as the 2m handicap on the opening day and the Ebor on Saturday is to concentrate on those ridden with some patience.

If that angle pays off then there’s every chance next week’s column will feature some horses who have run well from the front in those races but for now here’s a quintet of horses that I suggest sticking in your tracker after promising efforts in the past week.

Mark’s Choice – Sam England

Mark’s Choice had struggled on his first few starts this season but a switch of stable appeared to have the desired effect when showing much more at Haydock Park last week. His new yard often revitalise horses they take on from elsewhere but the improvement regularly doesn’t manifest itself with a win straight away and that was the case here as he came home in fifth spot, but he impressed with the way he went through the race and is attractively handicapped so should be found a winning opportunity soon.

Glorious Charmer – Michael Herrington

Another well-handicapped horse to catch the eye in the same race as Mark’s Choice was Glorious Charmer. Returning from a break of 201 days for a yard that rarely have winners off an absence, he shaped nicely before a lack of peak fitness took its toll and a 2lb drop in the handicap for that run leaves him 6lb lower than for his last win. At his best on fast ground, he shouldn’t be long in winning granted those conditions.

Watch the Haydock race in which Mark's Choice finished fifth and Glorious Charmer seventh.

El Picador – Keith Dalgleish

El Picador won once and placed a couple of times as a juvenile hurdler upon joining his current yard from Sir Michael Stoute last year but hasn’t yet managed to get his head in front in four flat outings for his new stable. A lack of luck has played a big part in that, though, and for the second time this season he was unfortunate not to go close at Beverley when enduring a troubled passage in a messy race there last week. Clearly in good shape right now, if he remains in is current form he’ll be winning soon.

Shawaamekh – Declan Carroll

Shawaamekh didn’t manage to build on an encouraging reappearance at Redcar on his next couple of starts but I liked how he ran when faring best of the pace-setters at Chester last week. Like so many by his sire Born To Sea, he’s at his best on easy ground and will be of interest this autumn when getting those conditions off what looks a fair handicap mark at present.

Knowing – James Fanshawe

Having looked like a horse who would benefit from a step up in trip when third at Sandown, Knowing was unlucky not to go close on his first try at 12f at Newmarket on Saturday. Always travelling well in midfield, he was locked up with nowhere to go as the race developed and didn’t get out until it was too late. He did manage to run on once in the clear and was ultimately only beaten a length into third but the handicapper has left him on the same mark and he looks ready to gain a third career success.

Knowing encounters plenty of trouble before finally getting through for third

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