By Chris Dixon
With an abundance of exciting close finishes and some sparkling performances at what must be one of the best racecourses on the planet it has been a pleasure to be at York for the past few days but as ever the show quickly moves on and with three good quality cards to get stuck into on Sunday afternoon I have five fancies to take a look at.
Jim Crowley will surely have enjoyed the last few days on the Knavesmire as well and we can hopefully both end the week on a winner with The Big Short in the closing Molecomb Blue Handicap at 5.40.
The Charlie Hills-trained three-year-old seems to save his best for the champion jockey, with Crowley aboard for both his defeat of the subsequent dual winner Defining Moment at Leicester and third behind a well handicapped pair at Nottingham last time.
A poor run in between those two efforts can be excused on account of a disadvantageous draw and the aforementioned efforts suggest he’s on a good mark.
A strong travelling horse, he should be comfortable with the tempo of what is likely to be a strongly run race while his previous form at Leicester and Epsom suggests he will handle the downhill part of the track.
Previous course winner Eynhallow will certainly have no issues handling the track either and rates my best bet of the day in the Goodwood ‘Famous For Food’ Handicap over 10 furlongs at 3.20.
Successful on two of his four starts this season, Eynhallow’s defeat of yesterday’s Melrose winner Secret Advisor here in May (pair 3½ lengths clear) was clearly a solid effort, but it was bettered at Sandown on his penultimate outing when winning well in a good time in a race that has subsequently worked out well.
Although he’s now 5lb higher than for his odds-on defeat under a penalty at Sandown last time, a race in which he was poorly positioned behind another in-form improver, his best form, progressive profile and pedigree all point to a likelihood of remaining well handicapped.
Horses representing stables in good form are often worth a second look and my remaining three bets on the afternoon all tick the box on that score.
Paul Midgley could hardly have his horses in better nick at the moment with the finishing positions of his horses so far this week reading 0711117015 and I fancy La Haule Lady to provide him with another winner in the Beverley Lions Handicap due off at 4.50 at Beverley.
The fact she’s still a maiden after 13 starts and is at the top of the market is somewhat off-putting but as well as the form of her stable, the upside to her chance includes a good run from a poor draw here last time and a falling handicap mark that makes her look well-treated on best form, plus a good draw today in stall 2.
Ed Vaughan has had his horses in top form all season and can hopefully enhance his impressive 21 per cent strike rate this year with Zorba The Greek in the Bet Toteplacepot At Betfred.com Apprentice Handicap at Yarmouth (2.20).
Although without a win for some time, Zorba The Greek has possibly been a shade unfortunate not to pick up a win during a spate of placed efforts recently, on each occasion only beaten by improving horses.
It’s largely three-year-olds receiving a weight-for-age allowance that have been his nemesis of late and this race,for four-year-olds and upwards, looks like a good spot from his shrewd handler as likely improvers look thin on the ground, while the application of blinkers for the first time may add an edge to Zorba The Greek.
Also at Yarmouth I’ll be backing Noble Masterpiece in the Bet totePLACE At Betfred.com Handicap (5.50) as Sir Michael Stoute’s three-year-old ventures into handicap company off what could be a lenient mark.
The form of his third place finish at Chelmsford certainly suggests he should be up to winning races off an opening mark of 72, while his latest form on ground that was perhaps too soft at Salisbury is working out well. A return to 7f looks likely to bring about some improvement while the likelihood of a well run race is also in his favour.
Chris Dixon’s Sunday selections:
2.20 Yarmouth: Zorba The Greek at the 2-1 generally available
3.20 Goodwood: Eynhallow at the 7-2 generally available
5.40 Goodwood: The Big Short at the 15-2 generally available