Dave Nevison selected Alfred Boucher (5-1) and Blue For You (11-2) on the first two days of the Sky Bet Ebor Festival and has another three bets for Friday, including one chalked up at 33-1.
Possibly the toughest handicaps of the week to solve at York on Friday and I will be very happy if a couple of these put their best feet forward at big prices.
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I can’t separate the contenders at the front of the market, so am taking an extra place play on this eight-year-old who is chalked up at large odds but may have plenty to suit him in this competitive field.
Since he came to the Terry Kent yard from Andre Fabre, Graphite has been upped in trip considerably and his stamina definitely seemed to be stretched in the Northumberland Plate last time out.
He seems to enjoy a fast pace over 12 furlongs and will definitely get that here plus has a good draw in stall eight, which should enable him to sit midfield and hopefully stay on in the straight to sneak a place, at least.
He is the complete outsider with a few bookmakers, but certainly on his Ascot win last season, and a couple of other performances, including when third at Kempton on his penultimate start, suggest his odds might be underrating his chances of being competitive here.
If we ignore two runs at Ripon, which is a “marmite” track for horses because of its undulating nature and it really doesn’t suit some, then Reel Rosie has been on a fairly steep upward curve throughout her career.
Whether Ripon was the salient factor or not, she certainly came back to form last time out with an impressive victory at Nottingham and although she has gone up 7lb for that win, she may still have improvement left in her.
Trainer Ed Bethell has been in terrific form all season but hasn’t really had the number of winners he should have and deserves to win at least one Heritage Handicap such as this.
A decent pace would help but P J McDonald positioned her well last time and retains the ride here.
This is an extremely competitive handicap for three-year-olds to end the card, with a number of improvers in the field, but Operating does look firmly on the up and might be able to complete a hat-trick.
He showed a good attitude to win a modest maiden at Windsor and benefitted from that experience with a comfortable victory on his handicap debut at Nottingham over a mile last time out.
He has been raised 8lb for that success but definitely looks like he has more to offer, while it will certainly not harm him having Ryan Moore back on board, despite Martin Harley doing a good job last time.
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