Dave Nevison's tips for Thursday: Keep playing the Saxophone

By Dave Nevison@nevisondave
Thu 9 Jul 2020

It's Dante day at York on Thursday and Racing TV's betting expert Dave Nevison has picked out three selections for the action on the Knavesmire.

12.55 York: Fox Vardy

I am slightly torn with this one, as I have stated many times that I am not a massive fan of backing wide-margin winners to back up next time. It is rare that they go off at anything in the way of value odds and often there is an unexpected explanation for the apparent improvement in form.

However I always take a close look at horses running above a handicap's rating ceiling and I believe Martyn Meade has found a good opportunity to run a horse that is Listed class (at least) in such a contest here. He has been even more fortunate to have found one featuring some familiar but very exposed types.

Fox Vardy really never delivered last season after looking like he was on his way to big things when winning at Windsor but he is a big, strong son of Frankel and he simply sauntered home on his reappearance (first start since being gelded). This looks a stepping stone to pattern-race company.

4.50 York: Solo Saxophone

An one-horse endorsement of the talents of trainer Ben Haslam and I'd be surprised if he has stopped winning yet. It is no wonder my Sodona - a winner for me at Pontefract on Tuesday, got beaten by this horse last time out when meeting him off levels. Sodona won easily off a higher mark, but by that stage Solo Saxophone had firmly franked the form by following up in very easy fashion at Haydock Park.

Easy for Solo Saxophone at York last time out

I am certain that a 7lb raise underestimates how much this horse currently has in hand and am very surprised he is still able to compete in 0-85 company. A late-maturing son of Frankel, I will be with him until he is beaten and I'm not expecting that to happen here.

5.20 York: Game Player

Those with long memories might remember I put this horse up in the big mile handicap at Glorious Goodwood last summer. It was a not-altogeter-unusual Goodwood horror show when he ended up trapped on the rail behind a wall of horses with absolutely no way of getting out.

Look away now, Dave! Game Player gets squeezed out at Glorious Goodwood

By that stage, I had already lost a few bob on him in previous runs where he was also unlucky in running at Goodwood again and at Ayr. But I'm not giving up on him.

He is a little later than some to return to the fray this season, but hopefully it's not too late for him to start enjoying the success he deserves. Perhaps the betting market will give us a clue as to what is expected as he encounters race-fit rivals. Positive market sentiment would certainly be encouraging as to his prospects.

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