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A quality Listed sprint kicks things off and the horse with the classiest form across the five races this weekend should be going off favourite here.
Equilateral is partnered by the flying Frankie Dettori to boot and certainly won't be missed by Paddy's Pick 5 players, with the sure-to-be-popular pick well-favoured by the weights and he shaped pretty well on his return behind Dramatised in the Group Two Temple Stakes last time. While his best form is at Ascot, he has proven Group One form and - even if connections will have an eye on the Royal meeting next - the eight-year-old looks the rightful favourite.
Taking a deliberately contrary stance can lead to egg on face in this game but, at bigger prices, KORKER might be able to go close here.
He usually finishes well and does make some appeal after running really well on his return in a five-furlong sprint at the Dante Festival that has not historically favoured four-year-olds nor horses running after a break, while he blew the start last time yet still flashed good speed up until half way before slowing a bit late. Relatively speaking, his closing speed still fared up pretty well though.
Others here are closely tied with him on that first York running, including Clarendon House who has since run really well when perhaps hitting the front a little early in a somewhat controversial "Dash" on Derby day at Epsom, while Mondammej was also behind Korker at York. Regional won that race on the Knavesmire and he is obviously progressive for an in-form yard enjoying a fine season and it will be interesting to see how he fares up in class.
Raasel was a fantastic success storynlast season and proved wonderfully progressive but things haven’t gone so well on the early evidence so far this term, while Prince Of Pillo takes the eye on his return with Ryan Moore taking the ride for Keith Dalgleish. He has good juvenile form but three-year-olds traditionally haven’t fared so well in this, while jockey and trainer are looking for their first win together on this fourth attempt.
With 14 runners to choose from, this is the biggest field in this week's game and it might just be the trickiest - even if an abundance of runners are not arriving in obviously compelling form.
The one that you would fancy to be on the premises is MR WAGYU, who posted a decent effort at Epsom last weekend behind a very progressive winner and a classy and consistent runner-up and the suspicion is that he might have just gone a tad too fast on the front end in the early stages. However, that was still his best effort so far this term and this is his time of year, while he's won both previous starts over course and distance in the summer months on decent ground.
All The Kings Men is another that arrives here after a decent effort at Epsom although he drops in trip now and that wouldn't seem ideal given he has stuck on at the finish on previous starts over seven furlongs. Having said that, it's also true that he showed decent late speed in a fast-finishing race last time and he could be ridden forcefully in a race that surprisingly lacks pace on paper under a top jockey for an excellent and in-form yard.
Silver Samurai won this race last year but he was on something of a roll at the time and he's now 3lb higher in the weights, while the yard’s record with reunners in first-time cheekpieces wouldn’t make you hurry to back this one (9.3%, -£112.72).
Lethal Nymph was hampered late on at Windsor last time and, while he was already on the retreat in a race that was run at just a steady speed, the form has worked out quite well (at least among the principals) and he's entitled to improve for that reapperance run now for a noted trainer of sprinters.
You don't get this £50,000 too easily and no obvious contender readily jumps out here, though the two last-time out winners seem the place to start.
Cumulonimbus conjures tempestuous images but the progress of the Night Of Thunder gelding has been fairly serene in handicaps so far, proving really progressive last season and just about lasting out from the front on the Rowley Mile last time. He doesn't look as stout a stayer as several others in the line-up, but it's still early days to be drawing firm conclusions and he goes on quicker ground now.
Good Show is very much a stayer at this 1m4f trip and a strong pace would suit him. The perenially underrated Keoth Dalgleish seems in particularly good health at the moment, while Get Shirty also has form over further and arguably has the besty handicap form on offer here courtesy of his Old Newton Cup win - his sole run at this track - off just a 2lb-lower mark last summer.
The market will no doubt reveal more closer to race time but we fancy taking a chance here on LIVE YOUR DREAM, one of two runners for Saeed bin Suroor.
The trainer has only had a handful of runners this season but has landed a Classic and has sent out four winners in the last fortnight to an eye-catching strike-rate. We'll see if that lasts in the coming months, but what is beyond doubt is the trainer's ability to bring back horses successfully after a mammoth absence (27.78% and +£9.29 with horses after an absence of 500+ days since 2010) and he might just spring something of a surprise.
A quickfire double-header in Yorkshire concludes this week's game and Beverley is the first stop on Hilary Needler day, though for Pick 5 purposes our area of focus is the handicap over an extended seven furlongs.
This looks fairly tricky - surprise, surprise - but a low draw is quite important over this course and distance given the runners turn right-handed fairly quickly and runners out wide are usually at a disadvantage.
Ugo Gregory will no doubt prove popular on his ninth start over course and distance and you couldn't be too dismissive about him really, having won three of his previous eight over this track and trip and he was only denied by a nose on his latest attempt. He’s got a lovely draw in stall one and some of his course and distance form reads pretty well, most notably his third in this race last year behind I’m A Gambler, who went on to be rated 20lbs higher after winning several big handicaps at prestigious meetings. This course regular looks more or less nailed on to be there or thereabouts.
UNITED FRONT is also well-berthed in stall 2 and, down in trip, top jockey Oisin Murphy can make use of his draw with a forward ride and occupy a good position round the bend and hopefully kick on turning for home. It all sounds a bit too easy admittedly, but the uphill finish here and the generally slow finishing speeds over this course and distance suggests that some staying power is an asset and the fact this horse has winning form over 10 furlongs must be a positive. Murphy and trainer Mick Appleby are a reliable team when partnering up, with around a 20% strike-rate over a decent timeframe and a win and place strike-rate of around 40%.
Adrian Keatley is in good nick with several recent winners and 40% of the yard’s runners are hitting the frame this Flat season. Satin Snake could be interesting on this first turf start for the trainer, even if stallion Aclaim is showing much better figtures with all-weather runners at this early stage (13.5% compared to 9.4%).
The in-form Miss Britain is another to note after beating Catterick specialist Langholm on his penultimate start (more of that horse anon) and she was just denied on stable debut for Ian McInnes last time.
With just over four grand to the winner this is a low-key end to Saturday’s game, though it's fair to say this would have been the centre of attention to several owners and trainers here given nearly half of this 13-runner field have contested a course-and-distance handicap at this idiosyncratic track in recent starts.
There looks to be a good amount of pace on with Swinging Eddie a forward-goer along with course regular Langholm (two wins, three seconds and two thirds from eight course-and-distance runs), while Stripzee and Liberty Breeze (well-backed on her penultimate start) are likely to be prominent.
MUTANAASEQ sat last and swept through to win off a strong pace over course and distance last time and, despite a stiff-enough rise in the weights, can overcome the 7lb hike given a similar pace scenario could unfold once again here and at a track where they can go for home a tad early with staying power often a help late on.
Langholm has the pick of the draw in stall 2 while Mutanaaseq is out wide in 12, but his patient tactics are likely to negate the draw somewhat given he will be dropped in and hopefully he will get a nice run up the inside once again and pick his run late on. He receives 12lb from Langholm here, too, and that might just be a bit too much to concede.
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