The Price Is Right: I've found Juan to beat Highest Ground in the Dante

Wed 8 Jul 2020

By Kevin O'Malley,

With day one of the July Festival at Newmarket this afternoon, along with a classy card up in York, there is a plenty of interesting racing to look forward to on a cracking Thursday. I’ve picked out four horses of particular interest at York - fingers crossed they can deliver at rewarding odds.

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Sardinia Sunset’s fourth in the Queen Mary is the best form in the race and Roger Varian’s market leader may simply have a little too much class. However, all of these fillies are open to improvement at this stage in the campaign and it may not be as simple as siding with the obvious.

John Quinn’s MISS NAY NEVER is a once-raced maiden, so obviously she’s been set quite a task for her second outing here in Listed company. A well-built daughter of No Nay Never, she caught the eye on debut over six furlongs at Ripon last time, posted a decent speed figure in defeat there and this drop to five furlongs could really suit.

2.40 York: BAARRIJ

I’m not convinced the Musidora is the strongest of races and with that in mind, Roger Varian’s BAARRIJ may well be overlooked on the back of a thoroughly decent Windsor victory 11 days ago.

Boasting form from all of the top Group 1 tracks, most of the fillies in this field appear to have better form. But this Iffraaj filly clocked a good time at Windsor and sbeat a match-fit rival in smooth style in the process. There’s no reason she shouldn’t improve significantly for the outing and there would be little shock if she picked up some black type here with a good run.

3.15 York: JUAN ELCANO

I’ll give Kevin Ryan’s JUAN ELCANO another chance to show he has a touch of quality. The son of Frankel ran a blinder to finish fifth in the 2000 Guineas, before chasing home Russian Emperor at Royal Ascot. Ascot didn’t show the horse in the best of light, but connections retain confidence in him and it would be no surprise to see Juan Elcano produce a bold bid here. A change of tactics is likely and I’m intrigued to see how he goes.

Highest Ground is clearly a top prospect and will be odds-on to score. However, he still has to prove he is as good as everyone thinks he will be.

Although the selection needs to turn a corner to get back into the frame in this sphere, he has less to prove than the jolly in some areas and will be many times the price.


We’ll finish with Richard Fahey’s DOCTOR CROSS, who will appreciate stepping back up to two miles for this Class 4 handicap. Both of his efforts over a mile and a half so far this season were pretty good in defeat and a mark of 75 is workable enough with conditions perhaps more likely to suit here.

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