THEY could all be playing second fiddle to STRADIVARIUS in the Yorkshire Cup.
Today’s (Friday) big race at York sees John Gosden’s dominant stayer bid to become only the second horse to win the Yorkshire Cup twice after Andross in 1981 and 1982.
Carrying a 3lb Group 1 penalty, he’s a short price favourite with Carrigill’s at 4/6. Although the going stick was reported at 7.6 on Wednesday, the jockeys I spoke to reckoned the ground was definitely on the fast side of good and this will be music to the ears of STRADIVARIUS, who has won seven of his eight races on good ground or faster.
He loves the Knavesmire having won the Lonsdale Cup here last year, and if he comes back anything close to his best, he’s the one to beat.
Another of Gosden’s charges could put the dampener on one of Yorkshire’s favourite horses, LAURENS, in Newbury’s Lockinge Stakes tomorrow (Saturday).
WITHOUT PAROLE has been disappointing since last year’s career best display in the St James’s Place at Royal Ascot, but he shares top spot on the figures with the Middleham-trained LAURENS and looks tremendous value at 12/1 with Carrigill’s.
The admirable LAURENS should be favourite given she won four Group 1 races last season, but she will need everything to drop right in what looks sure to be a big field. LE BRIVIDO is another close to the head of the market and bidding to give Aiden O’Brien back-to-back victories, but he is somewhat injury prone and, because there is so little between nearly all of the runners, many punters will be looking for each-way value.
One who fits the bill is ROMANISED who travelled like a classy horse when finishing fifth behind LE BRIVIDO in the Gladness Stakes. Drying ground will suit Ken Condon’s 25/1 shot, who definitely has a big run in him somewhere.
The London Gold Cup at 3pm is one of the hottest three-year-old handicaps of the year, and the only winners to defy marks of 90 or higher in the last decade were future Group 1 winners in Time Test and Al Kazeem. The 29 losers include three favourites and four others from the first three of the betting.
Sir Michael Stoute won this with Cannock Chase in 2014 and this year saddles SOLID STONE. He took a big step up in form terms when beating War Tiger at the Craven meeting last month in his first attempt at 1m 2f. Word from the stable is that he’s been working well at home, and he’s a half brother to two winners who ran to RP Ratings of 110 or above.
SINJAARI is perhaps the most interesting of the handicap debutants and was an impressive winner at Windsor last time out.
PETRUS is an improving horse after being gelded and fitted with cheekpieces and Brian Meehan’s four-year-old can compete a hat-trick of wins in the 5.25.
Tim Easterby’s old stager CONFESSIONAL could show some of his younger rivals a few home truths at Thirsk tomorrow (3.55). He reportedly slipped when finishing third last time out at Haydock and the 12-year-old sidestepped the Dante meeting in favour of this race.
There are some competitive contests at Thirsk and LATHOM is a very interesting contender in the opening 5f handicap. Winner of the Super Sprint as a two-year-old, he lost his way somewhat and has tumbled down the weights but he was a promising second at Hamilton on only his second start for Paul Midgley.
The North Yorkshire trainer has a good record in freshening up sprinters and there should be more to come now he’s back on track.
Carrigill’s nap (money back as a free bet if finishes outside top 4): KURIOS, Saturday, Newbury, 1.50.
Augur’s best bet: CONFESSIONAL (e/w), Saturday, Thirsk, 3.35.