Plenty of puzzles for punters

Plenty of puzzles for punters

A REALLY busy weekend sees a bunch of big-field competitive handicaps that will set plenty of puzzles.

York is arguably the best track in Europe and COPPER KNIGHT overcame 20 runners to land an impressive win by a length there last week. The Easterby’s are formidable foes on the Knavesmire and he goes again tomorrow (Saturday) for Tim, and a 4lb rise only reflects how much he loves York having won three cavalry charges there from seven starts.

That said, there is also a case to be made for the veteran DUKE OF FIRENZE, who broke his losing streak at Thirsk last Saturday after being dropped 25lb by the handicapper in the last 12 months. He only went up 3lb for that win which puts him on a mark of 85, which must give him each way chance on a course where he has won two big field handicaps, both of which were in May. 

Richard Fahey’s year is cranking up and he has a tremendous record in Haydock’s Silver Bowl having won the race three times since 2006, and IRREVERENT can add to his tally. KACHY looks better than ever this year and goes in the Temple Stakes at 4pm, but this is a very warm affair with BATTAASH making his seasonal debut and MABS CROSS giving weight to the field. KACHY may be less effective on a straight track but after having a wind operation last September he has won three 6f contests on the all-weather and could spring a surprise.

SIGNORA CABELLA was a top juvenile sprinter and she can leave her reappearance run behind her to win the Listed Cecil Frail Stakes.

TOO DARN HOT could show punters what might have been in a fascinating showdown with Qipco 2,000 Guineas winner MAGNA GRECIA at the Curragh tomorrow (Saturday).

Europe’s champion two-year-old was the long-time favourite for the Classic, only to miss the race due to a spring setback.

But he is now quoted at no bigger than 6/4 for the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas after a surprise change of plan that could set him on collision course with the colt who took advantage of his absence from the Newmarket field three 

weeks ago.

John Gosden had initially nominated the St James’ Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot as the next target for TOO DARN HOT, after the colt lost his unbeaten record in last week’s Dante Stakes at York.

But the trainer left him in the Irish 2,000 Guineas on Tuesday and is now considering taking on Ballydoyle’s MAGNA GRECIA, a two-and-a-half-length winner at Newmarket whose Curragh odds eased out from 4/5 to a best-priced 11/10 on the news.

Stamina wasn’t his undoing at York. Gosden said: “He’s come out of the Dante in great shape and is a horse that likes to be doing things”, adding of TOO DARN HOT, whose four wins last year culminated in victory in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket: “A final decision will be made later in the week.”

SKARDU ran a strong third in the 2,000 Guineas from the wrong side of the draw but the way he quickened to land the Craven caught the eye and he’s the universal third favourite at a best-priced 7-1 with Carrigill’s.

His trainer William Haggas was impressed by his workout on Tuesday morning and said: “Skardu is in good form but he’ll need to be as it looks a tough race. James Doyle will take the ride again but we’d rather it not rain over there.”

Carrigill’s nap (money back as a free bet if finishes outside top 4): SKARDU, Saturday, Curragh, 3.35.

Augur’s best bet: DUKE OF FIRENZE (e/w), Saturday, York, 3.45.

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