YORK — WEDNESDAY 15TH MAY
It’s a frustrating time at the moment, with the rain changing the ground from good to firm into good to soft, and a lot of my chosen horses being inconvenienced as a consequence.
Today, we’ll head for the big placepot pool at York, where it’s likely to be on the soft side of good (having been good to firm last night, before 16mm of rain intervened).
Leg 1: 1.45 – Four year olds have dominated here in recent years, as have the big Newmarket stables, so John Gosden’s (winner last year) Lahaag is of immediate interest. He’s stepping up in trip today, but seems bred for it.
Softish ground and ten furlongs might be optimal for Sir Henry’s First Mohican, too, but he’s got a high enough handicap mark here and I’ll let him beat me if he can. Clayton looks weighted to run well, and is improving. She’s an A pick.
Prompter is really eye-catching. Ryan Moore riding for Jonjo O’Neill on a horse formerly rated 106 on the flat. Off just 94 today, and fit from jumps, he looks a fair bet in here. A again.
A – 2 (Lahaag), 3 (Clayton), 4 (Prompter)
Leg 2: 2.15 – It doesn’t get any easier, with fifteen set to sprint down the straight course over six furlongs. The three non-runners already from the eighteen declared means we’ll be looking at three places, so we’ll need some luck.
Louis The Pious and the appropriately named York Glory look worthy market leaders, and they’re my A picks. I’ll back them up with some B ballast, in the shape of the progressive Nocturn, and Ayr Silver Cup winner, Mass Rally.
A – 2 (Louis The Pious), 6 (York Glory)
B – 4 (Mass Rally), 11 (Nocturn)
Leg 3: 2.45 -The Musidora, an Oaks trial. Liber Nauticus looks a smashing filly, and I reckon she’ll win this readily. She’s second favourite for the Oaks and could be vying for favouritism with a big win here. She’s up against a Class 5 Wolverhampton maiden winner (though she herself only won a Class 5 maiden, at Goodwood) in Woodland Aria, and so the chief danger may be Indigo Lady, who was third in a muddling French Group 3, behind the very good Peace Burg.
Liber Nauticus is a banker here though.
A – 4 (Liber Nauticus)
Leg 4: 3.15 – An excellent big field Group 2 sprint, and the race of the day from a punting perspective. Mince is stepping up in class, and I’m going to try to get her beaten, though she remains a lovely prospect. Gordon Lord Byron returns to optimal conditions, and he was a highly progressive sprinter himself last term. He’s the highest rated of these, and will be fine over a rain-softened six furlongs.
So too will fellow Irish raider, Maarek, who was good enough to win the QIPCO Sprint on British Champions Day last October. He makes up my A pairing.
On B, I can’t desert dual Group 1 six furlong winner, Society Rock. He’s the class act in the field, and if returning close to his best will go close to winning. And finally, Jack Dexter’s form with the words soft or heavy in the going description is 2111111. On quicker ground, he’s 537400. I’ll take a chance that it’s at least good to soft out there, and include JD.
For those looking for a throwaway punt at a massive price, Bogart was fourth in this last year and loves six furlongs and good to soft. He’s a 66/1 poke!
This is a Group 1 race in all but name. Cracking contest.
A – 1 (Gordon Lord Byron), 3 (Maarek)
B – 2 (Society Rock), 7 (Jack Dexter)
Leg 5: 3.50 – It gets no easier, and we’ll have to intersperse flat and National Hunt form here. Cockney Sparrow is a deserved jolly, given his brilliant trainer and top class hurdling form. Recent winning trainers, James Fanshawe and Marcus Tregoning, run Novirak and Opera Box, and both are respected, as is Guising, who is on a hat-trick.
On C, Cousin Khee is open to improvement for Raymond Tooth (and of course, our Sunday correspondent, Tony Stafford); and Pintrada is interesting, especially with Jamie Spencer booked to ride.
A – 2 (Sirvino), 4 (Guising), 8 (Novirak), 12 (Cockney Sparrow)
C – 11 (Cousin Khee), 16 (Pintrada)
Leg 6: 4.50 – And we close with a trappy seven runner 2yo novice race. Steventon Star stands out at the top of the market but, with all seven having won at least one of their one or two starts, he won’t have it all his own way. There’s been strong support in the betting for both Extortionist and Peniaphobia, and I’m going to include the former.
A – 1 (Extortionist), 4 (Steventon Star)
That leaves us with perms looking like this:
Just A’s – 3 x 2 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 2 = 96 bets
All picks – 3 x 4 x 1 x 4 x 6 x 2 = 576 bets (!)
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