Saturday 15th June 2019
Author: Jordan Yates
Image: Jordan Yates
Graphics: Logopit Plus
A fairly quiet weekend of racing which is expected with Royal Ascot around the corner but there are still a couple of decent enough cards to be had at both York & Sandown with the Grand Cup and Scurry Stakes taking centre stage so I’ll be sharing my bets with you all from those two venues, which will likely be ITV races. So as ever, enjoy!
The action at York kicks of at 1.30 with the ‘Queen Mother’s Cup’ which is a handicap contest for female amateurs. As is the case with many of the afternoon’s contests at York this is a fiercely competitive affair of which a case could be made for most. A lot of those at the top of the market come here in strong form and out of those I like the chances of MAKAWEE (4/1) for David O’Meara. She made it three from four in handicaps the last day and at Wetherby and won over course and distance on her penultimate outing. Talented amateur Joanna Mason is on board and it would be somewhat a surprise should she not put on another solid showing here. Where’s Jeff & Arctic Fox look a couple of obvious candidates for this and a mention should be given to Breath Caught on his second outing since leaving Ralph Beckett as he’s likely to improve from an eighth placed finish at Epsom the last day.
Next up at York is the 2.25 which is the ‘JCB Handicap’ which is a Class 2 handicap over seven furlongs and the race currently see’s Richard Fahey’s Al Shaqab representative Aljady head affairs under the guidance of Tony Hamilton. He looks like he could be very well handicapped on the back of his form last season and ran a very solid race the last day here on reappearance when third in a hot handicap. He certainly looks the one to beat. There will be a lot of places on offer with some firms here so I’ve had a go on a couple the first of these coming the form of Michael Dods’ GET KNOTTED (9/1) who’s ridden by Paul Mulrennan. He’s a York specialist being a three time course and distance winner and was also second in this particular contest last year, he wasn’t at his best last time but has been dropped a couple of pounds and it always seems to bring the best out of him when on the Knavesmire. My second selection will require you to take a sit back and take a deep breath, and this of course is none other than David O’Meara’s FIRMAMENT (14/1). I don’t know what the next level up is from cliff horse but I’m even miles beyond that with this boy but hear me out once again, as I do have slight substance with him this time. He was very poor the last day at Epsom in a hot race, but the time before that he ran one of his best races in a long while over course and distance and he’s now back on the same mark as that effort. His last win back in August 2016 came on the Knavesmire also, this was off three pounds higher than his current mark.
The feature race of the afternoon comes at 3.00 and this is the Grand Cup Stakes which is a Listed event that’s contested over a distance of just over a mile and five furlongs. The race revolves around the market leader who is my idea of the winner here and that’s Sir Michael Stoute’s MEKONG (11/10). He was last seen when finishing just under two lengths behind Dee Ex Bee in a Sandown Group 3 last month. The soft going will be very much up his street and I think he takes all the beating here with Ryan Moore on board. The Mark Johnston due of Austrian School and Making Miracles set a solid standard in behind and both possess the ability to get involved, the latter winning this year’s Chester Cup in heavy going. Raheen House can play a part should he recapture his 2017 form and a lively outsider in the line up could well be Gold Mount if he also recaptures his form of old.
Concluding my York Preview is the 3.35 which is the ‘Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint Handicap’ a Class 2 handicap over six furlongs which is currently headed by Victory Day for William Haggas and Jamie Spencer. He was a 270,000 yearling who was an impressive winner the last day at Ripon and could be on a handy enough mark here. I’ve chanced two at slightly bigger prices though and the first of these comes in the form of Mark Johnston’s BLOWN BY WIND (11/1) who arrives here on the back of two second placed efforts this term. He’s versatile ground wise as he has form on surfaces which range from good to firm to heavy and will likely play his hand from the front here under Ryan Moore. The second of my picks here is Richard Fahey’s COSMIC LAW (16/1) who arrives here without a win since his Woodcote Victory last seen but returned to a bit of form with a second placed effort the last day. He’s also versatile ground wise will also try to be as prominent as possible, if coming on from his reappearance he could well have his say at a price.
The Scurry Stakes kicks things off at Sandown on Saturday at 2.05 which is a Listed event over five furlongs and the one I like here is Richard Hannon’s WELL DONE FOX (4/1). He’s a course and distance winner and despite a very laboured looking return to action when last of seven to Calyx in the Pavilion the last time at Ascot he’s still a massive player here on the back his form form last season. Leodis Dream is a worthy market leader on his exploits this term and reportedly bled on his latest outing when below par, Street Parade is another that will likely play a big part if turning up in the same form as his Windsor victory the last day.
The other race I’ve taken a look at on the Sandown card is the 3.15 which is the ‘Randox Health Handicap’ a Class 2 affair over a mile with my fancy coming in the form of David O’Meara’s BALTIC BARRON (5/1) who’s the mount of Oisin Murphy. He finished second last time out at Nottingham however he suffered a fair amount of trouble in running at a crucial stage yet still managed to run on strongly at the end. Formerly of Andre Fabre, I believe this four year old colt by Shamardal could well sprove to be a smart recruit and he could show that here. Greenside is an obvious contender for Henry Candy, he’ll find these conditions no issue and another horse I’m a fan of his Hateya for Jim Boyle. He’s a very consistent sort and will likely run his race once again here.