The old Bradford & Bingley handicap has always been one of the most competitive mile handicaps in the racing calendar, and this year is no exception.
There has not been a winning market leader in the last decade, a low draw has been an advantage, and David O’Meara has saddled the winner twice in the period. He saddles six of the 20-runner field this afternoon, including market leader Blue For You, who was given the plum draw in stall one when runner-up to stablemate Orbaan in the Golden Mile at Goodwood and has drawn the one box again this afternoon. He is taken to reverse the form with Orbaan (11) at the revised weights, but I have supported another O’Meara inmate.
RHOSCOLYN has never won over a mile – all wins at 7f – would prefer softer ground and is 2lbs wrong at the weights in this early closing race. That said, he ran a good race from a poor draw at Goodwood last time under today’s talented apprentice and has bits of form which suggest he could run a big race from a good draw in stall five.
The each-way recommendation was forced to switch to the back of his field from stall eighteen at Goodwood and had his run stopped at a vital stage. He meets Orbaan and Blue For You on better terms, and he could be overpriced at 22/1 with Paddy Power who are betting six places.
The Yorkshire Oaks is one of the races of the meeting with a fascinating clash of the generations. Irish handler Paddy Twomey has his string in tremendous form, and La Petite Coco has won her last four, including in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes (10f) at the Curragh last time. She is equally effective over 12f, but she is overlooked, given she is unproven on fast ground.
Epsom and Irish Oaks winners Tuesday and Magical Lagoon look the pick of the three-year-olds, and I am convinced we can put a line through the former’s abject run in the Irish Derby last time. She is better than that, but in a tremendous renewal, I am sweet on the chance of the globetrotting ALPINISTA, who is unbeaten in her last six starts going back to September 2020.
The last four of those successes have been in Group 1 company, including handing out a sound beating to subsequent Arc winner Torquator Tasso in Germany back in August. Most of her victories have been gained with a bit of cut in the ground, but the winning time at Saint-Cloud last month on her comeback suggested the ground was much quicker than the official description of good to soft.
The 12f Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes was won by a 4-y-old - Forbearance – last year but had been dominated by progressive three-year-olds previously, and normal service is likely to be resumed this afternoon.
Voodoo Queen did us a favour at Newmarket last time and is going the right way, as is Mimikyu, who looked ready for a step up in grade when running away with a handicap – also on the July course – at the end of June. This is likely to have long been the plan for connections, but I just favour the William Haggas-trained GOLDEN LYRA who also looks to have been laid out for this prestigious prize.
The stable won the corresponding race in 2013 and 2014, and I hope the racecourse executive water overnight as the lightly-raced filly is unproven on fast ground. She has been on my radar since finishing second in a similar contest at Newbury in June over 10f when she gave every indication that she would appreciate the step up to a mile-and-a-half.
The filly has subsequently won an egg and spoon race over 12f at Kempton, and I do think she would be something to bet on if the rain had arrived. Conditions were described as good on Wednesday morning, although the executive, surprisingly, did not water on Tuesday evening, although they did get a spot of rain.
Golden Lyra and Mimikyu will both be winning races between now and the end of the turf season, but the Haggas filly gets the nod today in an excellent renewal.
Things haven’t gone according to plan for XJ RASCAL in recent starts, but he ran an extraordinary race at Goodwood on his penultimate start when he blew the start but was still only beaten a head. He saw plenty of daylight posted wide in the Racing League at Doncaster last time but only just lost out. A 2lbs rise for those efforts looks fair.
Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle for the first time this afternoon which will be considered a positive by many, and he has an excellent drawn-in stall one over this seven-furlong trip as long as the combination doesn’t miss the kick.
We highlighted QUEEN AMINATU as being one to follow last week when she finished runner-up to Tarrabb over a mile at Haydock when she met trouble in running in a race when the first two finished clear. She has been raised 6lbs for that run but can race from her old mark this afternoon as she drops back in trip by a furlong.
Hayley Turner takes over in the saddle, and the filly will think she is let loose carrying just 8st 3lbs. She got the mile at Haydock well enough but this long galloping straight on the Knavesmire should suit.
Mobadra must give 16lbs to the selection but is well drawn in stall one and looked well ahead of her mark when scoring at Chelmsford last time. A 4lbs rise looks fair, given the runner-up has run very well in defeat from higher marks in recent weeks. I would be surprised if the winner did not come from the head of the market.
There are no prices available, at the time of writing, on the listed race for fillies at Killarney, but I am hoping to see a double-figure price for the twice-raced BENITOITE who confirmed the promise of her second at the Curragh on her sole juvenile start last August when scoring on her belated seasonal reappearance back at the same track last month.
The form has taken a few knocks since, although the runner-up has gone one better, and the filly is entitled to come on a bundle for the run. With Shane Foley in York for Magical Lagoon, Conor Hoban takes over in the saddle for the first time. Well drawn in stall four, the filly, who holds a couple of group entries going forward, gets the each-way nod.
* Odds correct at the time of writing. Subject to changes.