Adjuvant can ring Ebor Bell

York selections Saturday 26th August

The final day at York and the first one where we cannot be absolutely guaranteed fast ground with heavy showers forecast. At the time of writing mid-morning though, none have arrived, so the likelihood is that we will still be getting quick times. My selections will all be able to cope assuming we still have conditions on the firm side. We had another solid Friday with three races and three each-way places through Bague D’Or (SP 9/1), Bradsell (advised 5/1) and Bajan Bandit (advised 14/1).

York 2.25: Lordship & True Legend

A smaller field than usual for the Melrose, but this race looks best left to two trainers who perennially target this race in William Haggas and Mark Prescott (Haggas with three winners in the past ten renewals).

Haggas saddles two, but LORDSHIP looks the safer bet on quick ground and is the choice of stable jockey Tom Marquand. The gelding actually shapes as if he will prefer soft ground and can be slowly into stride. However once he gets going he is a very powerful finisher and has won his last three starts on fast ground.

That includes one of the other valuable 3yo staying prizes at Haydock last month where he stormed from near the back to get up with something to spare over Flower of Dubai. He is up 9lbs today and has to also manage without the jockey’s 3lb claim. However there is surely more to come from this German bred colt over this trip and perhaps further and the experience he has built up this season will stand him in good stead here,

TRUE LEGEND is another who has more runs than might normally be expected for a Melrose winner. However in his case the application of cheekpieces has transformed him and still makes him unexposed.

He landed his third win of 2023 in that headgear at Salisbury last month and was an incredibly unlucky loser at Goodwood last time when continually denied a run before flying home for second. Very stoutly bred he should have no trouble staying the extra distance on this ground and on a flat track.

York 3.00: Kinross

This is effectively a British 7f championship and one horse who is absolutely brilliant at the distance is KINROSS.

Effective on any ground at his optimum distance, he proved too good again for the opposition at this trip when beating Isaac Shelby snugly at Goodwood. He won this race on similar ground last season, defeating Pogo and has beaten most of his rivals at some point or another in his illustrious career.

He does have to turn the tables with Sacred on Royal Ascot form back in June, but that was over 6f, Kinross was drawn on the wrong side of the track that day and he lost a shoe before the race. He will be suited by a likely strong gallop today and I am confident he can reverse placings with Sacred.

York 3.35: Jackfinbar & Adjuvant

I don’t think this is the greatest of renewals of the Ebor with plenty of horses coming here out of form, or potentially running over the wrong trip. However my two fancies have plenty going for them.

JACKFINBAR has a very unusual profile. He showed terrific form on fast ground for Harry Dunlop as a 3yo back in 2018. That culminated in a Group 3 victory in France after rising through the handicap route. He was then injured on his 2019 comeback and we did not see him again until returning with Willie Mullins at Roscommon last month.

Considering his absence he has run two fine races, albeit in defeat, most recently at the Galway Festival when a staying on fourth to Brazil. Having already won over 15f, stamina will be no issue, but his two runs in Ireland over shorter show he retains plenty of pace which will be required for a race of this quality.

However first choice will be ADJUVANT for whom I have been waiting for him to get back on better ground. He did well to be a staying on third in the Melrose on this card 12 months ago, but he looks a much better horse now.

Having raced keenly he kept on really well at Newmarket back in May on soft ground, only being touched off in a photo over this 14f trip. He made no mistake on quick ground over the same course and distance next time. He travelled like the best horse in his last two races before faltering late. However it looked like the 16 distance in the Northumberland Plate was just too far and the heavy ground at Goodwood on that dismal final day just too testing. He should have no such excuses today.

York 4.10: Aberama Gold & Lethal Levi

Another typically trappy sprint with for I have two suggestions.

First choice would be ABERAMA GOLD who has bloomed since joining David O’Meara recently. He had already won twice for the now retired Keith Dalgleish in June, but he definitely stepped up on that when winning in a similar race here last month. Considering he was drawn on the unfavoured near side that performance can be marked up even more.

He then cruised through the Stewards Cup at Goodwood, but any ground seems to come alike to this warrior. O’Meara has taken the decision to put Mark Winn back on to claim the 3lbs which means he only has 2lbs extra than Goodwood. His strong travelling style lends itself well to York and even from a wide draw he can make use of his recent resurgence once more.

There is plenty of pace drawn in the centre and I think it makes sense to follow one of those horses given they may get the run of the race. LETHAL LEVI is the one who appeals most.

He had a productive 2022 in 6f handicaps, notably when making most to win a big pot on Newmarket’s July course. He also ran a cracker here at the Dante meeting when second to Bielsa off the same mark of 96 as today. He has looked in the grip of the handicapper off higher since, and failed to stay 7f at Newmarket last time. I am hopeful that the reapplication of cheekpieces, plus the drop in rating might see him back to form today.

Recommended bets:

1pt each-way – Lordship – 2.25 York – 5/1 BetVictor (1/5 odds 1st 4)

1pt each-way – True Legend – 2.25 York – 8/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 4)

2pts win – Kinross – 3.00 York – 100/30 general

1pt each-way – Jackfinbar – 3.35 York – 8/1 Bet365 (1/5 odds 1st 6)

1pt each-way – Adjuvant – 3.35 York – 10/1 general (many bookies 1/5 odds 1st 6)

1pt each-way – Aberama Gold – 4.10 York – 17/2 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 5)

0.5pts each-way – Lethal Levi – 4.10 York – 11/1 Bet365 (1/5 odds 1st 5)

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