Lets get Zoff to a good York start

York selections Wednesday 17th August

The opening day of four at York and the traditional highlight is the International Stakes on the opening day. I find it difficult to find an angle with Baaeed in the line up, so am looking elsewhere to three other races on the card for an interest.

York 1.50: Atalis Bay & Ancient Times

We start off with a typical fast and furious sprint with plenty of early pace in the line up right across the course. I have two with the pace to compete on this flat track.

The handicap snip in the race could be ATALIS BAY who endured a troubled passage at Goodwood last time in his first handicap since joining sprint specialist Robert Cowell. He has had his limitations exposed in group company up until now for the yard, but with a clear run he would have gone close at Goodwood and I expect this extended 5f to be more in his favour.

He could have done without the overnight rain, because the faster the ground the better for this gelding. However it remains on the fast side and I can see him being ideally suited by an end to end gallop.

Despite being on a fine run this season, ANCIENT TIMES remains at the right end of the weights and may not have done with his winning just yet. He started off the campaign with wins at Doncaster and Musselburgh – the latter in the ultra competitive Scottish Sprint Cup and he has since run with credit when second at Newmarket’s July meeting.

The stiff final furlong might have played against him that day, but on this perfectly flat track, his early pace will stand up better and a middle draw should mean he won’t be away from wherever the action ends up at the finish.

He seems to be best given time between races, so the six week absence since Newmarket should have served him well.

York 3.00: Secret State

A fascinating Great Voltigeur and this can go to a horse in SECRET STATE having his first run out of novice/handicap company.

He looks more than ready for a Group 2 however en route to a potential tilt at the St Leger. Having won minor races in the spring at Chester and Nottingham, he showed a real professional attitude to win the King George Handicap at Royal Ascot, seeing off the sustained challenge of Deauville Legend in the process. He is actually 4lbs better off with that rival today.

He then followed up in a similar race at Glorious Goodwood, winning with more to spare than the length winning margin suggested. He does have a tendency to wander in front, but looks totally genuine and is tactically versatile. A strong stayer at 12f he may simply be able to out gallop the opposition today.

York 4.10: Zoffee

This 2m handicap has been upgraded and York has been rewarded with a classy field this afternoon. Ex chaser ZOFFEE is the one that I fancy though.

He has been rejuvenated since switching back to the flat with Hugo Palmer this season. He won back to back races at Carlisle and Newcastle earlier in the season, the latter in the Northumberland Plate consolation race. He was then a highly creditable and very close third at Newmarket over 14f

and I think it was a lack of stamina over 20f rather than the handicapper that defeated him at Glorious Goodwood last time.

He cruised into contention in the straight, holding every chance 2f before fading. There are no stamina concerns over 2m and with jockey Ben Curtis back on board – having partnered him to both wins earlier in the season, he can still make his presence felt off his current rating of 92.

Recommended bets:

1pt each-way – Ancient Times – 1.50 York – 12/1 Skybet, William Hill (1/5 odds 1st 7)

0.5pts each-way – Atalis Bay – 1.50 York – 10/1 Coral (1/5 odds 1st 5)

1pt win – Secret State – 3.00 York – 5/2 William Hill

1pt each-way – Zoffee – 4.10 York – 12/2 Skybet, William Hill (1/5 odds 1st 5)

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