York selections Wednesday 23rd August
The latest of the big Festivals, the Ebor meeting at York begins on Wednesday. There is plenty of quality in the group races, but for betting entertainment it is the quantity in the handicaps that catches my interest. I have selections for the first two handicaps on the card.
York 1.50: Intrinsic Bond & Alligator Alley
A typically trappy start to the meeting and this is a race that can go to INTRINSIC BOND who looks to be on a resurgence since joining Michael Wigham this summer.
Amazingly he has never raced at York before, but there is every reason to think this flat track will suit a horse who made most to win a Great St Wilfrid at Ripon last season. That was of course over 6f, but he had the pace to win one of the most valuable 5f handicaps at Ascot last month and then narrowly failed to make all at the Shergar Cup recently. He must defy a career high mark of 99 now, but the change of yard can bring out the necessary improvement in this 6yo who should have more to offer yet.
The alternative is ALLIGATOR ALLEY who is admittedly an expensive horse to follow. On a going day he travels as well as any sprinter around, but on some occasions he simply does not seem to fancy it. Given a marked preference for fast ground he did really well to place third at Glorious Goodwood last time out and he is rapidly dropping in the handicap to make him a standout each-way here.
He won at this meeting as a juvenile and this hold up horse should appreciate the extended 5f distance here. A central draw will help jockey Danny Tudhope get him into the race and provided he gets the all important splits at the right time he is dangerously well handicapped off 91 given he won off 100 on the All Weather at the start of the year.
York 4.10: Green Team & Grappa Nonino
Two horses near the bottom of the handicap appeal for this staying contest.
GREEN TEAM has been highly tried throughout his career, taking in a Group 3 as a juvenile, finishing seventh in the Queens Vase at Royal Ascot last year and then being campaigned in Dubai over the winter. He has not won though since scoring on his second ever start at Ayr and I think he is now reaching the sort of level where he can be successful.
His respectable effort at Ascot over 14f showed he possesses plenty of stamina and he has not had much opportunity to prove that since. He did run over this trip in the Northumberland Plate this year, but am not sure he handled the surface. He did better when third at Ascot last time, but I think the reapplication of headgear and a step back up to 2m can see him in a better light. He has dropped to a really workable mark of 82 and the booking of William Buick is a definite positive.
GRAPPA NONINO should not be ignored receiving weight all round. He sneaks into this with a 5lb penalty for winning at the Curragh last week over 14f, but is still 2lbs well in on his reassessed rating. He has already won over further than this at Killarney in the summer and there were excuses with his two defeats in between.
He was made too much use of when down the field in another Curragh handicap and found the trip too short and the going too soft at Galway. With the ground drying at York he will find his optimum conditions and he is only really getting going in his career now so I am sure he will be winning off higher than this 72 rating in the near future.
1pt each-way – Intrinsic Bond – 1.50 York – 6/1 William Hill (1/5 odds 1st 6)
1pt each-way – Alligator Alley – 1.50 York – 10/1 Bet365, William Hill (1/5 odds 1st 6)
0.5pts each-way – Green Team – 4.10 York – 18/1 Paddy Power, BetVictor (1/5 odds 1st 4)
1pt each-way – Grappa Nonino – 4.10 York – 7/1 Bet365 (1/5 odds 1st 4)