York selections Thursday 24th August
Day Two at York and the times of the races yesterday confirmed that fast ground very much is prevailing on the Knavesmire currently. With conditions largely set fair for Thursday then horses capable of handling fast ground will be very important once more. I think there is good reason to be taking on horses at the head of the market in the three races I have concentrated on. Alligator Alley was just touched off but gave us a return on our each-way bet in the opener yesterday (advised 10/1).
York 3.00: Northern Express & Eilean Dubh
A classy handicap with northern trained raiders very much to the fore. David O’Meara and Charlie Johnston each saddle four, but they could be denied by two other high profile relatively local handlers.
NORTHERN EXPRESS is a master of consistency on this fast ground and especially at York. His record on good ground or better here reads 112731. Most of those races were at 7f, but he is always a strong finisher and even when only seventh in this race last year over the extra furlong, he was doing his best work at the finish after a slow start.
The 5yo remains as good as ever at the moment and was third here at the Dante meeting over the mile. Since then he has won back at 7f here and placed in two huge handicaps at Ascot over the shorter trip. However I am sure there is a big race in him over a sharp mile like this, especially on rattling fast ground and a low draw today affords him the chance to get competitive a bit earlier, provided he breaks soundly.
EILEAN DUBH was all at sea on softer ground at Glorious Goodwood but had earlier served notice he was on his way back to form after a lean spell. Considering he is most at home on fast ground it was to his credit that he won at Hamilton last month before finishing an honourable third to Blue for You here, both on good-to-soft.
He is 6lbs better off with the winner today and is another well suited to the track having won 2-2 here in 2022, both on fast ground. A mark of 96 is one he can still defy.
York 3.35: Free Wind & Warm Heart
Savethelastdance produced a power packed finish to get up close home in a soft ground Irish Oaks, but she will find it harder keeping up on this fast ground. Al Husn is unproven over trip and ground and Bluestocking is still inexperienced so two alternatives are preferred.
FREE WIND had her limitations exposed against the colts at Royal Ascot and was all at sea on heavy ground at Goodwood last time. However against fillies on a sound surface she is up to Group 1 standard. We got a glimpse of her ability when she won a Group 2 here over an inadequate 10f in May.
However it was her Park Hill success at the 2021 Leger meeting at Doncaster that marked her down as a top filly on quick ground. She produced a relentless galloping performance over 14f that day, yet she has the tactical pace to hurt the others over shorter distances.
WARM HEART was well beaten in the Irish Oaks, but back on a sounder surface she has every chance of turning the tables on the first two home. She has already beaten Bluestocking twice fair and square on this better ground, notably when winning the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot.
She was given plenty to do at the Curragh, but just could not pick up in the holding conditions, whereas I would expect her to find plenty when able to bounce off the faster going today.
York 5.20: Back See Daa & Coco Jamboo
Unequal Love is likely to be a warm order for this and could be thrown in off 90. However she has not actually achieved much yet, whilst the progressive Nigiri has faster ground to cope with today. Therefore I have two much longer priced alternatives that can go well.
BACK SEE DAA ran with plenty of promise in three 7f novice races, without winning, but a fast run 7f contest might see her in a better light than the mile events she has been competing in lately.
She did win her novice at a mile at Newbury on quick ground in June and was not disgraced when only beaten 2l in a listed race at Sandown (when enduring a poor run) and at Goodwood on softened ground that seemed to sap her stamina. Her mark of 92 looks more than fair and she travels well enough to cope more than fairly with this drop in distance.
COCO JAMBOO has already won a big handicap over this trip when winning at Newmarket last autumn. Her big issue is that she tends to take a pull in her races, hence the drop back in trip to 6f this summer.
Whilst she has run well, finishing third on all three occasions, she has looked just short of the required speed to win over sprint distances. 7F looks her natural distance and the combination of fast ground, a likely strong pace and the potential for plenty of cover should all work to aid the bang in-form pilot Andrea Atzeni get her settled and conserve energy for a strong late run.
1pt each-way – Northern Express – 3.00 York – 13/2 general (many bookies 1/5 odds 1st 6)
0.5pts each-way – Eilean Dubh – 3.00 York – 25/1 general (many bookies 1/5 odds 1st 6)
1pt each-way – Free Wind – 3.35 York – 5/1 general
1pt each-way – Warm Heart – 3.35 York – 9/1 general
0/5pts each-way – Back See Daa – 5.20 York – 14/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 5)
0.5pts each-way – Coco Jamboo – 5.20 York – 28/1 William Hill (1/5 odds 1st 5)