14:25 Ascot Porsche Handicap
I’ve not always got Crack On Crack On right, but his win in the Silver Bowl at Haydock owed much to the tactics employed, and the form of that race has not worked out on the whole. He then looked a hard ride (not for the first time) when mid-field in the Britannia at Royal Ascot, and is held by a couple of today’s rivals on that form.
It’s beginning to look like the handicapper overreacted to his back-to-back wins at Lingfield and Haydock, and he is plenty high enough in the weights, even if he does bounce back.
Recommended: Lay Crack On Crack On for a place @ 3.1 or shorter
15:40 Ascot King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes
He may not turn up, but the potential soaking that threatened Ascot has been largely averted, and Cracksman makes very little appeal on recent form, admitting that his disappointments include wins in a pair of Group 1 events. If we strip out Cracksman’s standout win in a soft ground QEII in the autumn, then the balance of his form actually puts him behind both Poet’s Word and Crystal Ocean, and that’s before you consider the beating handed to him by the former at Royal Ascot. Plenty of people are happy to excuse John Gosden’s colt a ‘poor run’ last time, but the truth is that he ran pretty much to pattern, and expecting him to produce the fireworks we saw in October is unrealistic.
The form of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes has worked out well, which undermines the notion that Cracksman’s run was in some way substandard. All in all, the likelihood is that Poet’s Word will again beat Cracksman, and a bigger danger to him is his own stablemate, who has been favourite for this for some time.
Recommended: Lay Cracksman @ 3.85 or shorter
14:40 York SkyBet Dash Handicap
Growl look rank bad value in this competitive sprint, his draw on the flank looking a negative, but his recent form is a bigger pointer, and he hasn’t shown enough since a fine fourth in last year’s Stewards’ Cup to be of interest. He’d look very well treated if finding the pick of his old form, but it may be that he is having a warm-up for Goodwood with his usual headgear left off again, or that he’s simply not quite as good as he was then. He’s never fired at York, either, finishing no close than seventh in three runs here.
His back-class means he’s a risky play in the win market, but at around 2.66 in the place market, he appeals as one to be against given his patchy record.
Recommended: Lay Growl for a place @ 2.66 or shorter
15:15 York SkyBet York Stakes
Smart Call may have won easily last time, but that came in a modest Group 3 confined to fillies and mares, and she is eminently opposable on ground which has turned soft up in grade. The former South African champion needs good or quicker ground on turf, and she was only seventh on the only time she raced on a softer surface in her homeland.
She’s managed a third place in such conditions here, but that came in a 4-runner race, and while a 7-runner contest with three places isn’t ideal for place laying, she looks a bad bet at around 5.5, and should be taken on.
Recommended: Lay Smart Call @ 5.6 or shorter