On a tough day, @helynsar takes a couple against the field in the Melrose and Ebor Handicaps
1:50 Strensall Stakes
I just favour Lord Glitters over Mustashry here, but last year’s winner is arguably better value at 5.3 this morning, and given there is very little to separate the pair on form (less than the official 4lb I would suggest), that seems a surprising differential, which I would expect to be narrowed nearer race time. Mustashry has proven stamina at this level, whereas Lord Glitters has been running at slightly shorter trips since joining his current yard. I’d expect him to be fine over this trip, as he was campaigned over further for his previous yard, albeit at a lower level. Not an easy call this, but I’ve seen some people bandying around the interesting stat that David O’Meara is 0-52 at York this year. That may see his price drift, but it doesn’t put me off particularly.
- Back Lord Glitters @ 3.25 or bigger (2pts)
2:25 Melrose Handicap
I’ve been trying to choose between two here for the past week, but history has shown in big fields over this C&D, that high numbers have an abnormally high strike rate (in both the Melrose and the Ebor), so with both parked wide, I intend to simply split stakes. Mekong is from the family of Warringah, who would have run in this some years ago when the meeting was abandoned – incidentally the only time I’ve visited York, and while I can’t tell you much about the track, the ghost tours are plentiful and time consuming. He carried top weight in the Ebor and was beaten a length the following year before going to Australia, and Mekong has pretty much had this race as his target since the start of the season. He won well at Chelmsford last time, and that looks strong form given how spread out the others – mostly proven performers – were.
The other dart is Corgi, who has been placed in big 3-y-o handicaps at both big summer meetings at Ascot and Goodwood. He could hardly be more solid in the context ofb this race, and is sure to give another good account on just his fourth handicap start.
- Back Mekong @ 9.4 or gigger (1pt)
- Back Corgi @ 9.4 or bigger (1pt)
3:40 Ebor Handicap
I’ve gone on record suggesting I will definitely play the penalised Teodoro here – he won a Group 3 by a wide margin last time, and I think most of us are being guilty of finding the obvious flaws in that form rather than give credit to an improving, tough performer who is well in under a penalty. He won’t get an easy lead, but he’s shown before than he doesn’t need one, and while his win came over shorter, he also has form over a stiff mile and a half which suggests he has every chance of staying this distance. If he came here as 4/1 favourite, I’d be first on the bandwagon to oppose him, but he’s barely moved in the market since his Haydock win, and the current exchange odds are more than fair given his profile.
The other horse to add here is Muntahaa, who I thought might win the Leger a couple of years ago. He won a Group 3 on his return last year before losing the plot, but has come back as good as ever this year having been gelded, and did very well to be placed over an inadequate at Royal Ascot. He should appreciate the return to a staying trip (won over a similar trip at Chester in 2016 off a mark of 108), and his draw on the wide outside is nowhere near the disadvantage it’s often assumed to be (only 3 winners of the Ebor since the turn of the Century have been drawn lower than 14).
- Back Teodoro @ 17.0 or bigger (1pt)
- Back Muntahaa @ 28.0 or bigger (1pt)