York Placepot: Friday August 24

Ortensia bids for success in the feature Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes.

Attention is fixed firmly on day three of the York Ebor meeting for today's placepot selections...

Ortensia got right back on track when taking the King George at Goodwood last time, conceding weight all round, and has to be a live contender to follow up...

14:00 - The opening race looks a competitive one, but in placepot terms that is no bad thing; ample opportunity, indeed, to take on those towards the head of the market. Two who fit the bill are Bridle Belle and Tepmokea, who have slipped in the weights in recent times (the latter down to his last winning mark) and are capable of making the frame over this twelve furlong trip. Similar sentiment also applies to Samsons Son, who has yet to match his 2011 exploits in two starts this term but will be much more at home returned to this distance from a decreasing handicap mark. He looks a massive price starting out for his new stable.

14:30 - The Gimcrack presents a smaller field, and Lewisham is worth keeping on side. Supplemented for this contest, the son of Sleeping Indian was much improved when finishing runner-up in the July Stakes at Newmarket on soft ground (beaten by a neck) last time, and won't at all be inconvenienced by the recent ease in the ground. The equally progressive Pearl Acclaim, who comes here having won tidily at Ripon on Saturday, should also be up to making an impact.

15:05 - The Strensall Stakes looks a tight affair, and once again morning prices play a decisive role in the selection process. Tazahum, who was a listed winner and runner-up in this event in 2011, is one who catches the eye having got back to form landing a minor Newmarket event at the start of the month. With the return to further here no problem he should go close if able to build upon that.

15:40 - The feature race of the day, the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes, merits extra consideration given the rainfall on the Knavesmire over the past twenty-four hours. Antepost favourite Bated Breath wouldn't want any further ease in the going from its current state of 'good', with support building for the progressive Pearl Secret. Both should be thereabouts, but for placepot purposes it is the other likely contenders Ortensia and Sole Power who get the nod. The former got right back on track when taking the King George at Goodwood last time, conceding weight all round, and has to be a live contender to follow up, whilst the latter has been most consistent this term and merits respect as a previous winner of the race (in 2010).

16:15 - Likely favourite Wentworth will no doubt be popular here but there are others who will better suit placepot purposes. One such horse is Bright Strike, who holds notable Group 1 entries and finished strongly in third when needing the experience at Newmarket last month. Further improvement looks forthcoming, and he can make the frame for top connections. Brave Command, who travelled sweetly on his second start on the polytrack at Kempton when just headed close home, is another open to improvement back on turf, and can go some way to paying back the $870,000 he fetched as a 2-y-o with a bold showing.

16:50 - Finally, Burning Blaze looks sure to be thereabouts in the concluding Nursery race on the card, his winning form from last time having been boosted several times since. As is the repeat theme, however, there are others better suited to a placepot permutation in what is an extremely competitive race, and a couple of alternatives can be found in the form of handicap debutantes Kamchatka, who won with something to spare at Pontefract last time, and Pure Excellence, who is sure to improve upon his better-than-result third at Newmarket latest. At a bigger price, Mitchell is another progressive, maiden-winning (over five furlongs) newcomer and looks certain to be suited by the step up to six furlongs today.

14:00 - 7, 13, 14
14:30 - 5, 8
15:05 - 5
15:40 - 11, 19
16:15 - 1, 2
16:50 - 11, 14, 16
= 72 lines

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