Ebor Festival Day Two Tips: Be brave in the Clipper Logistics Stakes
Tony Calvin returns to take us through his best bets from the action at the Knavesmire on day two...
"Now, logic suggests that being drawn 20 of 20 is a big negative here, so Shane Gray could have his work out - we have had winners from stalls 18 and 16 in recent years, though - but I thought his exchange price was ample compensation."
Opener a difficult one
Whenever I don't massively fancy a card from a punting perspective, I tend to take the races in chronological order, so let's start with the opener at 13:55, shall we?
The Lowther looks a two-horse race on paper between Fairyland and Angel's Hideaway - I know you shouldn't be so sweeping when it comes to such lightly-raced opposition, but the rest really do have to step up to the plate here - and splitting the pair is not easy, as the betting underlines.
Fairyland finished ahead of her main market rival (and Pretty Pollyanna) when a close third in the Albany, but it is clear that Angel's Hideaway has stepped forward since and she looked very good when winning the Princess Margaret at Ascot.
There is not a great deal to take exception to in their current prices and little really stands out as an each-way alternative - maybe Little Kim, if she can put her latest Newbury run behind her - so there is nothing doing in the opener for me.
No different in the second
And you can take that comment, and double it, when it comes to the 20-runner sales race at 14:25, which is frequented by a mass of unexposed 2yos. My eyes tend to glaze over and wander to the next race when I confronted by such puzzles.
I am not even going to make a token suggestion as to the winner, as I couldn't even narrow down my shortlist to less than half of the field.
Bravery to top Seniority
Ah good, a handicap comes into view in the 15:00, and I suspect that the favourite Seniority could go close again, even though he has been raised 6lb for his 1/2 -length success at Goodwood.
I thought he won with real authority there, and one firm were generously offering him at 8/1 on Tuesday morning.
I think he has to be on everyone's short list, along with Firmament, but I was bit surprised to see David O'Meara's 6yo challenging for favouritism given that he hasn't won since taking this prize in 2016 (from stall one, which is where he is berthed again here), though he did also finish third to Flaming Spear in this race last season.
I don't go overboard about horse's strike rates but it is clear that he is hard to catch right, for all that he has now dropped 9lb this season despite a few good efforts in big handicaps.
He could easily return to winning form off this mark, but I was expecting bigger than around 7/1.
Hors De Combat has a good handicap in him off this mark if the cards fall right - he is a candidate for a saver at 20/1+ on the exchange - but my stab in the race is Bravery at [32.0] or bigger.
Now, logic suggests that being drawn 20 of 20 is a big negative here, so Shane Gray could have his work out - we have had winners from stalls 18 and 16 in recent years, though - but I thought his exchange price was ample compensation.
Last year's Lincoln winner was surprisingly gelded after some decent back-end performances but he shaped eye-catchingly well when finishing second from well off the pace at Redcar last time.
Now, I know that was only a 0-90 and he has been raised 2lb for it, but he is still 11lb lower than his peak-2017 mark and he 1lb lower than when an excellent second of 20 to Zabeel Prince over course and distance last October.
On just his third start of the year, he could well have been teed up for a race that he finished seventh in last season, and hopefully Gray can bide his time on this hold-up performer and creep into it late.
He is a lot bigger price than I was expecting after that Redcar run last time, given his back-form in big handicaps.
Class could be class
The Yorkshire Oaks at 15:35, looks a cracking renewal but it leaves me cold as a betting contest.
I thought Sea Of Class was far too short at around 11/8 given the level of opposition pitted against her, not matter how impressive she was in the Irish Oaks.
That bare form gives her little, if anything, in hand of the likes of Laurens, Coronet and Magic Wand at their best, and I may end up laying her for a place.
If all eight stand their ground, the progressive Eziyra could well be an each-way bet at a double-figure price close to the off, but for now I can leave the race alone, so on to the RUK races.
William Haggas may be spot on each-way
The 1m4f Fillies and Mares Listed race at 16:15, sees the return of La Ti Dar and she doesn't have a great deal to beat on her first start back since her Newmarket win in May. If she is fit and primed, that is.
Sun Maiden is her main form rival and she must be better than she showed at Goodwood last time, as she had previously looked a filly on the up when third in the Ribblesdale.
In fact, at a meeting preview night on Tuesday, the owner's racing manager Sir Teddy Grimthorpe apparently confirmed that she was in-season that day, so there is your excuse.
Sir Michael Stoute's Frankel half-sister to Midday could be the answer to this race if back on song, and the 4/1 looks very fair with the doubts around the favourite on her return from an absence, but the first-time cheek pieces on What A Home are also interesting.
William Haggas is an impressive 10 from 43 when using this headgear switch since 2016, and the tongue-tie goes on too, so even a little bit of improvement would make her an each-way player at 15/2 with the Betfair Sportsbook in a race that lacks depth.
In fact, the each-way players could be out in force for both Sun Maiden and What A Home here, and I was very tempted to put up both on that front, too. I would have got slaughtered on Social Media if I had done, though, so I chickened out.
Lincoln Rocks at the right price
The 7f fillies' handicap at 16:50, rounds off the card and you suspect that Move Swiftly could take a fair bit of beating, even though she was raised 8lb for that impressive Goodwood win.
If you wanted an each-way play then Lincoln Rocks is surely the one.
She will be suited by stepping back to 7f here, and the handicapper has been very generous in dropping her 8lb for her last three runs. She didn't run that badly when forcing it over a mile in a Listed race at Haydock last time, before dropping away.
She is now 2lb lower than when winning this race last season and, if she can get handy from stall 13 (she did so from 10 last year), then there are only one or two in here who are likely to hassle for her the lead.
Anything above 10/1 each way, with the Betfair Sportsbook, four places, would be a fair price.
Minimum Bet Guarantee for ALL races at York
Betfair's 'minimum bet guarantee' on all Class 1 and 2 races in the UK and Ireland - which means all customers are able to bet to win a minimum of £500 - has been extended to cover all races at selected meetings this week, including York. T&Cs apply.
Back Bravery [32.0] or bigger in 15:00 at York