Tony Calvin takes the measure of the horse racing at York and Sandown on Saturday and recommends three more bets to go with his ante-post picks...
"Sameem was available at 25/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook on Thursday, and the 16s went early on Friday morning too, but I am happy to take a chance on him at 13.012/1 or bigger, win-only, on the Exchange."
Good and bad news on my two ante-post recommendations in the 1m5f188yd Listed race at York at 15:05 on Saturday.
The no-show of the 10/1 selection Oriental Mystique is an obvious blow but it is more than made up for by the 8/13 ante-post favourite Ilaraab also failing to appear in the final declarations on Thursday morning - and that did not come as too much of a surprise, to be honest - which means the other 15-2 selection, Makawee, has plummeted in price.
And little wonder why. She is in good form, she is officially the best horse at the weights, she goes really well here and she handles any ground, including the anticipated good to firm going.
Of the quartet, she is the most likely to run her race and hopefully that will be good enough. However, her price of around 2/1 now just accurately reflects her chance.
Third time lucky for Easterby with Sameem
We have started with York so we will deal with the four ITV races from there first, and the eight-runner (but read below there) 1m3f188yd handicap for female amateur jockeys sets the terrestrial ball rolling at 14:00.
Flymetothestars, having his first start since September 2017, is a fascinating runner for David and Mick Easterby, but I reckon that a couple of others from that famous northern clan could be victorious here with Sameem, just as they were in this race with Snoano back in 2016.
Sameem was bought out of James Tate's yard for 18,000gns last October and quite frankly he hasn't shown a great deal in two starts for his new yard.
But at least he showed a bit more at Ripon last time and he has come down 6lb in the weights to a mark of 82 after those two runs, and that makes him incredibly well weighted if Tim Easterby can coax the horse back to his winning form of 2019,
He was rated 96 after winning a Listed race at Hamilton in July 2019.
The tactical angle of that victory, and his earlier Ripon win on good to firm ground, was that he made all and I wouldn't be in the least surprised if forcing tactics were not re-adopted here. I cant see any pace rivals if Emily Easterby has the horse underneath her to go on and make it.
He was available at 25/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook on Thursday, and the 16s went early on Friday morning too, but I am happy to take a chance on him at 13.012/1 or bigger, win-only, on the Exchange.
Odds of 10/1+ are fine but be aware two of the runners are due to run at York on Friday, Civil Law and Viaduct, so you have to play win-only.
Sameem may well have completely gone but I am willing to pay to find out here with small stakes. Obviously expect a fairly meaty Rule 4.
Plenty of pace will suit Admirality
Admirality was originally put in as a 14/1 by the Sportsbook on Thursday and that looked incredibly generous, so he is another about whom I am more than content to take a shorter price now, so back him at 10/1 in the 7f handicap at 14:35.
I really fancy him, and I genuinely would make him more of a 6s chance. So 6/1+ is my guide price, either on the Exchange or the fixed-odds front.
There is potentially loads of pace in here - up to six have gone forward in the past - and that should suit Admirality perfectly, as he likes to sit handy and pounce late when on song.
He has not been at his best in both starts this season but you can forgive him his first start of the season (though he ran well for a long way at Haydock when very weak in the market), and his run over 6f in soft ground last time (he has never excelled in those conditions), and he has been dropped a generous 4lb for those runs.
That now puts him on a mark some 4lb lower than when second of 20 to course specialist Firmament in this race in 2019, and he has run well on both of his other starts here, including when second of 19 to Documenting off a 1lb higher mark than this last July, and the winner followed up on his next start after being raised 6lb.
You can easily argue that his best efforts have come on good to firm ground and all looks in place for a massive run here. If he reproduces either of the two course runs mentioned above, I think he goes very, very close to winning this.
I really don't have a betting opinion in what looks a ludicrously competitive 3yo 6f handicap at 15:40.
Jadwal would be my idea of the favourite, as I think his Newmarket conqueror last time, Jumby, could run well in Group 1 company at Ascot next week, but he went up 7lb for that run and he is no giveaway at his current odds in such a deep handicap.
I was tempted to take a chance with Man Of Riddles in the 1m4f handicap at Chester at 15:20 but decided against it.
If you can forgive him his run in Listed company on soft ground at Goodwood last time - which I would be inclined to do - then I think you have to view him as a well handicapped horse off a mark of 80 on the evidence his Wolverhampton debut win.
But he is not exactly a solid betting proposition in what could be a pretty warm handicap. The five-runner 5f handicap at 13:40 is very easily left alone - mind you, Virginia Plane, an opening 11/2 chance (unlikely to last long if it hasn't already been snapped up), is exceptionally quick out of the gates, so she could take some catching from stall two if trapping well again - so over to Sandown.
Actually, given her early speed, and the form of her third on soft ground at Goodwood has been boosted by the runner-up winning twice since, she is probably a very fair bet at 7/2 and upwards, especially as I suspect the quicker ground here will suit, too.
But I will just about resist a bet; the half-sister to the stable's Group 2 winner Liberty Beach is the play in the race if you want an interest, though.
Atalis Bay a decent price but Dogged is Sandown bet
I normally try to find every reason under the sun to oppose short-priced favourites but I came to the conclusion that Atalis Bay was a pretty decent price at around 7/4 on the Exchange in the Scurry at 14:15.
I won't tip him, as shorties really are not my style and you can be a hostage to fortune in Sandown sprints - plus the fact his yard is hardly firing at the moment - but here is the case for him.
He is officially the best horse at the weights (alongside the out of form Steel Bull), he comes here after a career-best second to the King's Stand second favourite Winter Power at York last time, he probably has a lot of improvement in him, and trip and ground are perfect.
The early 8s in the marketplace may have gone but he is a bet at 5/1+ to me, as I thought he shaped very well when fifth on his return at Newmarket.
He didn't look the easiest of rides there, but he stayed on well once the message got through, and I think this stiff mile could be tailor-made for him.
He is only 1lb higher than when winning at Newmarket in 2019 (the placed horses have won since) and connections seem convinced he needs this better ground, too (his sire Due Diligence put up his best effort on fast ground).
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2021 FLAT SEASON (started April 14)
Back Makawee in 15:05 at York on Saturday at 8.515/2
Back Oriental Mystique in 15:05 at York on Saturday at 11.010/1 (NOT ENTERED)