York Day One Tips: Caspian Prince can win at fairy tale price

It's day one of the Ebor meeting at York
It's day one of the Ebor meeting at York

It's the opening day of the Ebor Festival from York and our man Tony Calvin talks through the big Golden Horn v Gleneagles clash as well as revealing his two strong fancies at big prices...

Recommended Bets

Back Caspian Prince at 36.035/1 in the 13:55

Back Medrano at 16.015/1 in the 15:05

York, 15:40

Horse racing has got to be the hardest sport to promote with confidence in advance of the action, and that was reinforced once again with every drop of rain that fell on the Knavesmire on Tuesday.

Whereas only an act of god (or the plod) can stop a big sporting event, like Man City v Chelsea last Sunday, going ahead, it may only take 10mm of rain to scupper one of the most eagerly-awaited clashes of the season on Wednesday afternoon.

And "racing" can ill-afford the Golden Horn v Gleneagles match-up not to take place after the former's late, on-the-day withdrawal from the King George at Ascot last month.

Hopefully, York will get away with only a minimal amount of rain from now on - 8mm had fallen by 3.30pm - and it'll be game on.

But there will have been plenty of anxious faces when you consider that Aidan O'Brien was adamant he had done the right thing by his star miler when not declaring him - let alone running him - on going that all time analysts said was good at worst at Goodwood come race-day.

Any amount of rain is bad news, make no mistake, and we could be in for another late decision on his participation.

At the prices, Gleneagles is the horse I least want to be with at the top end of the market in the Juddmonte International at 15:40, anyway, as I don't think the three-year-old miling division he has dominated is particularly strong this year.

And while the fact that he is by Galileo suggests an extended 1m2f could be fine for him, this race looks sure to be strongly-run and he has to improve for the step up in trip to win. Even at a drifting 5.39/2 on the Exchange, I am not tempted.

In fact, this is probably one of those races that most punters will be happy to watch without a financial interest, especially as each-way players have to be wary of a late non-runner in the race scuppering the three places return.

If Time Test is still 5/1 and there are eight runners down at the start on Wednesday afternoon, then I would put him up as the each-way play in the race.

Quite clearly, Golden Horn is the one to beat in this race and odds of 1.748/11 may look ridiculously big in hindsight for what could be one of the best Derby winners in recent years.

But it was interesting to note that Timeform only had Golden Horn 1lb superior to Time Test after the latter's Tercentenary win and only 3lb now - Golden Horn went on to improve when demolishing The Grey Gatsby in the Eclipse - and that gives you some idea of the potential of Roger Charlton's colt.

Granted, the Ascot win is not approaching Group 1 standardon the bare form - those that have run since have disappointed - but the clock suggested Time Test could be the real deal, even pitched into this grade.

York, 15:05

If anything, I'm looking forward to the Great Voltigeur just as much as it is a cracking renewal and I could easily make a case for any of the seven.

Storm The Stars probably sets the form standard, Ascot winner Balios probably wasn't seen to best effect in France last time, and the unexposed Aidan O'Brien trio are all of interest to varying degrees.

But readers of my ante-post column will know that I have been interested in Tashaar and Medrano for the St Leger ever since their runs at Goodwood, and they get their chance to state their Doncaster case here.

Tashaar was ridiculously impressive when winning a 1m3f handicap off 90 at Goodwood, and while it was disappointing to see the runner-up beaten at Newmarket last weekend - though the third won at the Shergar Cup meeting - I'd be pretty sure that he was a Group 2 performer.

But this is a very strong Group 2 and he hasn't been missed in the market as the 5.49/2 second favourite, so I am happy to put up Medrano at 16.015/1.

It's hard to be sure how much rain will have fallen by post-time, but the more the better for Medrano, as he was hugely impressive in winning in the soft at Hamilton on his penultimate start.

However, everything that could have gone wrong did in the Gordon Stakes on faster ground at Goodwood last time - he was taken back at the start, was always playing catch-up from the rear and racing widest - and I am forgiving him that below-par run behind Saturday's runaway Secretariat winner Highland Reel.

His current odds of 16.015/1 underestimate him, but if you want a saver on Tashaar I won't deter you.

York, 14:30

The Acomb Stakes looks too tricky for me to solve - 5/1 the field sums it up - but top of my list, if asked, would probably be Adventurous.

He was not at all disgraced when stepped up markedly in class when fourth to Shalaa in the Richmond at Goodwood, and the manner in which he finished off his race suggests the extra furlong here is a big plus.

But it's just too tight and trappy a race to call with any confidence, underlined by the fact that all bar Adventurous won last time out and all are on the upgrade.

I know one thing for sure, though; those who instigated the punt on Big Bang Bong first time up at Pontefract and saw him finish a luckless third will be feeling rather sick if he wins this Group 2 prize just over a month later. You will rarely see a more unfortunate loser and he made amends in style in the soft at Newmarket last time.

York, 13:55

The opening contest is not much easier and sprint handicaps are not top of my favourite type of races after Saturday. I tipped up two horses at the weekend and both "won" on their side of the track, but neither was placed. And then Mullionheir won. I wasn't chuffed.

But such is life and the 36.035/1 available Caspian Prince has tempted me in.

Now, the big negative first. This horse tends to hang right and if he does that again here from stall five, then he is going to forfeit a lot of ground as he veers across the course. And lose.

But that trait still didn't stop this trail-blazer running well for a long way when beaten only five-and-a-quarter lengths behind Muthmir in the Group 2 King George last time - he lost several places in the closing stages - and he has now dropped to a mark of 102 from 111 in March.

That Goodwood run was his first start for his new stable, and it is very interesting that Dean Ivory has dispensed with the horse's usual hood and tongue tie here. Hopefully, it is a part of a grand plan to correct the hanging after seeing a possible solution at home after getting to know the horse more, and not an oversight at declaration time!

In any case, he won without the hood when trained in France and ran without the declared tongue tie when posting his best effort date - when winning off a 3lb higher mark than this at Meydan in March - and if Ivory has worked the oracle, then he is one massive price off this mark.

York, 16:20

In the RUK races in the end of the card, Noble Silk looks a fair 14.013/1 chance in the 16:20 after a back-to-form fourth at Ascot last time. But I will stop at putting him up as a bet, especially as he wouldn't have wanted the rain, and I remain convinced that Oasis Fantasy has a decent race in him with the right ride.

York, 16:55

And, while I will also keep my powder dry in the nursery at 16:55, if Charlie Hills' Sir Roger Moore shows anywhere near the ability then he does at home than he will run well at odds of around 14/1 off a mark of 81.

Recommended Bets

Back Caspian Prince at 36.035/1 in the 13:55
Back Medrano at 16.015/1 in the 15:05

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