Tony Calvin is back at the Knavesmire on day three of the Ebor Festival where he's backing four runners, including his bet of the day in the Nunthorpe...
"I am happy to side with Fairyland each way at 16/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook. It looks a very big price to me, and I’ll be having a fair pop at her. She rates the bet of the day for me."
Hermoso Mundo looks a pretty tempting proposition at a big price in the opener at York on Friday, so back him at 34.033/1 or bigger on the exchange in the 13:55.
He clearly doesn't have the solid profile of a Corelli or a Jazeel - though the latter is trying this trip for the first time - but I liked the way he has been progressing since joining Hughie Morrison and he could be ready to blossom now stepped down to 1m4f on quick ground.
I wouldn't profess to know the merit of his South African form, where he won from 1m to 2m, but he went to Dubai in the spring rated 104 (he left Mike De Kock after two blow-outs there) and now races off just 95.
He was highly-tried first time up in a Sandown Listed race on his English debut and he showed more in a strong Newbury 2m handicap next time, when not given at all a hard time in midfield.
He was ridden a touch more aggressively, and certainly more prominently, when stepped down to 1m6f at Goodwood and ran with a lot of credit, being beaten under six lengths at 66/1 after travelling pretty sweetly throughout (after being pushed forward from a wide draw, too), and he was dropped 2lb for it.
This shorter trip promises to suit him on the evidence of that Goodwood run, and he is worth chancing at his current odds. The 25/1 each way, five places, with the Sportsbook is also worth considering.
Another one to back in the 13:55
I am keen to take two against the field here.
Gibbs Hill remains interesting given the positive vibes that surrounded him before his Northumberland Plate reappearance after a lengthy absence, for all that he was pulled up there.
I was also tempted by Restorer off a falling handicap mark at around 33/1, but I wasn't expecting the horse he finished fifth to in the Shergar Cup at Ascot last time, Indianapolis, to be available at 14.013/1 or bigger here, so James Given's 4yo is the saver.
He ran really well here in a red-hot handicap in May and I sided with him in the Old Newton Cup two starts ago when he ran perfectly well in fourth.
He stepped it up another level when winning a 1m 4f handicap at the Shergar Cup meeting earlier in the month, where he did well to pick up the enterprisingly-ridden runner-up, given he had a lot to do from well off the pace, in the final two furlongs.
It could also be that the first-time cheekpieces (retained here) made a fair difference there, as he did not look entirely straightforward before Ascot - indeed, one of his half-brothers won in this headgear and his dam obliged in blinkers - and a 3lb rise looks very fair.
Races to swerve
We needn't waste too much time on the Lonsdale Cup at 14:25, need we?
The gap between Stradivarius and Dee Ex Bee is very narrow, as we saw at Goodwood, but you sense the domination of the favourite, unbeaten in three starts here, is more marked than the winning margins. But his price is predictably giving nothing away.
Looking further ahead it is interesting that Aidan O'Brien (pictured above) has opted to run his 103-rated Il Paradiso in this lofty company, given that he comes in here after winning a 2m Curragh handicap off a mark of just 89 last time.
But O'Brien did mention the St Leger as a possibility after that 12-length romp, so it will be interesting to view his performance in terms of that Classic.
After two near-misses at Ascot and Goodwood, I suspect Threat will finally get his Group 2 win on the board in the Gimcrack at 15:00 - he looks dominant form-wise and on the clock - but I always find it easy to pass up the opportunity to back 2yos in these circumstances when they are ranged against similarly unexposed youngsters, albeit of a much lesser ability going into the race.
Fairyland can challenge market leaders
I am pretty keen to take on the market-leaders Ten Sovereigns and Battaash in the Nunthorpe at 15:35.
On the face of it, Ten Sovereign's authoritative July Cup win from subsequent Group 1 winner Advertise stamps him as a massive player, but I'm not sold that the step back to 5f is ideal - or by his price of 6/4 - and Battaash, for all his occasional brilliance, didn't blow anyone away at Goodwood last time and of course he has been well-beaten in this race for the past two years,
Mabs Cross, beaten a nose in this race last season and the Abbaye winner in October, is the obvious alternative to that pair but I am happy to side with Fairyland each way at 16/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook.
It looks a very big price to me, and I'll be having a fair pop at her. She rates the bet of the day for me.
She has three-and-a-half lengths to find with her stablemate on their July Cup running but, creditable as though that performance obviously was, I don't think we saw the best of her there at all.
She was drawn towards to the stands' rail and was never in a position to get across and join to race with the principals until very late on, and by then the contest was over.
If she had been in among the pace on the far side, I reckon she would have finished a lot closer and last year's Lowther Stakes winner here showed she can be effective over this 5f trip when fifth in the King's Stand. I'm pretty confident of a very big run from her on Friday.
The quick 5f is a bit of a worry but she travelled really well throughout at Newmarket - she really did breeze through the race - and early doors at Ascot, so I'm hopeful she has the necessary zip. And this promises to be a run at a fair old gallop too, given the pace in the race.
Backing Pogo in the final race
I will also have an interest in the last at 16:50 in the shape of Pogo at a double-figure price.
He blew out when I fancied him to go well in the Britannia and he didn't pull up any trees on the face it at Goodwood last time.
But he got far from a trouble-free passage there, with James Doyle literally standing up in the irons inside the final furlong - it didn't look as though he was that short of room on the video, but he must have been - so hopefully he can leave that form behind.
He is only 5lb higher than when winning in a fast time at Newmarket in May, and the horse didn't run too badly when fourth in the Acomb here as a 25/1 chance last season.
He will do for me at 15.014/1 or bigger.
Hermoso Mundo at 34.033/1 or bigger in 13:55 at York
Indianapolis at 14.013/1 or bigger in 13:55 at York
Fairyland at 16/1 each way with Betfair Sportsbook in 15:35 at York
Pogo at 15.014/1 or bigger in 16:50 at York