The opening 13:50 Handicap immediately piqued my interest when I saw Onesmoothoperator 15.014/1 lurking in the Betfair Sportsbook market at double-figure odds.
He doesn't deserve to be such a hefty price, especially when his latest run at Ascot in the Shergar Cup was eye-catching and only his second on turf. I am quite a big fan of Pride Of Priory, who won that race and is a rapid improver over staying distances for William Haggas.
Brian Ellison's runner couldn't quite match that one stride-for-stride he did give him first run, and both horses came from well off the pace at the rear of the field in a contest run 1.79 seconds slower than the three-year-old handicap on the card.
I thought both were worth upgrading, and given it was the selections' second start on the turf, there could be plenty of improvement to come.
His other outing on grass came here at York when a 25/1 sixth of six in the Listed Ebor Grand Cup Stakes in June when he had no right to play a hand in the finish. He was not disgraced. He was beaten four lengths by the 113-rated Without A Fight in a race that turned into a sprint from the home straight, and he was left poorly positioned at the rear of the field. Still, he travelled strongly and was last off the bridle but couldn't match a field rated more than ten pounds higher than him for speed, but it was a promising effort.
He sandwiched those runs with a below-par outing in the Northumberland Plate won by Trueshan, but he is not a two-miler, and he should get a strong pace to aim at in today's contest and he should have more to offer yet.
I was tempted Angel Power 15.014/1 and given that the Betfair Sportsbook is offering five places in this contest - I wouldn't put you off.
She won the fillies race on this card two years ago and has fallen in the handicap after being in the doldrums for the last 18 months. She has clearly had her issues, but she took a step back in the right direction in first-time cheek-pieces in the same race as Onesmoothoperator at the Shergar Cup meeting. She looks as though she is about to hit form. She will need the cheek-pieces to work a second time, though, and she couldn't quite match Onesmoothoperator's speed in that contest.
Two pronged attack in the opener
Amtiyaz 13.012/1 was the final runner that caught my attention. He has only had three runs on turf and remains unexposed. He won the Copper Horse Stakes at the Royal meeting last year (1m6f) and improved in defeat when third at Newmarket.
He has been off 400 plus days, but his trainer has a 34% strike rate with runners returning from such a lay-off and a 66% strike rate when retaining the same jockey. He stays further than this, but the concern is that he can be too free, and on the back of an absence, he might prove too exuberant, but I like his claims also, and I will be having a second bet.
Ana and Khaadem the Nunthorpe value
The 15:35 Nunthorpe looks a cracker, but I would struggle to convince myself to back favourite Royal Acclaim 2.35/4 at the prices on what she has achieved thus far. She visually impressed here at York when a cosy winner over Mondammej, who has been well beaten the next twice and is 0-11 this season, but she will need to find around eight lengths on the clock to match some of these. Winter Power 21.020/1 clearly is not the same horse she was last year, but she could bounce back and shouldn't be written off entirely. She was an excellent winner of this race last term, but I quite fancy the chances of the 2021 runner-up Emmaraty Ana 17.016/1.
Kevin Ryan's runner has done little wrong in two starts this season in Group 1 Company on British shores over six furlongs, but she simply doesn't stay the trip at this level. Looking at her six furlongs record, it reads 6000107323315513. The three wins have come on flat, fast tracks, including here at York, but in comparison to her five furlongs without headgear (one poor run in cheek-pieces), the record that reads 42131 and the furthest she has been beaten is five lengths in the Breeders Cup.
Her York record without headgear (that same run in cheek-pieces) reads 271, and the seven came over six furlongs with soft in the going description.
This is a good race but it's no better than last year and with Winter Power out in the cold this term it could be the time to catch Ana with this easier than her last two assignments in the Group 1 July Cup and Platinum Jubilee.
Khaadem 12.011/1 is the biggest danger and I have had a saver on him - there is excellent value in this contest!
Over priced and underestimated
The 286-day break for Via Sistina 13.012/1 in the 16:10 Fillies' Handicap is a slight concern. Still, she has the strongest form in the book here when readily taking care of State Occasion and Swoon at Newmarket at the back end of the last term. Her final run of the season at Doncaster can easily be put a line through.
There's a chance she might need this outing, but the booking of Jamie Spencer is positive, and this race could set up for one patiently ridden. She was firmly on the upgrade last season before the combination of an untidy start and a denied passage in a slowly run affair when 11/4f for a Listed contest saw her eased off. That wasn't her true running, and she is priced up like a no-hoper here, and that's not the case if fit and well.
Operation Moore and Gosden
We will need some luck today with our horses running in big field handicaps, but undoubtedly the best bet of the day comes again in the 17:20 Mile Handicap.
Operating 5.59/2 for John Gosden and Ryan Moore looks like a horse firmly on the upgrade and he can land back to back races for the trainer jockey duo. A recent eight-pound hike in the ratings shouldn't be enough to stop him from going in again here.
He scored with any amount in hand at Nottingham and took a big step forward.
He ran the fastest overall time of all three comparative contests and clocked the fastest furlong per furlong time on the card other than one six-furlong race.
He did all this under hand and heels riding, and there are stacks more to come from him after just four outings.