Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with five to follow on Saturday at York and Sandown. View selections below
A wonderful day’s racing with the richest flat handicap in Europe the Ebor Handicap at York the feature but with quality flat and jumps racing across Britain and Ireland.
The defection of top-weight Quest For More allows Clondaw Warrior, owned in partnership by the wife of Irish jump jockey Ruby Walsh, in at the foot of the weights and Frankie Dettori takes the mount looking for his second win in the race having ridden Hidden Foe to success in 2012.
The 8-year-old has won the Ascot Stakes over 20f and a Galway Handicap over 12f in his last couple of starts and is only 10lbs higher than when scoring at the Royal meeting back in June. He must have a leading chance and from stall one will be hard to beat if Dettori can get into a decent position from the off.
Aidan O’Brien saddled the last 3-year-old to win the race courtesy of Mediterranean back in 2001and his Fields Of Athenry has long been at the top of my short-list but confidence is tempered by the fact that he must race from the worst of the draw and 5lb claimer Donnacha O’Brien, son of the trainer, will have a very difficult task trying to get the 3-year-old into a decent position especially as the winners, over the first two days, have tended to have raced prominently so far this Ebor meeting.
Pat Cosgrave must not let Arabian Comet (3.45) get too far back from her draw in stall two but she represents a red-hot trainer William Haggas has run two cracking races on her only previous starts on the Knavesmire and will be desperate for a truly run race.
There are not many confirmed front-runners in the race but the Mark Johnston pair of Watersmeet and Notarised are likely to be in the van and the long straight will be to her advantage. At 20/1 with BetVictor she gets the each way vote for proud Yorkshiremen William Haggas who has saddled four winners over the first two days of the meeting but never landed the Ebor.
The Melrose is another top class handicap over the Ebor C&D but exclusively for the classic generation. Hernandoshideaway will enjoy the cut in the ground but is 7lbs higher than when beating the disappointing Penhill at Pontefract last time. He is reluctantly, overlooked in favour of the lightly-raced Wonder Laish (2.35) who has not been seen on the track since winning a modest Lingfield (turf) maiden by 15L back in the spring.
The selection is 10/1 at BetVictor and is another each way recommendation; it is possible that inexperience/rustiness might beat him today but I am sure there is a lot more to come from the, yet again, William Haggas trained colt.
This year’s Champion sprinter Muhaarer won the Gimcrack under a penalty last year and Coventry Stakes winner Buratino bids to emulate the feat. Only one favourite has won the race in the last decade, however, and with a bit of cut in the ground I am going to suggest Ode To Evening (3.10) can out-run his odds at 16/1 with BetVictor.
The each way recommendation ran away with a Ripon maiden before finishing a creditable fifth behind Buratino at the Royal meeting when he looked ill at ease on the rattling fast ground.
I know it’s another Haggas horse but I was very impressed with Ornate (4.20) at Ripon last month and this half-brother to Gp 2 winner Saayer must go close. It might be worth noting that the Ripon maiden that Ornate won went to the stable’s Gp One winning juvenile Rosdhu Queen back in 2012.
At Sandown Montalcino (1.45) can land the opening Atalanta Stakes for Brian Meehan and reverse previous C&D form with Blond Me as long as jockey Tom Queally doesn’t get too far back from his plum draw in stall one. He might need luck in running on the filly who represents the classic generation who have won the race nine times in the last decade.