It’s a great day’s racing at York on Thursday and it all begins with a 5f handicap (2.20pm) which ranks between an Agatha Christie novel and the hardest soduku level in terms of a difficult puzzle to solve.
Mont Kiara tries a hood for the first time and narrowly tops Timeform ratings, however SOIE d’LEAU looks a good each-way bet. He’s consistent, likes soft ground, and looks well-drawn under the stands’ rail, a comment that also applies to Tumblewind who won first time out last season.
There’s a terrific renewal of the Dante Stakes follows at 3.30pm with CRACKSMAN (NON RUNNER) fancied to enhance his Derby credentials.
He had to fight hard to see off Permian in the Derby Trial at Epsom last time but was value for more than the winning distance, and the form has been boosted by Permian winning since.
His biggest danger could be Benbatl who looks the pick of the Godolphin quartert after his gallant third in the Craven Stakes when last seen. Benbatl’s dam liked soft ground and stayed well, so the signs are positive for this two furlong longer trip.
Crystal Ocean has been the gamble of the race – he’s also been well backed for the Derby – however this tall, scopey colt will find this a much tougher assignment than the Nottingham maiden he won last time.
From Nottingham to Hambleton – about 110 miles according to the AA – and a Listed contest at 4.05pm. We’re a forgiving bunch here at Timeform so we’ve taken a chance on the likes of Murad Khan, Thikriyaat and Chelsea Lad all bouncing back from poor runs when last seen.
That’s bouncing back from bad to good, unlike original ‘Chelsea Lad’ John Terry’s good to bad transition earlier this week.
SO MI DAR (non runner) whose name comes from the Alpine showtune – if the filly wins the Middleton Stakes (2.55pm) at York in the race that precedes the Dante.
Owned by Lord and Lady Webber, John Gosden’s filly won the Musidora at this meeting a year ago and, proven on soft ground, she looks the horse to beat – anything odds-against looks a good bet.
Her dam Dar Re Mi was beaten a short-head in this race in 2009 and her daughter can go one place better. So Mi Dar’s main rival is Queen’s Trust, however there are some doubts over the ground and the penalty that she carries for her win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf in November may make life too tough.