As well as being named Racecourse of the Year nine times since 2000, York has also acted as stand-in for some of the calendars biggest events. The Knavesmire venue stepped in to host Royal Ascot in 2005, and replaced Doncaster as the venue for the 2006 St Leger. However, York is one of the country’s premier venues in its own right. Home to the UK’s richest handicap, the £1 million Ebor Handicap in August, as well as the Grade 1 Yorkshire Oaks, Juddmonte International and Nunthorpe Stakes, York has also thrust future Derby winners into the limelight having tasted victory in the Dante Stakes. A very fair course, the cream often rises to the top at York.
Being slowly away around Chester is never going to be helpful, and that’s what Richard Fahey’s gelding found out at the May Festival, failing to land a blow. Prior to that run he had put up a trio of good performances in defeat this season, going close at Newcastle and Redcar, with the winner in the latter second in a competitive event next time. The handicapper hasn’t relented much with his mark, but he looks likely to run a race on ground that tends to suit, and at a solid each-way price he looks a great Win and Place bet.
David O’Meara’s filly has been holding her own against the mares over the middle distances and staying trips of late and getting weight from the males she looks the one to beat in this Listed event. She went down on her sword in the Daisy Warwick Stakes at Goodwood, only just losing out in the final strides to Alpinista, before putting up another good effort over Saturday’s course and distance. She looks rock solid, with the trip and ground no issue, whereas of her rivals Roberto Escobar needs to prove he stays this far, while Ranch Hand is arguably better with a bit of cut.
Two runs at 6f this term have yielded excellent results for Richard Fahey’s colt, firstly getting to within a couple of lengths of Twilight Spinner who went on to hack up in the Cecil Frail Stakes next time, before bolting up himself in the mud at Catterick. He beat a horse rated 77 by 9l that day without the need to be fully extended, so there’s hope for this opening handicap mark of 85. Saturday’s ground will be quicker than those two runs, but he did run on a good surface for his opening two career runs, finishing third, a length behind subsequent Group 3 winner Umm Kulthum on one of those. With that in the book, there’s plenty of hope for a return to a sounder surface.
This 4yo has been flying since joining Grant Tuer’s yard from Mark Johnston with three seconds and two wins from six outings. A step up to a mile after a break seems to have eked out more with a brace of victories, latterly showing dogged determination to stay in front at Thirsk. The runner-up confirmed that form with another bold showing next time so off just a 2lb higher mark in similar conditions, there’s no reason Lion Tower can’t go in again. His trainer is operating at a 50% strike-rate in the last fortnight, so with horse and handler in full flow, he’ll do for us in this 9f contest.
About York Racecourse
The Racecourse | Yorkshire | United KingdomVisit York