Aidan O’Brien has won three of the last 10 runnings of the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (3.40pm) – and a strong hand of entries suggests he’s keen on landing the prize again today.
The Irish trainer has four entered in the Group One race, with Found, Seventh Heaven, Pretty Perfect and Even Song making up a quarter of the field going to post.
O’Brien’s main hope Found will quite rightly go off a short price favourite on the Knavesmire having run well in defeat this season.
She was beaten just a neck in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot back in June and was unfortunate to bump into Postponed in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.
This daughter of Galileo can also boast a win at the Curragh this season, and if she could match the form she showed in the Breeders’ Cup Turf when beating Golden Horn, she’d be a foregone conclusion.
But that’s not a given and Found is just too short for me at a general 7/4. She’s the most likely winner, but has been targeted at this race late on and I would prefer to look elsewhere.
Instead, I will be siding with another Irish raider, the Jim Bolger-trained TURRET ROCKS, who will be bidding to give him his second successive win in the race and his fourth in total.
The filly finished a respectable sixth on her seasonal reappearance in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket behind an O’Brien 1-2-3 of Minding, Ballydoyle and Alice Springs.
She found the ground softer than ideal when putting in a disappointing run at Epsom in the Oaks next time out, before finishing a respectable fourth in the Irish version last month.
This daughter of Fastnet Rock also finished second in the Prix Marcel Boussac last autumn, just over a length behind Ballydoyle.
If she can get back to her best form again here, she’ll go close. Especially as the quicker ground at York this week is sure to suit, as is this trip.
Bolger’s yard has been firing in the winners of late and the generally available 40/1 looks far too big.
Irish trainers certainly hold a strong hand in this race, but Charlie Appleby looks to have the best chance of the British.
Appleby’s Endless Time has won six of his previous eight races, including on his seasonal reappearance last month, and seems sure to run his race under William Buick.
Earlier on the card, I’ll be backing CHIL THE KITE to kick start the day in the tricky-looking Clipper Logistics Stakes (3.05pm).
Hughie Morrison’s seven-year-old won the race last year at a big price and runs off the same mark again today with jockey George Baker taking the ride.
He likes to sit off the pace, so being drawn in stall 19 isn’t an issue, and the faster the race is run the better. He’s proven over course and distance and Betway’s 16/1 looks generous.
Like most of these big-race handicaps, there are a number of entries in with chances and it’s worth looking at runners who have previously proved they can handle the track.
Alfred Hutchinson was beaten just a head into second last year and it would be no surprise to see him go close again.
Chil The Kite e/w, 3.05pm York
Turret Rocks e/w, 3.40pm York