ARGUABLY the most intriguing race of the opening day is the fiercely competitive 17-runner two-mile handicap (4.15pm).
Plenty of old favourites feature among the final declarations headed by dual Royal Ascot winner Oriental Fox.
Ralph Beckett’s horses have been under a bit of a cloud recently, but his first runners for some time have run well this week meaning I’m prepared to give MAGIC CIRCLE another chance.
The five-year-old failed to see out the monster 2m4f Ascot Stakes trip having previously run well in the Chester Cup.
Any rain that falls will help his chances and his best run last season came when winning here last July.
He has been dropped 1lb by the handicapper and is worth support at 5/1 with 188BET.
At an even bigger price I’m also keen to have a few quid each-way on Ian Jardine’s SHREWD who was second in last year’s Ebor off a 2lb higher mark.
Things haven’t quite gone to plan since but Connor Murtagh takes off a valuable 7lbs and with his stable in great form he can go well at 12/1.
Finally, if you haven’t backed a winner by the time the 20-runner finale (4.50pm) comes about, it may be best to head for the exits.
It’s an old adage that you should always back the topweight in the nursery and plenty will stick with the Frankie-Dettori ridden Etefaaq who brings the best form to the table.
However, I prefer the chances of Kevin Ryan’s SAVALAS with over a stone less in the saddle.
Ryan is a master at plundering valuable pots at this meeting and this son of Zebedee looks unexposed.
Magic Circle e/w 4.15pm York
Shrewd e/w 4.15pm York
Savalas e/w 4.50pm York