THIS afternoon’s Nunthorpe Stakes (3.40pm) is the pinnacle of the season for sprinters and forms the next round of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Sole Power produced one of the biggest shocks in the race’s history three years ago when landing the prize at an astonishing 100/1, but he has since gone on to prove that he is a top class Group One horse.
However, although he managed to collar South African sprinter SHEA SHEA right on the line in the King’s Stand at Ascot, I think he might struggle to confirm those placings today.
Mike De Kock has never hidden how highly he rates this son of National Emblem and that faith was rewarded with two powerful displays at Meydan in the spring which saw the track record smashed twice in back-to-back outings.
He then ran a stormer at Ascot after a long break before finishing a respectable fourth in the July Cup, over a trip which isn’t ideal. He is undoubtedly better over five furlongs and everything looks right for him this afternoon. The majority of the fancied horses are drawn low and I expect Frankie Dettori to sit and pounce late on. Take the 7/2 with Coral.
John Gosden’s Swiss Spirit has a good chance, but he is something of an unlucky horse and a place may be the best he can hope for.
The only other bet I will be striking this afternoon is Sir Michael Stoute’s PAVLOSK in the Strensall Stakes (3.05pm). She ran really well at Goodwood over an inadequate seven furlongs last time and this step up to nine is exactly what she needs.
For some Yorkshire folk this meeting is about just one race, tomorrow’s Betfred Ebor Handicap (3.50pm). It is always one of the fiercest betting heats on the calendar, yet it is the bookies who have held sway in recent years.
The last four winners have been double-figure prices, including two 25/1 shots. And you only need to go back to 2006 when Mudawin pulled off a huge upset, landing this valuable prize at 100/1.
Some kind of chance can be given to all 20 runners, but the two I am going to concentrate on are TROPICAL BEAT and TED VEALE.
The former used to be trained by Gosden but has since moved to David O’Meara and this excellent handler has shown in the past how he can improve horses from other yards.
The son of Beat Hollow ran well on his first start for 11 months at Musselburgh a few weeks ago and he looks well-handicapped. Coral’s 20/1 is a more than fair each-way price.
Tony Martin is having a fantastic summer and it has to be of interest that he’s bringing Ted Veale over from Ireland for this. The County Hurdle winner at Cheltenham was sent off favourite for last month’s Galway Hurdle and he is running off an attractive looking mark back on the flat.
The five-year-old won at Bellewstown two days ago to guarantee his place in this and he must be supported at 10/1 with Coral.
Finally, don’t miss HAVANA COOLER in the Melrose Stakes (2.40pm). Luca Cumani is always to be feared in these races and this looks to have been the plan all season with Ryan Moore booked.
PAVLOSK 3.05pm York (today)
SHEA SHEA 3.40pm York (today)
HAVANA COOLER 2.40pm York (tomorrow)
TROPICAL BEAT e/w 3.50pm York (tomorrow)
TED VEALE e/w 3.50pm York (tomorrow)