THIS afternoon’s Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (3.40pm) is the next stage of the QIPCO British Champions Series and punters will be hoping for a better result than last year when the unheralded 100/1 shot
Sole Power landed the prize. Eddie Lynam’s four-year-old will be back to defend his crown and even though he has disappointed the last twice, this has been the target all year, so it would be unwise to write him off.
Hoof It is the great hope of Yorkshire, trained by legend Mick Easterby and owned by ‘Chubby’ Chandler and Lee Westwood. He is certain to go off favourite and absolutely loves the Knavesmire where he has won three of his six starts. I would definitely be backing him if he was 8/1, but he’s a best-priced 3/1 and that is just too short for a horse that doesn’t necessarily cry out Group One performer quite yet. He has also been doing all his running over six furlongs this season and the drop back to five could find him out, just as it did last year’s hot favourite Starspangledbanner.
Another local trainer Kevin Ryan was distraught when his long-term fancy for this race Bapak Chinta was ruled out due to injury on Wednesday. However, compensation awaits as I expect his progressive five-year-old MASAMAH to take all the beating this afternoon. He is three from three over course and distance, including two victories this season, and that first victory back in May was achieved in a time of 56.58 seconds, 0.16 seconds quicker than Sole Power’s Nunthorpe win 12 months ago. He then won a Group Two at Goodwood last time and is exactly the kind of battle-hardened sprinter you need for this race. At a general 8/1 he is an absolutely knocking each-way bet.
Requinto is the only two-year-old in the line-up and he gets a massive weight allowance from his elders. That said, he will never have experienced a race like this and is probably just a little too short at 8/1. The final mention must go to the
French-trained Wizz Kid, who will be extremely interesting if the rain comes. She won a Group Two at Chantilly last time, but would need the word soft to appear in the going.
The final leg of the QIPCO British Champions Series from the Knavesmire is tomorrow’s Weatherbys Insurance Lonsdale Cup (3.05pm) and brand ambassador Frankie Dettori has a fantastic chance with OPINION POLL. The son of Halling, formerly trained by Michael Jarvis, won this race last year and landed the Goodwood Cup last time. He isn’t a superstar, but is mightily consistent and I can see him having enough to beat Harris Tweed, Duncan and Blue Bajan.
The big betting event of tomorrow, and the entire meeting, is the Betfred Ebor (3.40pm) and it looks a particularly open renewal. Godolphin’s Lost In The Moment has to have a huge chance based on his second to Opinion Poll at Goodwood, but he often finds one too good. Saptapadi is another who has been running well in better company, but he has only won once in an 11-race career.
Sir Michael Stoute has his team in fine fettle and I fancy his MODUN to land this valuable handicap. He’s a hold up horse, so I’m not too worried about his draw in stall two and the form of his Goodwood second behind Arlequin was franked on Tuesday.
I’m also very sweet on FORTE DEI MARMI in the opener at Sandown (2.15pm). He won this race last year and looked like he was coming back into form at Goodwood last time.
It’s difficult to know what the weather is going to do over the next couple of days, so make sure you follow me on Twitter @BillEsdaile for all my latest updates.