WE’VE seen it all before with Charlie Hills’ runners in this afternoon’s Acomb Stakes (2.25pm).
Both Dutch Connection (2014) and Phoenix Of Spain (2018) made the 400-mile round trip from Lambourn to York worthwhile by landing this Group Three prize and Hills looks to have every chance of adding another with PERSUASION.
Overlooked by most at 16/1 on his debut at Goodwood three weeks ago, the son of Acclamation travelled smoothly and showed a great turn of foot to win by half a length despite getting off to a slow start.
Mambo Nights, six lengths back in sixth that day, has since given grounds for optimism over that piece of form having finished a neck second in a Newbury maiden last week.
Admittedly, dangers lurk wherever you look in a race like this, with seven of the other nine runners winning last time out.
Also lining up is Harpocrates, second on his most recent start, who boasts a fifth in the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot won by the best two-year-old we’ve seen this season, Pinatubo.
This is clearly a very strong renewal of the Acomb and my selection has a lot more on his plate this time, but there was enough to like about his debut to suggest he could be a proper Group horse.
There’s no chance of getting any fancy double-figure prices again but he still looks a nice bet at 4/1 with Coral.
The Group Two Great Voltigeur Stakes (3.00pm) looks like Logician’s to lose but it’s hard to get excited at just 5/4.
The unbeaten son of Frankel has gone from strength-to-strength this season and couldn’t have been much more impressive under Frankie Dettori at Newbury last time out.
He’s had a nice break since and should be hard to beat, with the big race jockey set to do the steering once again.
However, this represents a significant step up in class against more battle- hardened horses.
The first and second home in the Group Three Gordon Stakes, Nayef Road and Constantinople, have some very solid form in the book and will make Logician work hard.
The Sky Bet And Symphony Group Handicap (1.55pm) kicks off the meeting and Dakota Gold will be hard to beat if repeating his effort from the weekend.
Michael Dods’ five-year-old was very impressive in the Great St Wilfrid and will surely go close under a penalty, but connections have said he is happier on a softer surface, so given that’s unlikely, as well as the fact he’s only 9/2 with Coral, I’m prepared to take him on.
There’s obviously plenty in with chances in what looks a typically competitive York handicap, but only a few have good form at the track.
Declan Carroll’s JUSTANOTHERBOTTLE is one of those and he looks a solid each-way bet at 12/1.
The son of Intense Focus didn’t show his best on his first two starts this season but showed signs of coming back to his old self when a good fifth in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood last time.
He’s been dropped a pound for that run and has shown his liking for this type of race at York before with a number of good performances.
A mark of 96 looks very fair given he finished second in the 2018 Stewards’ Cup off 5lbs higher, while the booking of James Doyle catches the eye.
Justanotherbottle e/w 1.55pm York
Persuasion 2.25pm York