WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides a preview and an ante-post each-way selection for the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday 25th September.
|Hard To Fault||20/1||each-way
Date of Tips: 21/08/2021
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (08:25 21/08/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
For the first three days of York’s Ebor Festival, we’ve been able to consistently predict the ground, due to a fair forecast and unwatered turf, which feels like something of a rarity at the moment, as most of the big festivals have been plagued by uncertain forecasts and then more than expected rainfall.
Today’s signature Sky Bet Ebor Handicap meeting is a different story however, as varying amounts of rain are forecast, mainly later in the day. So, with that in mind, I have left the later stages of the card alone, but have three fancies in the three-year-old’s Ebor – the Sky Bet Melrose Handicap at 2.25.
Yes, you read that correct… three fancies. All are 20/1 or bigger, and with bookmakers who offer 6 places, so all we would need is one to hit that frame to get our money back, and I’d be slightly disappointed if at least one of them didn’t go very close.
All three are inflated prices for being trained by slightly less fashionable trainers, when it comes to the big three-year-old staying races. Ballydoyle, Lambourn and Newmarket trainers are well represented at the head of the market, but these three are trained by brilliant handlers in their own right.
When it comes to the York Ebor Festival, there is no more relevant trainer than Tim Easterby at the moment, and he will be hopeful of keeping the prize nearby with Hard To Fault, who is 20/1 with Paddy Power.
Hard To Fault’s win in his third novice run reads very well, as both the second and the well beaten third have won handicaps next time out. Last time, at Newcastle, he was inconvenienced by a slow pace and inadequate trip.
Stepped up to 1m6f and back on turf, he can resume his progression, and his sire Harzand went well with dig in the ground, should it get wet.
Ravenscraig Castle is another overpriced progressive young stayer who won’t mind what the weather does, and gives Iain Jardine a live chance of winning the three-year-old version of the Ebor, that he so famously won with Nakeeta in 2017.
At 20/1 with Betfair Sportsbook, Ravenscraig Castle has won both his handicap starts with any amount in hand, since being gelded, and has at least as much progression in him as some of market leaders.
A big strapping grey son of Nathaniel, who is another sire who handled softer ground in his career, Ravenscraig Castle comes from a fine staying family, and shouldn’t be such a big price to continue his rapid improvement today.
The third and final dart comes from another more northerly based yard, in the shape of David O’Meara’s North Yorkshire-trained Charging Thunder. It is more the dam side of the pedigree this time that produces the stamina-laden quality that Charging Thunder has shown to date, and will need in spades today.
At a whopping 28/1 with William Hill, he was very strong at the finish in a four-runner handicap at Pontefract over 1m4f, and can appreciate the step up to 1m6f. His dam has produced three-time Melbourne Cup placed Prince Of Arran and also the strong staying mare Makawee for owner/breeders Geoff and Sandra Turnbull, who runs in the Ebor today.
It’s a slightly different betting methodology for this busy Saturday, but one that I’m hoping will bear fruit, with three each-way selections at 20/1, 20/1 and 28/1. All in on the Sky Bet Melrose Handicap at 2.25!