Another day of high quality and wide variety on the Knavesmire today, to follow on from yesterday’s brilliant and intriguing fare. What was evident yesterday was the need to make your challenge slap-bang down the middle of the straight, and that will be an angle surely worth heeding in the opening 5f handicap at 1.40.
The two that I liked given the likely set-up are Count D’Orsay and Illusionist, who both have course and distance form, and were eye-catching on their recent starts. But the market has taken these suggestions on board also, and are both vying for favouritism, so I don’t quite see enough juice in their respective prices to be backing both. While, it is written in stone that if I suggest one of them, then the other will inevitably prevail!
As we go through the day, most races look tricky – as has been the theme personally, with this early season flat form. It’s potentially a time to be picking up important clues for the coming weeks I’d say. The Dante itself though, does seem to have a nice betting shape to it, as favourite High Definition has had a well-documented interrupted preparation, and could be vulnerable at a best priced 13/8.
The two that I thought could be most likely to take advantage of any shortcomings of the ante-post Derby favourite High Definition, could be Mark Johnston’s Gear Up or Jim Bolger’s Ballysax Stakes runner-up Flying Visit – but again the combined prices aren’t quite tempting enough to wade in.
One horse on the card though, who is temptingly priced is David Brown’s revelatory story of improvement, Ben Lilly. At 4/1 with Sky Bet, who again offer brilliant place terms here with five places for each-way bets, is a very solid bet to win the closing race on the card at 4.50 – Autohorn Handicap, run over an extended 2m.
Ben Lilly started out his handicap climb from a lowly mark of 52 last August, and now finds himself viewing all below him from his lofty perch of 91. In winning seven handicaps in 13 starts for David Brown, his ascent to the top of the staying handicap tree is not done with yet, as his luckless run at Hamilton 11 days ago suggested.
Sandwiched in between three hard-knocking Mark Johnston-trained handicappers that day, Kevin Stott found his run stopped at an inopportune moment, and given his finishing kick was similar to that of subsequent Chester Cup third Hochfeld, Ben Lilly will find the open galloping expanses of an extended 2m at York, right up his staying alley.
That he holds an Ascot Gold Cup entry is edging away from the fanciful category with every passing run, and at 4/1 with Sky Bet, who pay five places for each-way bets, Ben Lilly is today’s York Dante meeting bet of the day, to win the Autohorn Handicap at 4.50.