2.00 6f Class 5 Handicap – Round The Island 16/1
Hasn’t looked in the best of form this season but scratching beneath the surface, it doesn’t look as bad as it seems, in his career he’s yet to win at any trip apart from his optimum 6 furlongs, from his 5 runs this season, he’s only had 2 runs at 6 and one of those was in a class 4 where he also hasn’t been successful in any class above 5 in his career, so that leaves him with just the one run this year at his optimum conditions and even in that he was better than the bare form reads, he was slow away which is a trait but as a result he was caught wide and covered more ground than anyone, plus on soft ground is even more of a disadvantage, the race wasn’t run to suit and was given an easy ride when his path was cut into the straight, so it’s easy to put a line through that effort last month. Today there’s a lot in favour for this gelding to turn things around, his record over this C&D in class 5 or less company reads 61414118, he’s a huge 10lbs under his last last winning mark he recorded here in September and the pace of the race is ideal with plenty of early speed with John Clare, Tricky Dicky, Scuzeme and Gullane One all likely to set up and frantic race and set it up for a closer like Round The Island.
2.30 6f Class 2 Conditions – Toro Strike 9/2
Easily the best bred colt in the field, no doubt bred for a mile but at this point in his career the 6f looks ideal, his sire Toronado won over 6f as a 2yo before becoming a double Group 1 winner at a mile which included the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot, the dam herself was smart and won a Group 3 over a mile in America and was also a runner up in a Group 1 and a halfsister to Group 1 winners Visionaire & Tara’s Tango, also the dams sire Smart Strike sired superstar Curlin who notched up 7 Group 1 victories, so a pedigree to certainly get excited over. Toro Strike scored when last seen in a maiden at Thirsk which doesn’t look the strongest of races and he had to work hard to get the victory but with his potential and the plus of a more testing track I predict he could again be hard to pass. Trainer Richard Fahey has won this race in the past and has a good record at the course and a small positive level stake profit.
7.45 6f Class 2 Handicap – Ice Age 5/1
Record over this C&D reads 41334111 the latest was in this race last year off a mark of 103, while not totally disgraced, he’s yet to win since but the majority has been in some tough races of tough marks, he’s been slipping down the handicap this year and nearly took advantage off this mark in a competitive Directors Cup Handicap at Ripon last month, he was first of his group of those that ran stands side but was beaten by Hyperfocus by a short head who raced far side, the form has been boosted with the 3rd and 4th both 1st and 2nd in a strong York class 2 handicap since and plus other winners have come out the race since that was further back. Ice Age has ridden again since but not just a bad start but also over a sharp 5 furlongs clearly not suiting and can be forgiven, today’s return to 6 furlongs is perfect along with ground conditions and he’s a healthy 6lbs lighter than last years success from a similar draw, there’s also a distinct lack of pace also which will be a big benefit for the usual front runner.