Saturday’s Betfred Ebor (3.45pm) is always one of the summer’s toughest handicaps, with this year’s renewal certainly no exception.
In the absence of Northumberland Plate winner Quest For More due to the ground we’ve got 108-rated Havana Beat topping the weights for the £275,000 mile and three quarter contest, with bookmakers fearing the Irish-trained trio of Fields Of Athenry, Quick Jack and Clondaw Warrior.
Having scraped into the race as first reserve, literally creeping in by the width of a fine coat of paint, I’m hoping it’s the last named among that group of visitors, the Willie Mullins-trained Clondaw Warrior, who can make his good fortune count.
Stablemate Max Dynamite powered home in Friday’s Group 2 Lonsdale Cup, and the Mullins-Dettori combination could again be seen to good effect.
The exciting eight-year-old is already the winner of five flat races as well as three bumpers, with his big race haul including a Leopardstown November Handicap, June’s Ascot Stakes under Ryan Moore, plus the valuable Guinness Handicap at Galway last time out.
His in-form rider can help him overcome a tricky draw in stall one, the only obvious negative given that he goes on any ground, has bottom weight and possesses guaranteed stamina.
Some firms (definitely bet365) will be paying five places – back him each way.
Looking for a double on a cracking day’s sport at York I’ll also be backing American raider Finnegan, who lines up under Edgar Prado in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes (3.10pm).
He scorched home last time he saw the racecourse, bolting up at Pimlico in mid-May.
Trainer Wesley Ward knows all about arriving on these shores to cherry pick big prizes, and this lightning quick colt could have even more to give up in trip here.
Lastly, there are a couple of valuable National Hunt cards for those of you who prefer your action over the sticks, one of which comes from Perth.
Their big prize is the Crabbie’s STV Appeal Summer Handicap Hurdle (6.05pm), a £20,000 two miler which can go the way of doubly represented Newmarket trainer John Ferguson.
His five-year-old Commissioned keeps the weights down, and that can aid stablemate Ittirad as he bids for a four-timer.
Already successful this summer at Uttoxeter and Newton Abbot, Perth’s right-handed flat track will be ideal for him, and this former 90-rated Flat horse can make it win number seven over timber.
Saturday’s best bets:
3.10 York – Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes – 4 Finnegan (win) @ 11/4 with Paddy Power
3.45 York – Betfred Ebor (Hcap) – 21 Clondaw Warrior (each way) 2 6/1 with bet365
6.05 Perth – Crabbie’s STV Appeal Summer Handicap Hurdle – 2 Ittirad (win)