Four To Follow: Money Makes Gold

The Dante Festival signals the return of the season at York Racecourse. Oaks and Derby trials take place here each week and the racing public pay close attention as often they produce those who find Epsom gold. We kick off the week with two cracking handicaps, a fantastic group sprint race and the Musidora for a midweek Four to Follow.


Champ Of The Knavesmire

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2:15 – Jorvik Handicap – Marhaba The Champ @ 4/1 (General)

Northern trainers all do well at York. The Dante and Ebor Festivals are always targeted by those big yards that train in Yorkshire.

Kevin Ryan is one such individual. Last year Marhaba The Champ won twice on the Knavesmire, during the Dante and Ebor meetings. This horse has been well-targeted to run at those two meetings, and don’t be surprised if he is again this season. Despite some rain, the ground is holding up and can dry out quickly at York, which can bring up win number three for Marhaba.

Chillingham comes into this race with a great looking handicap mark. He’s been dropped a pound for placing within a length last time out at Ripon, which seems really odd. Despite some near misses on soft ground recently, he has won on firmer once before. The ground should suit and he should be able to make a rather lenient, yet light, drop in the handicap work. 8/1 (BetVictor, Betfred, Boylesports).

Saratoga Gold hasn’t had the best of times running since winning at Kempton last year. He also unseated his rider during the Queen Mother Cup at York last year as well. However, he has won on firmer ground over the distance and further. Plus a mark of 88 looks good, considering he’s drawn on the rail. Shortest route to take at 25/1 (General).


Going For Gold

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2:45 – Churchill Tyres Handicap – Aberama Gold @ 11/1 (William Hill)

Sprint handicaps at York cannot be beat. So many familiar names turn up and you just sit back and enjoy. Former Steward’s Cup winner Aberama Gold after three wins in big handicaps last season. He is starting to get back into his groove after fishing third at the Craven meeting and the handicapper has dropped him a pound after his last run at the Guineas meeting. This puts him on his last winning mark, and the ground should be to his liking. He’s also drawn near the pace too which makes him a great bet.

Great Ambassador also looks to be well handicapped for this race. Last season he was mostly see in Group races, but he’s back down to a mark of 97. He won a handicap at Newmarket off that figure on firm ground as well. Plenty of speed should suit him drawn in the middle at 10, drawn next to Hispanic, so could we see him back to winning ways for the first time since 2021? A nice each-way bet at 14/1 (General).

Monsieur Kodi also looks interesting for Richard Fahey. He found no luck in running at Ripon last time out and the handicapper has dropped him. He was narrowly beaten off a mark of 85 so things might go well for him a pound lower in the weights. He’s stepped back up to a more comfortable six furlongs and won’t mind what ground he gets. Great each-way price at 18/1 (BetVictor, Boylesports).


A-Zure Bet

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3:15 –1895 Duke Of York Stakes (Group Two) – Azure Blue @ 6/1 (William Hill)

This is one of the best Group races already this season. Plenty of action and plenty who hold chances. But I’m sticking with the favourite. With Art Power carrying a penalty, and Azure Blue with an allowance, the latter is the top rated in the field. Having won this race last season and acting well at the start of the season. She goes well fresh, so her price makes her look more attractive.

Washington Heights shockingly won the Abernant. Trainer Kevin Ryan says that he won’t want too much rain, and with firm still in the going, he has every chance to shock them again. Washington Heights has always raced well at York, only beaten twice both by a head. With a horse that won last time out, acts on the ground and a like for the course, 10/1 (General) is a great price.

Let’s not forget there are a couple of Group One winners in this field. One of them being Khaadem. He begins his defence of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes after winning at 80/1. He enjoys six furlongs better than five, and firm ground. With all of that in mind, a price of 18/1 (BetVictor) doesn’t take into account his Group One pedigree.


What My Friends Call Me…

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3:45 – Musidora Stakes (Group Three) – Friendly Soul @ Evs (William Hill, BetVictor)

John & Thady Gosden sent last year’s Musidora/Oaks winner Soul Sister off at 18/1. This time they have been found out with an exceptional horse. Friendly Soul routed the field in the Pretty Polly, beating the well-fancied Kalpana in the process and looked like she might go further. Her breeding suggests that this might be her limit, but don’t knock it until you try. She looks tailor-made for the Musidora.

The very best of luck!

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