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Jorvik Hcp preview

The wonderful Dante meeting kicks off at York tomorrow. Let's hope we'll be able to focus on the racing rather than a bunch of tossers brawling on the lawn after a session on the turps & nose candy!

My go at the previews for the week - why not start with the opener on day one?

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Sky Bet First Race Special Jorvik Hcp
Class 2, £50k, about 1m4f
14.20 local, 23.20 AEST

Banksea
New to this trip but on breeding and recent runs in Dubai, I can’t see it being an issue. Placed each time in his three ‘winter’ starts since being acquired by Godolphin. Dry track suits but doesn't have the killer burst of speed to put a race to bed. Has promised plenty of the years but eternally stuck high in the weight in handicaps and not quite good to step into pattern class.

Grandee
Previously trained by Jessica Harrington, likely to try a few different things to work him out in his early runs for David O’Meara. Good run at Ripon on stable debut, never turned up at Chester last week. Urged out of the gates from barrier three and was then outpaced at the 2f pole, quickly left behind. Pressing forward shouldn't have been an issue, he has led or been handy in Ireland several times before. Have to assume he didn't stay and this is more suitable.

Crowned Eagle
Ex-Gosden horse dispersed after last season, now in the hands of Marco Botti. Fought on well to claim the Rosebery at Kempton last time, leading virtually all the way and fending off multiple challengers. Plenty of support in the market that day too (10s into 6s). Up to career-best mark but should still be improving. In the mix but both trainer & jockey not finding a winner in past 14 days is a slight concern.

Island Brave
Odd to see a Zebedee out over this trip but did win (via an inquiry) last start at Newcastle over slightly further. AW specialist with just two (admittedly poor) runs on turf, at massive odds both times. But most of his runs have bern out of the traditional season, so I wouldn’t dismiss him on his turf record. Has improved 25lbs since joining Heather Main, winning five of eight. Dismiss at your peril.

Contango
Half-brother to the mighty Trending, won his first three starts then put in the worst run of his career at Epsom when resuming. Will no doubt improve for that, but Andrew Balding is ice cold at the moment - one winner from 49 runners in past fortnight. Good horse with plenty left in the tank but wait until the stable finds form again.

Hamada
Had 572 days off before winning comfortably at Wolverhampton last start. Good for plenty more. Raced against some handy ones as a 2yo so would expect there's plenty more to come from him. William Buick, flying at 29% winners in past fortnight, electing to ride is a big tick and explains why he is the clear favourite. Is it too short? The 5/2 now might be generous if there's a strong push for him tomorrow.

Now Children
Another who won nicely after a 500+ day break. That was his stable debut for Clive Cox. Can draw a formline through the third horse in that race Kelly's Dino, has also raced against Crowned Eagle recently. Resuming off such a long break, you have to be wary of a bounce factor the next time out, but he has had a mini-spell of 98 days since to counter that. Has won three of four starts, goes close.

Tuff Rock
Beaten a length by Crowned Eagle two starts back and then nosed out by a 33/1 shot at Thirsk in late April. Gets a stone off the top two here, won't be outclassed.


PACE PREDICTION - Speed moderate early, winding up at the mile. Crowned Eagle to lead, Hamada to sit on his outside. Tightly bunched in behind.

 

SUMMARY

It's either a very tough race or Hamada wins easily. Beyond him, it looks a very even field so I'll chase the value in the exotics with the three outsiders taken to run the placings.

Tricasts
1st - Hamada
2nd - Contango, Grandee & Island Brave
3rd - Contango, Grandee & Island Brave

(Total - 6 units)

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