he Yorkshire Oaks is the most prestigious event on the second day on the Knavesmire but the one-mile Clipper Logistics Handicap is the race most punters will be eager to solve and it is a deep and fascinating puzzle.
Only a handful of the 19 runners can be safely discounted and while Top Rank, the unbeaten favourite, has looked like a Group horse in handicaps on his last two starts, this is by far his most difficult assignment and his mark is up 12lb since his latest outing.
Montatham and Prompting both offer strong handicap form while Sir Busker met all sorts of trouble behind Prompting in the Golden Mile at Goodwood last time and could still be on a winning mark. Firmament is a multiple course-and-distance winner, too, but at the prices, Walhaan (2.45) could be the most attractive bet at around 16-1.
He did not show much behind Montatham in the Hunt Cup on his debut for Ian Williams in June but stayed on strongly to finish an eye-catching second from well off the pace at Ascot last month. The time of that race was strong and River Nymph, the winner, went in again next time out.
York 1.45 Sacred’s close second in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot is the best form on offer and her pedigree suggests six furlongs will not be a problem. Slower ground is an unknown though and 2-1 is a short price given the long list of potential improvers in opposition. Noorban overcame a very slow start to win with plenty to spare on her debut at Beverley earlier this month and is a big price at around 16-1 to make the frame at least.
York 2.15 As always there is a wide range of abilities on show in this valuable event for graduates of last year’s Goffs Premier Sale. Devious Company is an obvious favourite after finishing second in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood but, as in the opener, the odds make little appeal in such a big field of juveniles. Uncle Jumbo, who stopped the clock in a very useful time for a debutant at Doncaster in mid-June, could certainly find enough improvement to make an impact and Ryan Moore is an eye-catching booking for Kevin Ryan’s gelding, available overnight at around 9-1.
Thursday’s tips, by Greg Wood
Windsor1.20 Mark Of Respect1.55 Red Carpet Queen2.25 Breakfast Club2.55 Zim Baby3.25 Liam’s Lass3.55 Arij4.30 Mac Ailey5.05 Petit Bay5.35 John Locke6.05 Prince Alex
York1.45 Noorban2.15 Uncle Jumbo (nb)2.45 Walhaan (nap)3.15 Love3.45 Sea Of Faith4.20 Rhoscolyn4.50 Dancing Vega
Chester3.50 Iconic Queen4.25 Wrenthorpe4.55 Revich5.25 Hereby6.00 Spright6.30 Danzan7.00 Roundhay Park7.30 Bossipop8.00 Future Investment
York 3.15 With Enable rerouted to Kempton next month, the Group One Yorkshire Oaks looks very much like an open goal for Love, who has been at the top of the betting for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe ever since her emphatic success in the Oaks in early July. Frankly Darling is the only Epsom also-ran taking her on again but has 10 lengths to find with the odds-on favourite, so Jessica Harrington’s One Voice, a close second in the Nassau at Goodwood last time, could be the one to give her most to do.
York 3.45 Sea Of Faith has not seen a racecourse since this time last year, when she took a handicap at Salisbury off 95, but she looked likely to develop into a useful middle-distance performer there and this Listed contest is an ideal starting point for her four-year-old season.