York - Friday 8th October
York 3.15 Handicap - Class 2 - 1 mile - 20 run - Soft
A competitive race but I think at this stage of the season with mainly tired horses it's best to look as always at Course and Going form but also to try to pinpoint horses who have run well at this Meeting and at this stage of the season in the past.
There are obvious dangers like CHALLET a Course and Distance winner 14 days, but this is a Class higher and just a niggle about the soft Going form of this one. Hartswood looks like going off favourite, it is a Course specialist winning off 86 and placing off marks of 92 and 94, it runs off a mark of 95 here and a 70 day break and the softer than ideal Going just put me off at the price. Fame and Acclaim has won on Soft and Heavy in Ireland is on a nice mark and whilst I'm not sure if stall 1 is particularly a positive, it should make a bold bid and run it's race.
I narrowly left Ouzo out of the final picks. Richard Hannon's horse won this race last year off a mark of 92, back to that mark again today, but not quite in 2020 form recently and that just put me off.
My pair against the field are ORBAAN and SHELIR both trained by David O'Meara.
ORBAAN is a Course and Distance winner and is drawn in Stall 18 and should enjoy a nice run down the middle of the track as a result once they turn in. It;s a long old straight and the horse has good form on Good to Soft and softer and some solid Autumn form too. SHELIR was 3rd in this race in 2020 and although not any better off at the weights with Ouzo on the form book does get the benefit of cheek-pieces here and I expect a very strong run.
TRACKERS - Orbaan + Shelir
York 4.20 Handicap - 5 furlongs - Class 3 - 20 run - Going Soft
This is over the minimum 5 furlongs but the Going may just blunt the speed of the out and out speedsters and Soft Going can also bring extremes of the Draw (high and low) more into play.
There aren't too many who tick all of the Going, Course and Draw boxes and I narrowed it down to 4 horses.
Old Muscika won this race at 40/1 last year when many considered it regressive and pretty much a spent force. Indeed the Trainer could offer no explanation at the time for the improved run and it has not really backed that up since. Lightning could indeed strike twice and I may have been tempted into a shrapnel bet had it been 33/1 or higher again but at the odds around 10-12/1 I can leave it alone. I fear SPOOF more and that would be the reserve if a non runner in the following pair.
My pair against the field are JABBAROCKIE drawn highest of all in Stall 20, a winner off marks of 93 and 96 in the spring, no ground concerns and is 1lb below that last winning mark, a type who strikes me as being most potent and the start and end of a season from a Yard I always associate with soft ground horses.
ILLUSIONIST is drawn in Stall 12 and another whose best form is with cut in the ground, back to 5 furlongs and one who may have been outpaced on summer ground but it was 3rd behind Muscika in this race last year and again has an excellent each way chance.
TRACKERS - Jaddarockie + Illusionist