Naadirr value in Charity Sprint
Channel 4 Racing commentator Simon Holt previews Saturday's action and fancies Naadirr at York.
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NAADIRR, a horse who looked on the cusp of Group quality when narrowly held by Jersey Stakes candidate Musical Comedy in a Listed race at Newbury last month, is fancied to confirm that promise by taking the competitive BetBright Charity Sprint at York on Saturday.
Marco Botti's colt, an unchallenged winner at Kempton over seven furlongs as a two-year-old, has run two solid races this season, chasing home Magnus Maximus and Toofi (now rated 102) at the Newmarket Craven meeting and then having several much higher rated rivals behind him in the aforementioned Newbury contest.
Quite deservedly, Naadirr has taken a rise in the weights for that effort but this could well be his last handicap appearance and victory would be a great boost for jockey Martin Harley who has only recently returned to action after suffering a neck injury in a horrendous fall on the Lingfield all-weather.
The other most obviously progressive horses in the field - but all currently on offer at shorter odds - are Danzeno, Betimes and Eastern Impact.
Danzeno, a horse with great scope, went up 11lb for slamming Expert by three lengths on his return to action at Newmarket in April. There could easily be so much more to come, though a line through the runner-up suggests he may have little in hand over Eastern Impact who had Expert back in sixth when also winning at Newmarket last time.
Eastern Impact was raised just 5lb for that success and has performed well on his last two starts following a disappointing reappearance over just five furlongs at Thirsk in April.
However, the one who could quite easily be too good is Betimes who was dropped back to this trip last time after finishing down the field in the 1000 Guineas first time out.
John Gosden's filly put up a creditable effort to split useful performers Aeolus and Parbold in a listed race at Haydock but arguably ought to have done better as she pulled very hard in the early stages.
Clearly, Betimes will need to become much more professional if she's to confirm the undoubted promise she showed when bolting up in a Lingfield maiden last December and Robert Havlin is tasked with trying to persuade her to switch off here
The other runner that catches the eye is the William Haggas-trained Royal Mezyan aboard whom Oisin Murphy is an eyecatching booking.
Sixth in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot a year ago, this son of Royal Applause then made short work of modest opposition over five furlongs here a month later and was then absent before finishing unplaced in the Cornwallis Stakes back at Ascot.
Royal Mezyan, who is joined here by stable companion Zaraee - a promising dual winner as a juvenile - is clearly useful but the lack of a recent run, and lack of action generally in the last 11 months, is just a bit off putting.
This is always an exciting three-year-old sprint but, at double-figure odds, Naadirr looks attractive before hopefully going onto better things.