He's been in a sizzling run of form of late and Simon Holt has three bets for day one of the Sky Bet Ebor Festival.
1pt win Makanah in 1.50 York at 11/1 (Coral)
1pt win Deauville Legend in 3.00 York at 7/2 (General)
1pt win Frankenstella in 4.10 York at 10/1 (General)
DEAUVILLE LEGEND has been a hugely progressive middle-distance stayer this season and can earn a possible tilt at the Melbourne Cup by winning the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes at York on Wednesday.
This son of Sea The Stars, a full brother to the smart Sea La Rosa, very much caught the eye when scoring at Windsor first time out back in April and then showed much improvement in the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot where, after being forced to switch out wide, he stayed on powerfully and just failed to reel in the re-opposing Secret State.
The latter was giving 4lb that day and has since defied the handicapper again at Goodwood, but Deauville Legend has done more, idling in front when beating Al Qareem and Walk Of Stars in the Bahrain Trophy before progressing once again (according to the official handicapper) at Goodwood where he chased home the St Leger favourite New London under a penalty in the Gordon Stakes.
Secret State has gone up a stone since winning at Ascot but the selection, a gelding who is not qualified to run in the final Classic at Doncaster, is up 22lb and must be fancied to turn the tables now.
Later on, FRANKENSTELLA can maintain her decent record at York in the Sky Bet Stayers Handicap.
John Quinn's mare could well be a bit fragile as she has raced only once in the last 15 months, but she reappeared to chase home the useful Ahorsewithnoname and Master Milliner (now 10lb worse off) over this course and distance in May.
A winner here in September, 2020, Frankenstella was coming with a strong-looking run here again in May of last year only to be squeezed out approaching the final furlong and then made amends when beating Rajinsky (now 11lb higher) in the mud at Haydock.
If the forecasted showers prompts a small going change, James Sullivan's mount is capable of taking some beating off just a 4lb higher mark and with blinkers re-fitted.
Normally, my inclination is to avoid York sprint handicaps like the plague but MAKANAH has been running very well of late and, while it's a complete guess whether stall one is the place to be, he looks bound to run well in the opening Sky Bet And Symphony Group Handicap.
Overall, high numbers have been doing best here in the last couple of seasons but a shower or two on watered ground could change the emphasis and this seven-year-old seems as good as ever judged on a bold show in the Stewards Cup over six furlongs at Goodwood last time when he led the massive field until just over a furlong out, and his previous fourth behind Friday's Nunthorpe favourite Royal Acclaim and Mondammej (now 2lb worse off) on the Knavesmire could have been slightly better with a smoother run.
Makanah has run well on every previous visit to York, including when beaten a head by Dakota Gold over six furlongs in May and, with his trainer Julie Camacho in terrific form boasting a strike rate of 24% in the past fortnight, perhaps this could be his day.
Published at 1405 BST on 14/08/22
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