David Ord has four against the field for the John Smith's Diamond Jubilee Cup at York on Saturday, including a couple of locally-trained fancies.
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In one…and no prizes for originality but here’s a horse who could start favourite on Saturday given connections and profile. Things haven’t always gone according to plan with him but he was a big eyecatcher when fourth behind Afaak in the Royal Hunt Cup and is six pounds better off for a two-length beating by Charlie Hills’ re-opposing charge.
He could have finished closer too having been very slowly away and then short of room when initially trying to make his run two out. He finished to great effect and the forecast rain at York during the week holds no fears for him.
The son of Raven’s Pass looks ready to win a big handicap and this could be one providing he gets the breaks down the long York straight.
He’s currently a general 10/1 chance with Mountain Angel the 11/2 market leader. I’d be surprised if there was as much daylight between the pair – at least in the betting - when the stalls swing open on Saturday morning.
JAZEEL (needs one to come out - 14/1 Sky Bet)
Jedd O’Keeffe has long thought Jazeel is the perfect type for this race but he had a problem. He wasn't going to get in.
Salvation came at Sandown on Friday with a battling victory in the George Lindon-Travers Memorial Handicap. It wasn’t pretty and he’d have been third in another stride, but it was job done.
A five-pound penalty means he’s within one of making the field at the four-day stage and at last he’s going to get the scenario that will bring out the best in him.
He’s a horse that is crying out for a strong gallop and a typical, stalking, Jamie Spencer ride. He had to set him alight too early at Sandown when it became clear how the race was developing and it’s to the horse’s credit that he got the job done.
But he’s better than that. He chased home Mountain Angel at Epsom the time before – conceding track position to that rival as he made headway down the centre of the course with three to run. He’s no forlorn hope to reverse that form at the weekend.
The yard are flying and this would be their biggest Flat pay-day yet. Sandown on Friday gave them the chance to have a shot. It might not miss.
AASHEQ (needs two to come out - 25/1 Sky Bet)
The John Smith’s Cup has long been on the radar for Tim Easterby’s charge and a big run is on the cards.
He’s had three starts this season, making a winning reappearance at Pontefract and then finishing third in the City and Suburban at Epsom and a valuable pot at the Chester May Meeting.
On the first occasion he was behind weekend favourite Mountain Angel who was undeniably impressive but Aasheq gets a ten pounds swing for that two length beating.
He’s also two pounds better off with Aquarian who beat him at Chester on a day when the Easterby horse raced away from the favoured far rail at the Roodee.
He only backed out of a three-way tussle in the dying strides and the likely good ground on Saturday will very much be in his favour. He’s a strong-travelling horse who races close to the pace and stays further than ten furlongs. He's tailor-made for this.
There’ll be extra place offers floating around come Friday afternoon and this horse needs to be on your radar as a potential each-way play.
ANOTHER TOUCH (needs six to come out - 33/1 Sky Bet)
More speculative and far from certain to get in but a definite case can be made for him from a handicapping perspective.
Admittedly you have to trust the Richard Fahey team have him cherry-ripe for a belated seasonal reappearance, and no amount of digging can find any evidence he’s a horse who thrives when fresh.
But he’s a very capable handicapper and one who has slipped to his lowest mark since October 2016.
He’s run in the last two renewals of this race, finishing eighth (from 104) in 2017 and seventh off 101 last year. On Saturday he races from 95. In both of his tilts at this prize he’s been handed a bum deal with the draw and raced from 19. You’d hope he could fare better on that front come Saturday.
In April last year he finished third behind Ajman King and Dashing Spice in a red-hot City and Suburban at Epsom off 102. Again, he’s off 95 on Saturday.
The handicapper’s leniency is off the back of a fifth-place finish behind Big Country in a muddling race for the Pomfret Stakes at Pontefract and an off-day at the York Ebor Meeting. He hasn’t raced since.
Look, he’s not rock-solid, but granted a bit of luck with with his gate number, he’s no 33/1 chance either.