Firmament features among Simon Holt's bets as he previews the ITV4 action from Newmarket and York on Friday afternoon.
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Newmarket stages some high-class action on Friday but the Group races all look tricky and it is COUNTRY who may prove a value bet in the bet365 Old Rowley Handicap.
This lighty-raced son of Dubawi was unambitiously campaigned earlier in the season, completing a hat-trick at Redcar, Ripon and Redcar again, on the latter occasion proving too strong for subsequent winner Cardano who renews rivalry on the same terms.
Upped in class next time at Sandown, Country could never land a blow over a mile and a quarter behind the useful Hyanna but passed several rivals in the closing stages and was going on powerfully close home.
The obvious impression that day was that he was crying out for further and, in the hands of James Doyle, he now looks open to further improvement over two furlongs extra here.
At York, FIRMAMENT is the fancy in the Racebets Money Back 2nd 3rd 4th Handicap.
The seven-year-old's trainer David O'Meara is strongly represented in this race but Danny Tudhope takes the mount aboard an admirable course specialist who won here over seven furlongs (good to soft) off a 4lb lower mark in June and then kept on well behind What's The Story, Vale Of Kent and last weekend's Ascot winner Kynren in August.
Those efforts are Firmament's best this season and, in seven visits to the Knavesmire, he has never finished out of the money including when defying a mark of 105 (now 97) in 2016.
Not disgraced in a bunch finish under 9st10lb at Newmarket on his latest start, two previous outings at Chelmsford would not have played to the strengths of the selection who is fancied to take plenty of beating back at his favourite venue.
York also suits HAMISH who can follow up his Ebor meeting win under top weight in the Racebets Handicap (1m6f).
The Haggas-trained son of Motivator could have joined stable-mates Sinjaari and Country in the Old Rowley Handicap at Newmarket, but this extra distance over which he battled on dourly to beat First In Line and Land Of Oz in August looks much more suitable as befits a horse from a family of successful middle-distance stayers like Harris Tweed, Beaten Up and Vow.
Ground conditions may be a bit easier this time, but Hamish won by seven lengths over just a mile and a quarter at Windsor in June on good to soft ground and it will be surprising if he can't rate higher than his current mark of 98 and develop into a conditions race staying horse.
Posted at 1545 BST on 10/10/19
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