A typically ferocious York handicap for punters to unravel, but some firms are betting five places which is a fair concession for backers keen to get involved. LINE OF REASON (Best price 12-1 five places) is a Knavesmire regular and would arguably have finished closer at Ascot last time but for a sluggish start which left him with a mountain to climb. The six-year-old had previously suffered major interference in a Goodwood Group 2 when running a blinder for an unconsidered 66-1 outsider and he looks a fair bet to get involved today.
UNION ROSE (Best price 20-1 five places) finished adrift in that Ascot handicap, but he was without the cheekpieces that day and I can’t let him run unbacked with the headgear back on at his morning price.
BEST OF DAYS (Best price 5-4) impressed on debut at Sandown and, with his yard firing in plenty of juvenile winners this week, he could enhance his reputation here. Trainer Hugo Palmer appears to have a talented crop of two-year-olds and Best Of Days clearly caught the eye of the Godolphin hierarchy who were quick to buy into the Azamour colt who lengthened well to hammer Wahash by an emphatic six lengths last month. There looks plenty more to come and the selection appeared professional enough to take this step up in grade in his sizeable stride.
IDAHO (Best price 4-5) has been butting heads with Harzand for much of the season so the absence of the duel Derby winner will be a boost for the selection’s connections today. It will be interesting to see how the Galileo colt is ridden given the presence of stablemates The Major General and Housesofparliament, with the latter looking a fair bet in the ‘without Idaho’ markets at 7-2 this morning. In truth though, Idaho’s form is head and shoulders above that of his rivals and he should confirm his superiority before heading to the St Leger next month.
Victory for Coral-Eclipse winner HAWKBILL (Best price 11-2) would extend his winning sequence to seven and would truly vindicate the decision to add the Sandown scorer to the line up for this afternoon’s prestigious Group One. In truth, Hawkbill’s rise has been little more than meteoric and a growing maturity has enabled the son of Kitten’s Joy to add steel to his ability and transform into a winning machine in the past 12 months.
All three successes this term have been recorded with cut in the ground but regular rider William Buick believes his American-bred mount has been winning in spite of the ground not because of the easy conditions. Buick has the opportunity to test that theory on the Knavesmire where Hawkbill will require a fresh career best to bag the gold medal at the expense of Postponed and Highland Reel among others.
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