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York Preview: Kilham could overcome favourite in tricky opener

After tipping five winners in six races at Hamilton on Wednesday, TFA turns his attention to York on Friday in an attempt to overcome the Boosted £10,000 Place 6 pool. He reckons there could be an upset in the first race, where Kilham could capitalise on his growing experience to upset the favourite.


13.50 York

Currently the going at York is good to soft, with showers forecast for late Thursday and most of Friday. This preview carries the assumption that the going will be soft and fairly testing.

The first could be tricky with not much form to go on. The key form comes from Carlisle two weeks ago when Hurstwood was second and Kilham was third. Strictly speaking, Hurstwood had three lengths in hand and should confirm the placings. However, it should be noted that Kilham was well-backed when 3/1 on debut.

Kilham travelled the best in the race but showed inexperience after growing tired. Given that Hurstwood had the benefit of a previous run, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kilham reverses the form in this one. Could be a value bet at opening prices and I would expect money for it.

The rest of the field are difficult to weigh up. It’s hard to split Olcan and Stone Circle but, if the market speaks in favour of the Burke newcomer, I’d keep him onside.

I’m happy to take on My Kinda Day as he didn’t look happy on softish ground last time and this is a better race today.

Place 6 Selections – Hurstwood, Kilham, Olcan


14.20 York

A 16 runner handicap which I suspect may reduce to three places due to non-runners, making it tough for the Place 6.

Sputnik Planum has a progressive profile and came on a lot when second on seasonal debut at Hamilton. His pace was strong in that race and he went for home a full 3f out, only getting caught by the winner, Ghalib, who runs again here under a 4lb penalty. I will be surprised if Ghalib upholds that form today as York will suit Sputnik better. With a good draw and the early pace he has, it’s hard to see him not running a race.

Swift Emperor lurks on a decent mark these days and although he may have regressed from a couple of years ago, he has already shown this season that he can win from this mark. He seems to go well here and his form stands out, suggesting that if he can improve with the bigger field and stronger pace, he could go well.

Delph Crescent has struggled off marks in the 80s since winning at Hamilton last year but is back to a mark of 79 now and I actually thought he ran a decent race at York two starts ago when fifth. He got tired late on that day but will suit going back down in trip on a softer surface, so makes the shortlist.

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Pioneering is interesting after returning to form at Haydock. He set a strong pace that day and I thought did remarkably well to finish third. It was clear they went too hard, too early as Motahaseen easily passed the leaders in the final furlong but, at a track that traditionally favours prominent races, he makes the shortlist.

Place 6 Selections – Sputnik Planum, Swift Emperor, Delph Crescent, Pioneering


14.55 York

Races don’t get more difficult for a form analyst like me than a two-year-old selling stakes with 23 runners! These high-value selling races are contested by animals much better than selling class usually. Therefore, you can rule out anything that has competed in low grade sellers or claimers. This will be won by something a little better I suspect.

Sir Gordon is one I backed at the weekend and I thought he ran well when finishing runner-up. He may have won if racing closer to the action but was taken wide which I’m not sure was the best move. That was a selling race, although a valuable one, and I suspect the form is as good as others here have shown in maiden races.

The Karl Burke stable won this race last year with a newcomer and, for that reason, it makes Speed Dating interesting here. I watched his debut run and it was as green as the grass as he was drawn on the outside and outpaced early on. However, the penny dropped in the last 2f as he ran on nicely and I suspect that wasn’t a bad race for the grade. A definite chance he may improve and he makes the shortlist.

The best form on offer lies with Calippo and Chattanooga Boy. Given that it’s a 23-runner race with 3 places, I think having both on your side isn’t a bad idea.

Place 6 Selections – Sir Gordon, Speed Dating, Calippo, Chattanooga Boy


15.30 York

A 20-runner handicap with, it’s probably safe to assume, four places which makes it slightly easier.

Right Action is reunited with Silvestre de Sousa, who won together on debut this season and catch my eye. De Sousa has now won on him in two of their last three pairings and Right Action clearly suits his style of riding. He also goes well on soft ground and, although 3lbs higher than when winning at Donny earlier this season, he has sufficient class to suggest a mark of 84 is within reach.

Dark Intention has an excellent record at York (3,5,5,3,1,5,3,1,9,2). He has only finish out of the first five once in ten starts. Although probably not as well handicapped as some, he is on the same mark of 82 as when finishing second over course and distance in his last outing as well as winning last season at Chester. He probably needs a career best to win this race off 82 but can handle soft ground and, under optimal conditions, has a great chance of placing.

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Proud Archi looks interesting off a mark of 79. He managed to win at Thirsk last season (7f, g/s ground) off a mark of 82 and, despite slipping from a career high mark of 87 after that run, he has run a number of respectable races in defeat. Should run well I think.

Last, you might need a leap of faith to back it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Lualiwa returns to form and is backed to do so, if opening at a fancy price. He finished second and third at York on soft ground and won here over course and distance on firm ground off a mark of 87. Runs off 79 here after three poor runs this season. I think he prefers soft ground and this will be the first time he has run on it this season. He is too well-handicapped to ignore.

Place 6 Selections – Right Action, Dark Intention, Proud Archi, Lualiwa


16.05 York

A tricky five runner race and you have to hope all five stand their ground to give us two places or it become much more difficult.

It is tough to split the top four in the betting but Happy Power and Sir Dancealot are sure to appreciate the soft ground whereas the other three have question marks on their ability to do so. For this reason alone, these two are my preference.

Place 6 Selections – Happy Power, Sir Dancealot


16.40 York

The two at the top of the handicap look handicapped to the hilt and Daffy Jane is out of form and prefers better ground. That leaves seven to select for three places.

Philipine Cobra could be a handicap blot. Absolutely dotted up on firm ground at Bath last week and even a 6lbs penalty and stepping up in class may not stop her from winning as she won last week. The ground is a question mark but, if she handles that, she could make all here.

Lady Dancealot is clearly not a handicap blot but ran well at Windsor. I suspect she can win off of 85 at some point and, in a race with question marks around a few, she looks the solid option behind the favourite.

Place 6 Selections – Philipine Cobra, Lady Dancealot

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