Syndicate Captain and racing guru TFA has delivered his verdict over the shrewdest picks in the Best Dividend Guaranteed Place 6 at York on Friday. He has been waiting all season to back Thomas Cranmer under the right conditions, that he finds at this meeting, and he makes him his headline pick.
This race surely revolves around Spartan Fighter and whether he can repeat the form he showed last time when he beat the subsequent Windsor Castle stakes winner A’ali, the pair finishing miles clear of third. A slight question mark about the ground but, even so, hard to see him not running well.
Auckland Lodge surprised me last time when she overturned the short priced favourite Asmund at Carlisle. Assuming that was no fluke, she might be able to give the favourite a run for his money here.
Place 6 Selections – Spartan Fighter, Auckland Lodge
The value bet in this race, and the one I’m most likely to back assuming it is overlooked in the betting, is Dance King. He returned to form last time although, unless you watched the race closely, you’d never spot it. He travelled into the race well but got no luck in-running.
The handicapper has dropped him another 2lbs and a mark of 81 is definitely within range for this one. He has plenty of decent form at this course over the years from much higher marks and is too well handicapped to ignore today.
Speed Company has a similar profile whereby he is very exposed but it is difficult to argue he is well-handicapped off a mark of 89. However, he has looked a bit more like his old self this season and, if you go back two years, he was competitive off 10lb higher marks.
Last time out, he finished a nose behind Oasis Fantasy at Windsor and I can’t split the pair here. Oasis Fantasy has form from a higher mark too and should be competitive.
Place 6 Selections – Dance King, Speed Company, Oasis Fantasy
This is about as difficult a race for a Place 6 as you can get; a 17 runner Group 3 with three places. The highest rated is 103 and the lowest rated is 88. I’d be lying if I said I’d be confident of getting past this race with just a couple of picks. It should increase the Place 6 dividend, so you need to perm a fair few. I’ve suggested four but could have gone with more.
Shades of Blue is the obvious starting point as the highest-rated in the field after winning a listed race at Maisons-Laffitte last time. She was previously second in a listed race over course and distance and probably has just about the strongest form on offer in this race.
Foxtrot Lady doesn’t have the sexiest profile in the race but she has a touch of class on her day as well as plenty of decent handicap form from decent marks. She will probably need a career best to win this today but it would be no surprise to see her run well.
Perfection was seventh in the Wokingham last time off a mark of 101 and a repeat of that run would see her finish top six here I suspect. My concern with her is that she ran a shocker on her the previous run and she’s not the most consistent of fillies but makes the shortlist.
Last but not least, Archer’s Dream is unbeaten so far and, although it was a very weak listed race that she dead-heated at Salisbury, she clearly has more potential than most of this field. Although she’s not a value pick in my eyes, she’s a likely placer in a tough race, so makes the shortlist.
Place 6 Selections – Shades Of Blue, Foxtrot Lady, Perfection, Archer’s Dream
I’ve spent a long time on this race as there is a horse running who I’ve been waiting to back all season under the right conditions and I think this race has been the plan for a while. I could write 5,000 words explaining why but I’ll no doubt discuss it on Twitter in depth.
The horse in question is likely to open up as one of the outsiders here but I really fancy him. Thomas Cranmer is his name and, at first glance, you would be excused for seeing him as a very regressive five-year-old who has dropped from a mark of 92 in September last year to a mark of 73 today.
It is a 19b drop in 8 runs which suggests that Thomas Cranmer no longer has the ability he had last season. In reality, the horse hasn’t had ideal conditions to show his true worth but he gets them here. He needs firm ground and 10f and will have those conditions here.
Thomas Cranmer was second in the race last year off a mark of 87 and carrying 10 stone 5lbs and has clearly been aimed at it again this year. On that run he was beaten a nose but was six lengths clear of third place. Runs off a mark of 73 today, a full stone lower in the weights, and Thomas Cranmer has to be a bet assuming the odds compilers miss him.
The race has another that I backed recently who is probably ahead of the handicapper too. Mr Coco Bean takes a step up in class today but the way he has been travelling through his races suggests that he is better than his mark and is a clear danger to Thomas.
I thought First Dance was handicapped well enough to run well here although she has been disappointing so far this season. Another one who is also well handicapped is Armandihan and she can also take a hand in the finish today if she bounces back to form after a poor run last time.
Place 6 Selections – Thomas Cranmer, Mr Coco Bean, First Dance, Armandihan
A tricky little nursery although, on a few form lines, I think Iva Go is potentially on an ok mark here. She was just behind Keep Busy last time, who has won since. Additionally she was just in front of Baileys In Bloom who has since finished second to Mrs Bouquet, who runs here under a penalty.
Her one poor run was at Redcar when 6/5 favourite but the horse who won the race was Liberty Beach who is 100+ rated now and, in hindsight, Iva Go had no chance. I do think she is probably a decent bet here.
Mrs Bouquet is obviously a danger. She has just won one of these races and even a 6lbs penalty may not stop her.
Dylan De Vega also makes the shortlist despite disappointing at Royal Ascot. He looked a decent prospect on the previous run and, on a form line through Azteca, he is handicapped closely with Iva Go.
Place 6 Selections – Iva Go, Mrs Bouquet, Dylan De Vega
A tricky sprint handicap to finish the Place 6. The form from a similar race at Ayr on the 22nd June is going to be the key form line here as the first four from that race compete against one another again and a few have run well again since, so the form looks solid.
I think given the fact that the third and fourth have franked the form, even adjusting for the weights today, it’s hard to split all four again. I’ll take the easy option and suggest all of them for my shortlist.
Looking through the rest of the field, I’ll actually be surprised if a couple of these don’t place and the Tricast could be worth a shot with these four I suspect.
Place 6 Selections – Lathom, Jabbarockie, Excessable, Canford Bay