The York festival starts on Wednesday and it’s so nice having the flat back so we get this great midweek racing. On the opening day of the festival, Brando bids to go one better than last year in the Duke of York Stakes and a lot of fillies put their reputations on the line in the Musidora.
This 1-mile 4f handicaps has a real classy look to it and could hold some clues for the Ebor later in the year. Roger Varian runs the lightly-raced Fujaria Prince who takes a big step up in class but looks very exciting and could be very well treated.
Byron Flyer was last seen landing a hat-trick on the level and re-appears here off a career-high mark of 104. Ian Williams likeable eight-year-old looks sure to have another good campaign but will need this and the trainer’s horses could be in better form.
Crystal King didn’t show much promise until a gelding operation saw him win his last two starts for Sir Michael Stoute. This son of Frankel is undoubtedly on a workable mark but will need to iron out his wayward tendencies.
John Gosden runs First Eleven who won a decent handicap and was Group-placed last season. I think he’ll run well but others are better handicapped.
Selection: Fujaria Prince
Infinity Tyres Handicap
Henry Candy has always spoken highly of Vibrant Chords and he looks fairly treated on his comeback run at Kempton last month, where he only lost out by a head. this looks like a real good opportunity.
Great Prospector was listed placed last season and represents the red-hot Richard Fahey team. He was a close up third behind Safe Voyage last month who boosted the form since and must go close.
Ruth Carr seems to do well with new recruits and Reputation is no different having been very impressive on his first start for new connections at Ripon. He’s gone up eight-pounds for that victory and it will be interesting to see if he can handle the burden.
Arecibo was well behind Reputation last time but this was his first start on British soil. David O’Meara excels with French recruits and a much-improved run can be expected.
Selection: Great Prospector
Duke Of York Stakes
Limato is the class horse in the race having won the 2016 July Cup. He was a listed course and distance winner last year and sets the standard.
Kevin Ryan sent Brando out to finish runner-up in this event behind Harry Angel last year, before finishing twice runner-up at Group 1 level. He was a beaten favourite on reappearance which was slightly disappointing bit he’ll come on for that and must go close.
Invincible Army looked better than ever when taking a listed race on reappearance and may just improve past his rivals this season. I have a slight reservation that he’s better at the start of a season but if so he could be up to winning this.
The William Haggas trained Frankellina was well fancied to win on debut and having raced keenly early on, she flew home for a short margin victory. That was her only start as two and more can be expected.
The Irish trained Fresnel has improved with each run and was only beaten two lengths in a listed race at Navan most recently when upped in trip. She may be up to sneaking a place for this small stable.
John Gosden and Oisin Murphy teamed up to great effect with Roaring Lion last season and look to have a nice type here with Sparkle Roll. The daughter of Kingman has won her lat twice starts and is one to follow.
Entitle has got big shoes to fill being a half-sister to the great Enable. She was workmanlike when breaking her maiden at Lingfield last year but she could be a different prospect now.
Selection: Fresnel – E/W