Naps expert with his ante post picks for Goodwood and York
Some ante-post choices for Goodwood and York from the Naps king
Ihave always though that the Stewards Cup on the Saturday is always a kinder race to the punter to dissect than the big mile handicap of the Friday of the Glorious Goodwood meeting purely because it leaves less to chance and luck in the run.
A mile contest around a bend on a tight track needs both top class jockey ship and masses of good fortune whereas running downhill for four of six furlongs only needs a well handicapped horse and a jockey with balls of steel. So given those circumstances I would much rather have a wager in the latter!
It is odds-on that we will have rattling fast ground for that cavalry charge on the final day of the festival and I will be having two ante-post shots on this famous race in the form of VIBRANT CHORDS and BRIAN THE SNAIL.
The former significantly has some really solid form on the Sussex Down and showed he was ready for a race of this magnitude when landing a solid class three handicap from Rio Ronaldo, the second has won since.
I have upgraded that performance as he raced from the front and was in the firing line all the way before getting back on top in the final 50 yards, whereas he is normally a midfield/hold up charge.
This race will allow his rider to bide his time and edge him closer to the pace from halfway. Of course a career best effort is required, but he remains relatively lightly raced, should have a good racing weight with so many 100+ horses set to run and the ground shouldn’t be a problem either.
Brian The Snail finished way back in 21st slot last year, but there were mitigating circumstances. First, the ground became way too soft for him and second he didn’t act well with the blinkers on for the first time.
This year he has finally found his mojo again, winning cosily at Doncaster off a mark of 95 before running a cracker in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot finishing 13th of the 28 runners beaten just over six lengths.
Although never getting a shot at the leaders he kept on nicely under hands and heels under William Buick and has been dropped a pound by the assessor.
The Ebor Handicap at York (August 25th) has always been one of my favourite punting races, but the fact that progressive three-year-olds rarely get into the field is a sad state of affairs, now it is just the preserve of the older horses.
Northumberland Plate winner Withold (8lbs higher here) and the hugely progressive Hamada both have solid claims, but that will ultimately be reflected in their prices.
I am a big fan of Godolphin’s WALTON STREET and although the boys in blue have no fewer than 10 other entries at the time of asking I am hoping that they see sense and run this son of Cape Cross who simply looks made for the race.
He had a fine spring in Dubai ending up landing a top class handicap in snug style off a mark of 104.
He returned to these shores with a superb placed effort behind handicapper snip Dash of Spice in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot.
And I think that we can upgrade that performance as he was plenty keen enough through the first three furlongs or so and once push came to shove turning for home (three furlongs out) he was just outpaced at a critical time before staying on stoutly up the inside rail.
Both his breeding and his style of racing suggest that this extra yardage will be right up his street and the fact that he hasn’t raced since that Royal comeback strongly suggests that this has been his big aim all season.
Behind him that day was stable mate Eynhallow and he too has been in need of some extra yardage and the two are closely matched on their Dubai form and would both be worth significant support should they line up at the Knavesmire for the big betting race of the meeting.