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Aim: Ayr Gold Cup
Bielsa ran at Chester on Sunday 31st July and I tweeted before the race that from his draw, I wondered how much he would be trying (or at least how much the jockey would try) and he finished 5th of 7. From that he dropped 1lb to a mark of 99 which I’m sure connections were delighted with. What would you rather, winning a Listed race for 28k or drop 1lb and be just 1lb higher for a handicap (Ayr Gold Cup) which you won last year off a 1lb lower mark which is worth £77k to the winner? Bielsa not only won this race last year, he won it comfortably by 2 1/4 lengths from Great Ambassador who turned up in great form having finished 3rd in a Stewards Cup before winning his next 2 races! Bielsa off 99 in the Ayr Gold Cup surely goes close!
Aim: Sky Bet Mile Handicap Stakes
Crenelle didn’t run badly when 3rd in a Listed race behind Rising Star and Random Harvest and beating Oscula (who arguably doesn’t stay the full 1m trip). Crenelle was dropped 1lb for that to 96 and I think she can be dropped back into handicap company. Her 3rd behind Heredia and Zanbaq at Royal Ascot was a very good effort and I think both of those will eventually get it right in Listed/Group 3 company and prove to be above handicappers. Crenelle could drop back into a 3 year old handicap (a race won with Rifleman by John Gosden last year – his only runner in the race in the last 10 years) at York. The race in question is a lucrative 3 year old handicap and I think it’s not only worth running in (although neither Trainer or Owner probably care about prize money) but also think it would give Crenelle the best chance of getting another win to her name.
X J Rascal
Aim: Or8wellness EBF Stallions Nursery Handicap
X J Rascal finished 2nd at Doncaster when not quite getting there in a ‘Racing League’ race which meant we saw X J Rascal being ridden by his 4th different jockey in just 4 starts. I’m hoping next time, William Buick is back on board. I think he is better than this and this race arguably came too quickly (he only ran 7 days before at Goodwood) and his jockey didn’t get after him soon enough. Having not won he was only raised 1lb to 82 and with that in mind he could run at York in the above lucrative Nursery. This race is worth 36k to the winner compared to 13k at Doncaster so it may be ‘fortunate’ that he didn’t win at Doncaster. The nursery featured horses rated 75-101 last year and X J Rascal is rated 82 meaning he would get in comfortably. I really hope his trainer decides to run him here.
Aim: Clipper Logistics Handicap
Isla Kai finished 5th at Ascot in the Shergar Cup under Frankie Dettori when again he was ridden too positively and didn’t get home. I do wonder whether this is because Frankie hadn’t ridden him before whereas when Rowan is back on, I hope he knows to be more patient. If Isla Kai goes to York for the race above and Rowan can get him settled and not go too soon then I think he’ll go very close. His form at York is quite good (204) and he dropped 1lb to 96 here making him very well handicapped if he gets the right ride!