AUTHOR: Star Sports Content


YORK PREVIEW: The Classic trials continue this week on the Knavesmire, but there’s plenty more high-quality action running alongside the three-year-old contests. Here’s a list of runners we think are interesting over the next three days should they take up their entries:


Lovell (4-y-o, Charlie Appleby) – A 725,000gns purchase as a yearling, the Godolphin four-year-old has been off since a disappointing effort in the King George V handicap at Royal Ascot over 12 furlongs. Sent off just 6/1 there, he’s been gelded since and reappears off the same mark of 93 with plenty of potential.

Master Carpenter (6-y-o, Rod Millman) – A real credit to his trainer, the Mastercraftsman gelding hit a mark of 110 after winning the John Smith’s Cup here off 104 two seasons ago, and is now lurking off just 95 after some below-par runs since the summer. The 6-y-o’s reappearance in the Lincoln offered some encouragement that he wasn’t a fading force, and a return to York could see him running a big race.

Toofi (6-y-o, John Butler) – Placed in the Ayr Golf Cup off 102 in September 2015, a spell with Robert Cowell bore no fruit & the gelding is now with his third trainer in the shape of Newmarket handler John Butler. His low-key efforts with Cowell resulted in a string of zeroes next to his name, but has also resulted in his mark dropping to a career low of 92- 11lbs lower than when midfield over 5f here last season.

Brando (5-y-o, Kevin Ryan) – Unlike the three named above, Brando comes into the York festival in great form and with a major chance of a first success at Group 2 level. Only twice out of the first 3 in 12 runs since being gelded, the 5-y-o’s winning haul includes two Group 3s & the prestigious Ayr Gold Cup off 110, and he’s very likely to go off favourite for the 6f Duke Of York Stakes.

Serenada (3-y-o, Roger Varian) – The Musidora Stakes market will be dominated by the unbeaten and exciting Shutter Speed, but maybe her most interesting opponent is the Roger Varian-trained Serenada. A daughter of Azamour who is a sister to 10f Group 3 winner Liber Nauticus, Serenada ran a very promising third to Oaks dark horse Crimson Rock (16/1 with us) when displaying signs of greenness, probably stepping up on that when a short head winner of a Sandown maiden last month. With that run very likely to have been needed, she could be a more than useful rival to the France-bound jolly.

Marmajuke Bay (4-y-o, Mark Usher) – Lambourn trainer Mark Usher’s flag bearer who has won three times in 11 starts, and finished second twice off marks in the mid 80s on the all weather last month. Yet to encounter good-to-firm ground, Marmajuke Bay could make up into a very nice staying handicapper this season.


East Street Revue (4-y-o, Tim Easterby) – After five runs Tim Easterby’s gelding was running off a declining mark of 57, but the application of blinkers has sparked considerable improvement & the four-year-old has run two big races off marks of 89 and 94 this season. The 5lb rise to 94 may just be enough to halt his progress, but after going up 37lbs in less than a year he remains an interesting proposition.

Smart Call (5-y-o, Sir Michael Stoute) – Despite Stoute saddling Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare winner Queen’s Trust in the Middleton, arguably his more interesting runner in the race is South African import Smart Call. Winner of the Grade 1 J&B Met in her former home country, the 5-y-o is officially rated 1lb higher than her stablemate & will be ridden by current champion jockey Jim Crowley. She’s reportedly been pleasing her new yard at home, although it would take a high class effort to win a race like this on her first start in Britain.

Crystal Ocean (3-y-o, Sir Micheal Stoute) – Well-backed in both the Dante & Derby markets this week, Crystal Ocean is a second very interesting runner on the day for the master of Freemason Lodge. Very weak in the betting on his return to action in a Nottingham maiden last month, the Sea The Stars colt defied that negative market move to get off the mark in very taking fashion. Reportedly needing to strengthen up before he really fulfills his full potential, he’s nonetheless a very intriguing opponent for the unbeaten Cracksman in the Dante, with the Derby on the agenda if he proves up to the test.

Chelsea Lad (4-y-o, Martyn Meade) – 7/2 favourite for the Spring Cup on his seasonal reappearance, Martyn Meade’s unexposed 4-y-o was unfortunately pulled up with Ryan Moore fearing he’d gone lame coming out of the stalls. Vets subsequently found only minor issues and there should be no long term concerns about his health, despite the P sticking out next to his name on the racecard. A mark of 96 therefore remains more than workable.

Brian The Snail (3-y-o, Richard Fahey) – The much-used phrase “Group horse in a handicap” was being banded about before Brian The Snail’s reappearance off 95 in April, and on this occasion the words seem fully justified. Reportedly likely to come on plenty for the run, the Zebedee colt looked every inch a very smart sprinter in the making at Pontefract, and it would disappoint many if this first venture into Listed level doesn’t end with his unbeaten record being extended to four.

Endless Acres (4-y-o, Charlie Fellowes) – Something of a Chester Cup gamble after he won easily at Kempton on April Fool’s Day, the gelding didn’t make the cut for the race having been raised only the 2lbs for his third to eventual Cup favourite Blakeney Point. That race didn’t appear to suit him the way things panned out, and off 91 he is still a potentially progressive stayer.


Main Desire (2-y-o, Michael Bell) – The world and his wife had clearly heard that this High Chaparral filly had plenty of ability judging by how often our phones rang for her, and she duly won her maiden at Nottingham in the style of one who could be making the trip to Royal Ascot. She will face better rivals on this jump into Listed class – including very promising Newmarket scorer Formidable Kitt – but if there are three better than her it would come as a surprise.

Princess De Lune (3-y-o, Roger Charlton) – A sister to a Group 2 winner who cost 300,000gns, Princess De Lune produced a highly encouraging debut effort when beating subsequent maiden winner Alnaas by an easy four lengths at Newbury, an effort made even easier on the eye by the fact she’s a big grey! When considering her pre-race antics suggested she had a fair bit of growing up still to do, Roger Charlton could have a seriously useful prospect on his hands.

Crimean Tatar (4-y-o, Hugo Palmer) – A Sea The Stars colt with a typically attractive pedigree, Crimean Tatar made his debut (a winning one) over 12f at Newmarket, suggesting his future was always going to be over these staying trips. Held up over a-mile-and-a-half at Newbury on his seasonal reappearance, and given plenty to do, Crimean Tatar stayed on steadily to all but confirm that the step up in trip would be on the cards. Should he line up in the Yorkshire Cup he’d need to progress past his Newbury conqueror Muntahaa, not to mention the likes of Dartmouth, Simple Verse, Quest For More & Big Orange.

Amazing Red (4-y-o, Ed Dunlop) – A one-time Derby prospect for Ed Dunlop after winning his maiden, Amazing Red required a year off the track and reappeared in a very useful six-runner race at Wolverhampton last month, being given a perfectly sympathetic re-introduction behind Gibbs Hill & Marmajuke Bay having been held up. This race would come fairly soon considering the previous absence, and wherever he does turn up next he’s still a lovely prospect.

Secret Advisor (3-y-o, Charlie Appleby) – Another with an excellent pedigree, being by top class sire Dubawi out of a Group 3-winning Galileo mare. A winner over a mile at Thirsk, Secret Advisor could be a fair bit better than a mark of 81 up four furlongs in trip for this handicap debut.