While not as valuable as normal and run on a Sunday rather than on its traditional Saturday slot, the Great St Wilfrid remains one of the bigger betting races of the year.
We expect millions of pounds to be matched on this race, with these six entrants being the ones we feel have an outstanding chance of running into the money in Ripon’s feature race of the year.
Adrian Nicholls may well have taken some advice from his “sprint king” father Dandy, with Abate having already won twice this season.
His win over six furlongs at York two outings ago is the one that shows him as being capable of landing a blow here, and while he is higher in the handicap as a result, he is closer to the start of his career than the end and can yet improve plenty over this distance.
Brian The Snail
The former Godolphin horse finally landed another win for Richard Fahey when scoring upon racing’s resumption at Newcastle on June 1st, while he was also a more than encouraging third at Glorious Goodwood last time out in the Stewards’ Cup.
Having run well over this course and distance in the past it seems he is nailed on for a big performance, Megan Nicholls once again taking off a very handy 3lbs. Each-way go.
Tim Easterby, perhaps unsurprisingly, has a couple in here with a real shout including David Allan’s mount Golden Apollo.
Now 38 races into his career, there won’t be many surprises in store for us with this Pivotal gelding but the point is he’s bang in form having run a fine second in a competitive six-furlong handicap at York recently and it would be no shock to see him go close.
Cieren Fallon has been booked by Joseph Tuite for this popular five-year-old, one who arguably is now in the very form of his life.
At this age, despite having had 33 runs already, we could still see a career best from him and with the 3lb coming off his back via the jockey a genuine bonus, he must be in there with a real chance. The only negative may be in his rider most likely holding up him on this track, which may not work out well unless they go a break-neck speed up front.
Charlie Hills has been having a great old time with his sprinters and in Motagally he has another one who could yet land him a major feature race.
The progressive four-year-old was an easy winner over 5½ furlongs of Bath’s firm turf course last time out, with the only down side of the run being that it could have jarred him up just a little.
He stays six furlongs well and should be ridden up with the pace by the excellent Ben Curtis, so should be right in the mix over the last half-furlong and will doubtless prove over the next few weeks to be generally ahead of the handicapper.
This could prove to be a right job by Tim Easterby, so do look out for any significant money coming for this horse on Sunday morning.
A good winner on Northumberland Plate day at Newcastle last season, he was rated 100 but after a nine-race drought came all the way down to a mark of 84 in the handicap.
Having won over this course and distance last time when not getting the best of runs, he has been raised to 88 but that is still the best part of a stone lower than he was last year so as a five-year-old in form he goes very firmly onto the ‘well handicapped’ list for sure. It’s unlikely he won’t go close under Duran Fentiman.
A hugely competitive affair and one in which many will be looking at the ground, the draw and running style to try and grab some sort of wagering advantage.
In truth in a race this fierce and cut-throat, easily the most important thing to have on your side is weight. So, given how well STAXTON could prove to be handicapped now he has been prepped fully for this assignment he is too good to ignore and gets the vote at what is hoped remains a double-figure price.
The improving Motagally is the main danger for sure, while any amount of others could run into the money with Abate perhaps looking a tad overpriced for the Adrian Nicholls yard.