White Nile 14/1
David Simcock's 4 year old comes into this as the most lightly raced with only 3 career starts to date and although his fitness is definitely a concern after a 339 day absence I am absolutely sure this well bred son of Galileo is quite a bit better than his mark of 80 and if ready to do himself justice I think a very big run on the cards. A full brother to Dermot Weld's very decent Group 3 winning mare (at 4) Sense Of Purpose, White Nile made his debut last June as a 3 year old with a very encouraging 4th in a hot Maiden at Newmarket over 12f in soft ground when given a lovely introductory ride. Held up in last, White Nile made steady progress through the field to beaten 6L in the end with the front 4 well celar of the remainder. The winner Shantaram came into the race with extremely strong form and won a Group 3 comfortably on his next start whilst the runner up (2nd start) has since won in a handicap off a mark of 84. White Nile put that experience to good use when scoring on his 2nd start by a cosy enough neck over 10f at Newcastle in good to soft ground with the front 2 pulling well clear. Settled in touch on the outside under Graham Lee, White Nile got in a protracted battle with runner up Noble Silk for the final couple of furlongs and after that rival looked to have the upper hand heading into the final furlong White Nile responded really well for pressure and got up to be in command at the finish. The runner up is now rated 92 on the flat and it was a really nice victory. White Nile's final start came on handicap debut last September at Thirsk over 12f off a mark of 78 when going down by a head. Under Robert Winston and dropped out in the rear with the eventual winner, White Nile still showed signs of greeness in my opinions as he had to be bumped along on quite a few occasions from a fair way out in a strongly run race. Having looked in trouble with over 4f to go, White Nile came back on the bridle briefly before again looking under strong pressure just outside the 2f pole. He hit the front under strong pressure inside the final furlong and stayed there until the line when he was nabbed down the outside by Stormy Weather who got up in the final strides. Although he lost nothing in defeat, I think Winston thought he had the race won in the final 25 yards as he put down the whip and resorted to pushing him out with only his hands but he got done close home down the outside.
That race is decent but not outstanding form but I think he'll have a learnt a lot from that day and I think he'll really come into his own with another year on his back now a 4 year old. A 2lb rise to a mark of 80 seems very fair and there is no doubt in my mind that this €215,000 purchase is quite a bit better than his current mark. Although its obviously unclear if he'll need the run or not, David Simcock could have found a much easier contest than this if he needs the run and I'm hoping they'll be going all out for the this decent prize today. William Buick very much catches the eye with a 17% strike rate for the trainer and a 31% strike rate for powerful owner Sir Robert Ogden and I'm very much hoping the jockey booking is an indication that a big run is expected. Apparently there has been an absolute deluge of rain tonight at York on top of ground that was watered (3mm) so it looks set to be soft ground which shouldn't be a problem for White Nile as all his runs to date have come with cut in them. He's bagged a very nice draw in stall 5 and David Simcock comes here with his horses in decent if not amazing form. The same trainer/owner combination are come here double handed with Castilio Del Diablo and Jamie Spencer sporting the first colours but I'm hoping that's only because the absence White Nile has to overcome. David Simcock seemed to be quite a big fan of White Nile when discussing him in his stable tour last year and he said he'll easily start 1m6f which could help a lot as the rain could have made this a very testing 12f. Although he may need the run, I'm definitely willing to take a chance on him being fully fit today at 14/1 and if ready to do himself justice I think a very big run could be on the cards and hopefully he'll land this valuable price on just his 4th career start.
The likely soft ground will be a massive disadvantage for Sole Power and won't be favourable for Shea Shea so I'm siding with Bryan Smart's remarkably consistent and progressive sprinter Moviesta who took the step up to Group company in his stride when scoring impressively at Goodwood over 5f in the Group 2 Betfred King George Stakes 3 weeks ago. With only 9 career starts to date, this 3 year old has only been out of the first 3 once in his career when finishing 8th on his seasonal reappearance but since then he's been absolutely flying winning 3 and going down very narrowly in 2nd on his 5 subsequent starts. After winning at Doncaster and over this C+D on soft ground, Moviesta did remarkably well to be beaten only a neck over 6f at York off a mark of 93 having pulled so hard and he was denied by a head off a mark of 98 at Newmarket over the same trip last month and he was very unlucky to not win both races. A real speed merchant who has a tremendous cruising speed, Moviesta relished the drop in trip and better company when running out an impressive winner at Goodwood earlier this month. Tardily away from the stalls which is unlike him, Moviesta actually came off the bridle midway through the race which is very unlike him as he was probably a bit further back than he ideally wants. Nevertheless, he powered through a gap inside the final furlong and despite edging left he scored by 1.5L. Despite facing tougher opposition, I think Moviesta relished going against horses who have the ability to go a break neck speed which just isn't sustainable by handicappers and although he's undoubtedly facing true Group 1 sprinters today I think he'll enjoy the increased pace even more. Drawn in stall 17, you've got to hope he's on the right side if they break into 2 groups and Tickled Pink should provide good pace for the high drawn horses. Moviesta clearly goes very well at York judged on his win and 2nd at the track and soft ground doesn't seem an issue to him judged on his C+D victory on his only start with give underfoot. Clearly loving every second of racing, this 3 year old has improved with every start this year and although the step up to Group 1 company is a big one I've seen nothing that leads me to doubt that he's got the ability to compete at this level. Regular pilot Paul Mulrennan is on board again to resume an excellent partnership and I think Moviesta looks a knocking each way bet given both his consistency and tremendous form. However, I'm quietly confident that Moviesta will take the step up in class in his stride and I think this is a sprinter very much going places.
Hay Dude 8/1
I was oh so impressed with Hay Dude's manner of victory 2 weeks at Haydock 2 weeks ago and I think the handicapper has got it horribly wrong by only putting him up 4lb. Elaine Burke's 3 year old has been steadily progressive over since upped to a mile (had a blip at Doncaster 3 starts back) and the manner of his latest victory leads me to believe there is a lot more to come with only 8 career starts to date. An easy winner from the more experienced and subsequent French Group 1 2nd Anna's Pearl on debut in testing conditions over 7f at Ayr, it took Hay Dude until his 5th career start and 3rd start as a 3 year old to regain the winning thread when scoring by a nose when upped to a mile for the first time at Haydock back in May off a mark of 90. After disappointing at Doncaster, Hay Dude ran a fine 3rd off a mark of 95 2 starts back at Ayr when he travelled beautifully through the race in a slowly enough run race where he couldn't quicken when asked by Tom Eaves as he was beaten 1.5L in 3rd. The winner looks smart winning 3 all starts since his debut whilst Mark Johnston's runner up won 4 starts later off the same mark for a decent prize at Brighton. A stronger pace really helped Hay Dude when winning under top weight LTO as he won with a lot more in hand than the 3/4L margin suggests. Today's jockey Danny Tudhope took the ride for the first time that day as he settled at the rear of mid division on the rail. Heading by the 3f pole, Tudhope sat there with a load of horse under him and stayed penned in until about 1.5f to go as he switched his mount wide to come with his challenge. Tudhope very confidently never resorted to using his whip as he quickened nicely to lead inside the final furlong under hands and heels riding and he was well in command at the finish. He looked to win with a load in hand and that form has already been boosted with the 3rd Gabrials Kaka (would have finished 2nd with a clearer run) bolting up by over 3L off the same mark at Pontefract the other day. Hay Dude has been raised 4lb to a mark of 99 and I don't know what race the handicapper was watching as he deserved a greater hike than that. I'm not complaining, however, and I think he's got a great chance in this as a result. He again carries a big weight of 9-6 but clearly carries weight very well and I think he's a horse that will earn some Black Type very soon. All his form since debut has come on a quicker surface but he won't have any issue with conditions judged on how he won on heavy ground on debut and hopefully the weight doesn't hamper his chances if very testing. The draw in stall 10 shouldn't be too much of an issue as he should be held up and Elaine Burke has her horses running very well at present. If getting a clear run and a good pace to aim at, I'm confident of a big run and I think Hay Dude could take a lot of stopping in