First day of term at the Knavesmire,this course has a varied history when you look at it, You all know about Dick Turpin but here the Yorkshire faithful have seen many things such as two of the best horses in modern times in Sea The Stars and Frankel then on the flip side the enigmatic and loopy Mad Moose refused to start here last year,Royal Ascot has been run here when Her Majesty had Ascot tarted up and this July the second stage of the Tour De France will begin here as they race to the steel city of Sheffield.
This afternoon though it was the horses that took centre stage with the two feature races being the Musidora and the Duke Of York Stakes.
Weather wise it was glorious spring sunshine,completely different from Haydock last Saturday.
Seven races all of which were tough but enjoyable never the less.
Today also saw the use of the new pre parade ring, next year a new weighing room will also be in operation.
Below,New pre parade ring and current weighing room.
1.45 StanJames.Com Stakes (Handicap) Class 2,1m2f 88yds,4yo+ (0-100)
A useful looking race with some experienced horses and a few potential improvers in the mix.
It was a very impressive win for Clever Cookie who was held up in the early stages but charged down the middle under Graham Lee for trainer Peter Niven to just get the better of last weeks Chester winner Tres Coronas.
This horse is improving on the flat,over hurdles he won a 2m2f Grade Two novice event at Kelso before finishing down the field at Ayr in the Scottish a Champion Hurdle, he won here off 88 and has a hurdle rating of 148 so their is no reason why he can’t continue to find extra and maybe get up to Listed ability.
Tres Coronas had to carry an extra 6lb for last week which found him out, one horse which was unlucky was the favourite Rye House,he got trapped behind a wall of horses and got no run when he needed to pick up.
2.15 Infinity Tyres Stakes (Handicap) Class 2,6f,4yo+ (0-105)
A typical wide open,impossible looking York sprint handicap,the sort that if you run the same race next week you would get a totally different first four home.
This went to Yorkshires elder statesman Mick Easterby and jockey Graham Gibbons with Aetna drawn bang on the stands rail in box 20.
They all converged into one group down the middle after a couple of furlongs, Baccarat led into the last furlong and would have won had it not been for Aetna who bore down in the last furlong to land the spoils.
The course suits Aetna unlike her previous run at Beverley, it’s possible the Wokingham would be the most obvious race to go for next and then try to get some black type for her as the season goes on.
Baccarat was an unlucky loser and he will gain compensation soon,he remains one to keep an eye on.
Fast Shot back in fourth is probably in the grip of the handicapper but he still has a good rider relationship with Rachel Richardson.
2.45 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes,Group 3,1m2f 88yds,3yo fillies.
A very tricky looking race on paper with very little pattern race form on offer for this nine runner field due to the defection of Eastern Belle.
Of the field,five had entries in the Oaks and of the first four home positions first and third were taken by fillies who hold an Epsom entry.
After the gates opened Shama towed them along early and set a good pace as they turned for home and made a bee line for the stands rail until back peddling after two furlongs out and was overtaken by the pack.
Lily Rules briefly led then in the last furlong it was the once raced Madame Chiang under Kieran Fallon for David Simcock put in a polished and professional performance to keep her held by just over a length, Regardez plugged on for third with Nancy From Nairobi fourth.
Cambridge the filly who came in with a fair reputation to her name never showed and was back down the field in seventh.
Madame Chiang is now two from two having won a back end maiden at Yarmouth back in October, she did what was necessary and should take her place at Epsom as she deserves too.
Lily Rules came here from a recent 6/15 in the Nell Gwyn at Newmarket and has got a bit more enhancement in her paddock value,she kept on with the winner and despite not having an Epsom entry she could end up going to France or maybe a race like the Ribblesdale or Lancashire Oaks later on.
At this stage it’s hard to work out how good this years Musidora is but it may not be a high quality one but at this stage anything can happen.
3.15 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes,Group 2,6f,3yo+
A fair race with the field of thirteen rated from 100-114.
After a bit of Yorkshire domination it was like something from Cheltenham here with the Irish picking off a big prize here as last years Abbaye victor Maarek bounced back to his best for Declan McDonogh and his trainer Evanna McCutcheon who is very easy on the eye indeed.
The early trail was laid by Heeraat with the only 3yo in the race Astaire, as they got to the business end Astaire went on and Maarek followed, Es Que Love kept tabs and travelled well, in the last furlong Maarek got the lead and just hung on as Astaire close the gap to within half a length going to the line.
This was a tough performance by Maarek,giving the runner up 10lbs and also carrying a penalty for winning the Abbaye last year,he heads off to Royal Ascot for either the big 5f or 6f Group Ones.
Astaire is clearly going to be a top class sprinter, he won last years Gimcrack over CD and he showed why the programme needs a Group race for 3yo sprinters, he didn’t get 7f in the Greenham so he will stick to sprints.
Es Que Love has a big race in him this season.
Moviesta ran poor as did Jack Dexter but their are lots of targets for them later in the season.
3.55 Conundrum HR Consulting Stakes (Handicap) Class 3,7f,3yo,(0-90)
A lot of potential for the future here but it was one way traffic for That Is The Spirit carrying top weight,he made all the running and kept on well and have Shot In The Sun an easy 1.5 length beating, Recent Doncaster winner Inyordreams was another who stayed on and got third just by a neck to Tiger Twenty Two in fourth.
Plenty to like about this winner,it’s just possible we may see him at Haydock in the Silver Bowl next week over 1m, despite being by Invincible Spirit he looks like he should get a mile easily enough.
Idea was touted up but was never going to threaten,he will be better stepped up in distance.
Tea Leaf also didn’t run as was probably expected and was down the field.
4.25 British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes,Class 3,5f,2yo
Only five with a bit of drama in parade ring as Magical Roundabout got loose and headed for the stables,he was caught easily and remounted but came last, He could wake up and find a couple of things missing if he monkeys about like he did today!
Race wise it was the once raced 5-1 shot Mignolino who stayed on when asked by Graham Gibbons as he beat Abscent Friends by 1.5 lengths who in turn was half a length ahead from Winstanley and he looks like he’s still learning the game.
Captain Colby the favourite led early and was ridden with two furlongs left before weakening.
Obviously it’s hard to tell how good these 2yo are but Mignolino was entitled to come on from her first run at Newcastle.
5.00 Coopers Marquees Stakes (Handicap) Class 4,1m4f,4yo+ (0-85)
It was victory number five for the Yorkshire trainers here as Streets Of NewYork under drive by Robert Winston battled in the last furlong to just deny top weight Pilgrims Rest by a short head, they were 2.5 lengths clear from Astra Hall who I saw last being a runner up at Doncaster’s Saturday evening meeting over the May BH Weekend.
Mica Mika was fourth while Deepsand ran a much better race in fifth after last months down the field run at Haydock,he looks an ideal type for the Ladies race here next month.
The big disappointment was last weeks Chester winner Gabrial’s Star, he never went and it’s possible this race was an afterthought after last weeks Chester hose up.
So day one all done, My only day of this meeting and it was a pleasant quiet sort of crowd with some top racing mixed in.
York is always a special place to go racing, it’s one of the major flagship northern tracks along with Aintree,Haydock and Doncaster and today was a good day to go racing.
No racing this Saturday for a change but two Haydocks and a Doncaster come up soon.
It’s a busy year for York with racing on four legs and two wheels to contend with but the management do a fine job and know how to put a good show on.
Till next week,thanks for reading and please RT when possible.