York flung the doors open on its 2018 season and for many who follow all things flat this was a true sign that the flat was now fully into top gear.
The season may be two classics old but York coming to the party always brings a welcome to everyone who see it like the return of an old friend that has been in hibernation and undergone the odd R&R session.
Certain sporting venues have a charm about them and the Knavesmire never fails to disappoint and what a year it promises to be with its flagship handicap in August, The Ebor getting a prize fund of 500,000 before being doubled next year to £1,000,000 putting it on a par with that other northern stalwart race that goes by the name of the Grand National.
Flat racing got a much loved star from the Class of 2017 return in winning style as Harry Angel landed the feature Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes over 6f in pretty decent fashion under Adam Kirby for Clive Cox in the Godolphin Blue jacket to get him nicely teed up for next months Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot.
Sadly only five went to post for this £55,700 first place money which was a shame but take nothing away from Harry Angel as he showed his class giving away weight to the others including recent Abernant winner Brando who had to settle for Best Supporting Sprinter this afternoon.
One worry regarding Harry Angel is that Ascot isn’t his course so should he flop it would be no shock with the other big two 6f races, the July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup are this horses main targets during the core of the season.Classic Clues were also on offer in the Group 2 Musidora over 1m2f as seven went to post with five of the fillies holding an entry in the Oaks in just over two and a bit weeks time at Epsom.
On a day where the weather had mixed ideas over what to do but thankfully the heavens decided to have the day off it was an Exiled Yorkshireman who took the prize down to Newmarket as the William Haggas trained Give And Take made an eye catching run to go one better than her recent Sandown race and win in decent style and should book her ticket for a crack at the main prize.
In what looked a wide open race on paper the first six home were only covered by just shy of five lengths as Give And Take got the better of Dancing Brave Bear, she wasn’t stopping at the end and in all fairness she deserves a chance in the Oaks although wether or not she will win is another thing but Give And Take would be a lively outsider.Good to have York back and plenty of big days lie ahead, Hopefully your truly will be planning on making a return visit here in August for a day of the Ebor, probably International Day and see some top quality middle distance horses in action.
Next up will be Haydock next Saturday with another top northern sprint race in the Group 2 Temple Stakes.