This week we start with the Class 2 Bet at Victor Chandler Handicap at Ayr over 5f which went to the improving Favourite Girl by 3/4 length from Pavershooz, the latter has been out of form for a while but this was an improved showing and he may have turned a corner, although this has been one of his fav courses in the past. Favourite Girl went up 6lb as a result to 94 and Paveshooz 4lb to 91 but he is a well handicapped horse on last summers form. Cheveton also put up an improved performance in 3rd as he enjoyed a bit of cut on the Good to Soft going as a result he has gone up 2lb, but he had dropped a fair way in the ratings prior to that run and if he gets genuine soft ground he could run a big race wherever he goes next. Of those behind Strike up the Band who finished last and who is really out of sorts this season has been dropped 4lb to 90, were he to rekindle his enthusiasm he would surely win off this mark and we should keep a close eye on him.
The following race was a Class 4 over 6f and it was won by Tadlavil from Lochan Moor, however it is the continuing drop in the handicap of River Falcon, who is featured in our horses to follow section, by a further 2lb to 70 that catches the eye and he may now drop down to a Class 5.
At Catterick on Wednesday 21st July we saw the Class 4 Handicap over 5f go to the consistent Lucky Numbers and James Sullivan who is now 2-2 on him. As a result he has been raised 4lb to 89, whilst May Blossom who finished 3/4 length behind was upped 2lb to 74. The winner is probably capable of better now that he has struck up a good partnership with this jockey.
On the Friday at York there was a Class 4 Handicap over 6f which was won by La Zamora by 1 1/2 lengths from Tyfos with King Of Eden in 3rd. I thought that the latter had a good chance in this but unfortunately he was drawn in stall 1 and it probably had a bearing on his finishing position. The winner was raised 5lb to 82, the 2nd 1lb to 78 and the 3rd also 1lb to 78, the latter can still be followed next time as the form is held up by the very consistent Green Park who finished 6th.
Later on in the day the 3yo Diman Waters, although just edging out Mon Brav, lost the Class 4 5f 89 yrds Hcap race in the Stewards room for leaning on the winner in the closing stages. He was only raised 2lb as a result though and this big horse can regain the winning thread soon for his in form stable. The eyecatcher of the race for me though was Bossy Kitty who made up good progress in the latter stages despite being a bit detached and running on the unfavoured far side of the group and she should be followed next time from her mark of 70.
The big race on Saturday was the Class 2 Sky Bet Dash Handicap at York over 6f and it went to Hawkeyethenoo who has had a lot of press coverage of late. He had been unlucky on a few occasions recently and according to jis jockey he could easily have been so again as his saddle slipped, however he won by a head from Kaldoun Kingdom and as a result has been put up 5lb to 96, but he is still not certain to get in the Stewards Cup this Saturday and Fallon is set to ride Palace Moon. Hawkeye certainly did well to win from stall 18 though as I thought the best place to be would be up the middle throughout. The 2nd also has an entry in the Stewards Cup and he is another who will go well in that as he enjoys these big field handicaps and he is sure to have another claimer on board there. Parisian Pyramid in 3rd has been in a lot of good races this year and gives the race a solid feel to it formwise.
Of those behind there were some rating drops as follows :-
Baldemar -2lb to 88
Singeur -2lb to 98
Sonny Red -3lb to 92
Iver bridge Lad -2lb to 102
Valery Borzov -4lb to 90
However one who may have escaped the radar as far as "pundits" go was the performance of Tajneed, who on having the hood removed very late, went violently right when leaving the stalls, became detached from the rest of the field by several lengths and then made up significant ground in the latter stages to finish just 3 1/2 lengths off the winner. I thought it was a remarkable run in the circumstances and it is one to watch on the replay service, if you can, to make your own assessment.
It just shows you though how tight these handicaps can be when there is only 3 1/2 lengths separating over half the runners.