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Thursday 23 May 2013

Up a bit, down a bit

It was York last week and on Wednesday Mass Rally won the Class 2 Handicap over 6f by half a length from Nocturn with a further one and a quarter lengths back to Prodigality back in third and York Glory in fourth. The winner has been raised 5lb to 104, the second 2lb to 93 and the third and fourth remain on 100 and 98 respectively. Michael Dods had equipped the winner with a hood and blinkers and it seemed to work the trick and he reportedly now goes for the Wokingham. Out the back in last Singeur has been dropped 2lb to 90 and he may improve for a switch back to 5f with all 7 wins coming over that distance on better ground.

The Goup 2 Duke of York Stakes is best left to Stewart Copeland on the BHA Handicappers blog and his piece is featured below :

Plenty of runners and plenty of quality was the order of the day in this year’s renewal of the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Duke of York Stakes, the first major turf sprint over six furlongs of the season on these shores. The weather was unseasonably cold and wet, with a strong headwind as well, which meant conditions were tough for all at the Knavesmire, both equine and human, writes Stewart Copeland.
A total of 17 went to post, and at least seven of the field had already shown a level of form good enough to win an average renewal. It was one of those, Society Rock, who triumphed on the day, which made up for a somewhat unlucky defeat in the race last year.
Society Rock’s rating of 117 meant he was the joint highest rated British sprinter in last year’s World Thoroughbred Rankings and with his victory here, he showed himself as good as ever. Carrying a 5lb penalty for his success in the 6f Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock last September, he got the better of a stirring finish with Lethal Force to prevail by a head. This meant Society Rock comes out a 6lb better horse than the runner-up, who’s rated 111 on the strength of his success in the 7f Group 2 Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury last year. A rather neat fit you could say, and Society Rock’s winning performance was as good as a performance we’ve seen in this race over the past decade.
Back in third place a further one and a quarter lengths behind was the Irish-trained Gordon Lord Byron. The highest rated in the field at 118 based on his win in the 7f Group 1 Foret Stakes at last year’s Arc meeting, which also meant he had to shoulder a Group 1 penalty as well. I have him running to 113 and he emerges with plenty of credit as his low draw seemed a disadvantage, given he raced away from the main pace down the centre of the track, which the first two tracked.
Arguably the unlucky horse of the race though was Hawkeyethenoo. Travelling strongly just off the pace, he looked set to throw down a possible winning challenge when denied a clear run over a furlong out. Once in the clear inside the last he finished strongly to finish a further nose back in fourth. With an uninterrupted passage he would have surely gone close. Currently rated 112, I have him running to 108 but given the trouble he encountered I’ve left his rating unchanged. 
The above may all renew rivalry in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot next month, with Society Rock trying to repeat his success of 2011, and regain the crown he relinquished to the wonderful mare Black Caviar last year. With another likely strong overseas challenge as well this year, it promises to be a fascinating affair.

At York on Thursday Ancient Cross won the Class 2 Handicap by a diminishing neck from the unlucky Goldream in second with 3/4 of a length back to Judge'N Jury in third. The winner has been raised 3lb to 95, whilst the second has been put up 4lb to 94, the handicapper stating who he thought was the winner. Not sure what Jim Crowley was doing on Goldream he positioned him behind a wall of horses hoping a gap would appear, but it didnt and he was then forced to make his run round the outside of the bunch.

On Friday at Newbury Ninjago failed to run to the same level of form of his last run and consequently finished third behind Zanetto and City Girl in the 3yo Listed race over 6f. The winner won by 3 1/4 lengths and his trainer confessed afterwards that he didnt have his charge at his best the time before and he is now being aimed at both the Diamond Jubilee and July Cup. The second City Girl was coming back from a long break and therefore did well to separate two top horses.

On Saturday also at Newbury Hallelujah returned to form under Hayley Turner and won the Class 2 Handicap over 6f by a nose from the consistent Poole Harbour with Seeking Music back in third. The second had already finished 2nd to Nocturn and 3rd to Hamza this season whilst the third finished in front of Klynch first time out and he has won twice since so the form looks good. The winner was recording her fourth win in seven starts so is open to improvement and her trainer is now aiming her at Listed,Group races. The second has been raised 5lb to 95 and the third remains on the same mark of 93.

Over at Newmarket Hasopop won the Class 2 Coral Sprint Trophy for 3yo over 6f by a neck from Hughie Morrison's Jubilante with 3/4 of a length back to Chilworth Icon in third. Hasopop had finished 3rd to Ninjago at Newbury last time out when Zanetto was 4th and he has now been raised 5lb to a mark of 105, with the 2nd also up 5lb to 84 and the 3rd up 1lb to 101.

At Thirsk Towbee won the Class 4 Handicap over 5f by a neck from Whozthecat with Waseem Faris in third. The winner goes up 4lb to 81, the 2nd 3lb to 86 and the 4rd 1lb to 78. The following Class 3 Handicap over 6f went the way of Klynch who had finished 3rd to Seeking Magic(Crew Cut in 2nd then finished 3rd to Yeeoow) and 4th to Stoute's Enrol before winning his previous race at Ripon off 81 and then this off 87. As a result of this win he has now been raised another 5lb to 92 in beating Fast Shot by a neck with Asphan Sam 2 1/4 lengths back in third and Rusty Rocket in fourth. Finally Steps won the Class 2 Handicap over 5f by 1 1/4 lengths from Bosun Breeze with Noble Storm in third. The winner has gone up 6lb to 95, the second 2lb to 85 and the third goes down 1lb to 96. Kyleakin Lass, 2nd to Stoute's Duke Of Firenze previously, ran below form in 5th and remains on 96.