Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle faces a tense wait to see if she gets a run in Saturday’s Ebor at York, with three other rides booked in for the final day of the festival.
Cheekpieces can give Tabdeed that vital edge
I was so happy with Tabdeed’s run in the Stewards’ Cup at last month’s Qatar Goodwood Festival, when he only just failed to beat Commanche Falls in a tight finish.
Archie Watson’s gelding re-opposes Michael Dods’ sprinter over the same six-furlong trip in the £100,000 Sky Bet Constantine Handicap (4.10) at York on Saturday when he is 1lb better off for just a short-head and he must have a strong chance of avenging that defeat.
He will wear cheekpieces for the first time, just to help keep his attention under pressure, and I’m hoping they might just give him that vital edge on a flat, even track that should prove ideal.
We’re drawn high in stall 17 in a field of 20, which could be an ideal starting point as we’re surrounded by horses that should give us a nice tow into the race. Good Eye, who was fourth in the Stewards’ Cup, is in 15 and trailblazer Lord Of The Lodge will break from 12.
Image: Doyle and Tabdeed are just beaten by Commanche Falls in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood
Longer trip a positive in Melrose
The step up in trip looks a positive move for improving young stayer Soulcombe in the Sky Bet Melrose Handicap (2.25) on Saturday.
William Haggas’ gelding progressed to win at around a mile and a half at Haydock Park and Ascot earlier in the summer before running well in defeat over that kind of distance at the Goodwood Festival last time.
Despite missing the break, he finished his race in eye-catching fashion that day to get within two lengths of this week’s Group Two Great Voltigeur runner-up Secret State, suggesting this one mile and six furlongs on a big galloping track will be right up his street.
A lightly-raced son of Frankel, Soulcombe will also be fitted with a tongue-tie for the first time, which can only help, and shouldn’t be troubled by a 2lb rise in receipt of weight from all his rivals.
Ex-French gelding out to gain local success
I link up with local trainer Micky Hammond in the closing race of the Ebor Festival when I ride his ex-French gelding Piecederesistance in the Sky Bet Finale Handicap (5.20).
He won over that stiff 10 furlongs at Pontefract last time so the extra half furlong on the wide expanse of the Knavesmire could see him improve again off just a 3lb higher mark.
Micky and his team have done a great job with this former Andre Fabre-trained four-year-old who doesn’t have the best of draws in stall 11 but should get the strongly-run race he needs to show his best.
On the subs’ bench in Ebor
Image: Not So Sleepy is a reserve runner for Saturday’s Ebor
I’m playing a waiting game in the big race, the Sky Bet Ebor Handicap (3.35) with Hughie Morrison’s veteran Not So Sleepy, who is first reserve for the mile-and-six-furlong showpiece.
The versatile 10-year-old has been a revelation over hurdles, dead-heating in last season’s Fighting Fifth and landing the Grade Three Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot but is also a four times winner on the Flat.
He didn’t run at all badly in the Copper Horse Stakes at Royal Ascot, finishing mid-division, and in the Listed Coral Marathon at Sandown last month and has the ability to give me a good spin at big odds if he’s lucky enough to get a run.
Among the main contenders for Europe’s richest handicap is my husband Tom Marquand’s mount Candleford, who hasn’t been allocated the best of draws in stall 17 but brings some strong form to the race.
Tom won the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes on William Haggas’ gelding who is better than he showed when never landing a blow in a one-mile-and-six-furlong handicap at Newmarket on his latest start. He’s still 13lb higher than he was at Ascot but should relish the trip and the track.
Hollie Doyle was speaking to Sky Sports Racing’s Simon Mapletoft.
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