3.35 York – Ulysses
There may only be 7 runners in the Juddmonte International Stakes on the curtain raiser at York on Wednesday, but the race is a fantastic one and the field is very high class. 10 furlongs for 3 year olds and older at the Knavesmire is something to behold, and a tight finish seems almost guaranteed.
Ulysses is the pick. Sir Michael Stoute’s horse has taken a big step forward this year and his form has been both consistent and top level. The son of Galileo made his seasonal reappearance in a Group 3 contest at Sandown over 10 furlongs, and after travelling strongly, Stoute’s runner put the race to bed with a sharp turn of foot. Following on from that, Ulysses tackled a Group 1 race at Ascot and again travelled with gusto, before hitting the front a furlong or so out. That was perhaps too soon, as the gutsy Highland Reel managed to get back on top late in the day (horse eventually finished third). Followed on with a career best performance last time out at Sandown when winning the Coral-Eclipse. While all of his rivals were off the bridle pushing away, Jim Crowley was motionless and loomed up on the outside. The horse clearly doesn’t do much in front as after hitting the lead, Barney Roy came with a strong run and Stoute’s runner only just held on. Last time out Ulysses was the best of the rest when finishing behind the superstar Enable. To put it quite simply, the form of the Sir Michael Stoute horse has been top class this season.
Ulysses is clearly not the most straightforward horse and doesn’t do too much once he heads his rivals, but Jim Crowley knows how to ride the 4-year-old best and despite giving weight to his 3-year-old competition, the horse should be there at the finish and is worth backing at +350 with Bet365 and Ladbrokes.
7.00 Worcester – Poetic Lady
Neil Mulholland is a fantastic trainer, and his horses who compete over timber in the summer months are definitely worth following. Mulholland saddles the market leader Poetic Lady for the 2mile4furlong maiden hurdle at Worcester and the 6-year-old mare is clear on the Racing Post Ratings. She has taken her form to a new level since joining the stable and has to be supported at odds of +100 with Bet365.
Poetic Lady showed ability early in her career, finishing second on debut before getting off the mark on a bumper at Roscommon. Bumper winners are usually useful individuals, but the daughter of Yeats never really progressed from her sole victory, and she finished the 2016 season on a disappointing note for P J Colville. A change of stables followed, and Poetic Lady was shipped across the sea to start a new career for the Mulholland yard. She was very well backed on stable debut and finished second at Fontwell before filling the same berth next time out over today’s course and distance. Connections decided to drop the horse back to 2 miles last time out, but that didn’t seem to suit and was a little sharp, so she has been put back up in trip.
Neil Mulholland does very well with his non-chasers in August-December; 84/314 (27%) for £63 LSP, with the horses scoring 33% more often than they are entitled to based on odds. The field is very weak for this race and Poetic Lady just needs to run to the level of form of her penultimate start to score.
15:35 York – Ulysses to win
Wednesday 23rd August
19:00 Worcester – Poetic Lady to win
Wednesday 23rd August