Soulcombe was an eye catcher at Goodwood when last seen, running on well to finish fourth. He is 2lbs higher here and carries the lowest weight in the field. There may be more improvement to come over an extra two furlongs from the three-year-old who looks a strong stayer.
The in-form Dan Muscutt (pictured) rides Savvy Knight, who sports first-time cheekpieces attempting the distance for the second time. His Sandown appearance was in a three-runner race that may not have suited, but his fourth at Ascot has worked out well and he has each-way claims here.
Another worth considering at a decent price is Sheer Rocks who runs off a mark of 89. The colt has been staying on well in races, and if able to cope with the extra distance he could make the frame.
Irish-raider Nusret is an interesting contender for Joseph O’Brien, 8lbs higher for his comfortable maiden win at the Curragh last month over 1m4f. He’ll need to show more progression here, but has run well in big fields previously and could be one to watch.
2:25pm York – Savvy Knight 1pt E/W @ 11/1 (various firms – 4 places, 12-1 in places)
The Group Two City Of York Stakes over 7f appears a competitive contest, with many talented horses set to line-up.
Four-year-old filly Sacred has been running respectably in defeat so far this season, but has been beaten by a few who line up against her and more is required if she is to reverse form.
Jumby coped with the step up in class tremendously well to win the Hungerford Stakes last week.
Rohaan finished strongly in the Wokingham Stakes, beating third-placed Jumby who was in receipt of 4lbs. They are on level terms this time out. David Evans’ gelding steps back up to 7f, which could be a slight concern but the way he has been finishing his races instills confidence that he will effectively see out the trip.
3:00pm York – Rohaan 1pt win @ 6/1 (various firms)
The Ebor Handicap is an extremely competitive race, with numerous runners capable of making the frame at decent prices. There are a number of Irish-raiders likely to be dangerous. Paddy Twomey saddles the favourite, Earl Of Tyrone, who is bidding for a four-timer, whilst Okita Soushi and Benaud both represent Joseph O’Brien. Ger Lyons has entered Licence, and Ever Present travels over for Jessica Harrington.
William Haggas’ Gaassee is the shortest-priced of the Britain-based horses. He is four from six in his career to date, running off a career-high mark of 103.
Alfred Boucher performed well at the track on Wednesday, making light work of his opposition, and is now faced with a 4lbs penalty. If ready for this race and in the same form, it would be no surprise to see the grey gelding there or thereabouts at the finish.
Nine-year-old Euchen Glen would be a popular winner, whilst Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes winner Candleford is interesting off a mark of 104.
However, the nod goes to John Leeper, a horse that has been performing well under the radar this season, and will be primed for this. He faces a tough task in this field, but he is available at a decent price and is likely to be staying on well towards the finish.
At Chester in May he ran on to finish fourth, having been keen and short of room during the race at a track that many horses struggle to put in their best performances. He didn’t stay two miles at Sandown, then went to York, running in a Listed race in preparation for this contest. Once again, he didn’t get the easiest of trips, but made up ground in the final furlongs, staying on.
This race appears perfectly suited to him. He can be one-paced in the closing stages, but when others are tiring, he keeps galloping. As mentioned, he has experience at the course over the trip and the 1m6f seems to suit. He has class, by Frankel out of Snow Fairy, and is capable of being victorious in a big race.
3:35pm York – John Leeper 20/1 E/W (various firms – 6 places)