Keep eyes peeled on Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York

Ryan Moore on The Grey Gatsby

Ryan Moore on The Grey Gatsby

First published in Sport
Last updated
Gazette & Herald: Photograph of the Author by , Racing journalist

IT'S York's ultimate speed test this afternoon - the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes.

Five furlongs in around 57 seconds. Blink and you'll miss it. David Griffiths won't miss it. He'll have his eyes firmly focused on the shining star of his 20-horse Yorkshire stable as he aims to hit the big time in only his fourth season as a trainer.

Take Cover, the apple of Griffiths' eye, will need to be on his mettle if he is to provide his handler with a giant-killing triumph in this Group 1 contest which boasts prize money of £265,000.

He is already twice a course winner. Last October, he won a Knavesmire handicap and he's since risen 20lb in the ratings. He landed a Listed race here in July and has since won the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood.

Bawtry-based Griffiths, an ex-jockey, can hardly believe his luck in having a horse so good so soon into his career. But is Take Cover good enough to win a Nunthorpe?

There is no doubt that he will need to reach new heights to beat the likes of Sole Power, Shea Shea, and the North Yorkshire triumvirate of Pearl Secret, Hot Streak and Astaire, but there is every possibility that he can do just that. Although he's a seven-year-old, he never raced until he was four and he is still on the upgrade.

Perhaps one of the biggest dangers will be the French sprinting ace Rangali, but Take Cover will not be taking cover this afternoon. He'll be going from pillar to post and, in under a minute, he could well provide Griffiths with a victory to savour.

The Weatherbys Insurance Management Lonsdale Cup is the target for Her Majesty the Queen's Estimate, unforgettable winner of last season's Ascot Gold Cup and a gallant runner-up in the showpiece event this season. Since then, Estimate has run poorly in the Goodwood Cup, but excuses that she failed to act on that undulating Sussex course were forwarded after the race by connections.

Estimate is back on a perfectly flat track today and plainly is the one to beat if back to her best under Ryan Moore, pictured.

Preference, however, is for Pale Mimosa, who represents Dermot Weld, who placed her to win the Galtres Stakes on this course in 2012. Recent easy winner of a Listed race at Leopardstown, Pale Mimosa is fancied to step up to Group 2 level in this two-miler in which local hopes rest with Richard Fahey's Angel Gabrial, winner of the Northumberland Plate and now aiming to cut it in Pattern race company.

David O'Meara stated at the start of the week that his best chance of having a winner at this meeting was Chancery in the Sky Bet Transfer Fund Handicap.

The gelding won the corresponding race 12 months ago and it would be no surprise to see him produce an encore with Danny Tudhope again taking the mount.

O'Meara has Penitent and That Is The Spirit in the Sky Bet City Of York Stakes, which has been boosted this year to £100,000 in prize money. Both horses are entitled to have useful chances, but Absolutely So, trained by Andrew Balding, is a horse who could be returning to form. Oisin Murphy takes the mount.

The Sky Bet Convivial Stakes is the richest maiden race in Britain with £40,000 up for grabs. Richard Hannon, on the mark yesterday, has an interesting runner in Acaster Malbis, a beaten favourite on his debut, but a juvenile plainly held in some regard. Richard Hughes, none the worse for a last-race fall yesterday, has the ride.

Hugo Palmer, another trainer who visited the winners' enclosure yesterday, with narrow winner Short Squeeze, has a leading chance of following-up with the ultra-consistent Extremity, who is napped to clinch the Nationwide Accident Repair Services Handicap.

Racing selections

York today
1.55 Chancery, 2.30 Pale Mimosa, 3.05 Absolutely So, 3.40 Take Cover, 4.20 Acaster Malbis, 4.55 Extremity (NAP).

Newcastle today
4.50 Exotic Guest, 5.25 Westhoughton, 5.55 Real Tigress, 6.25 It's A Mans World, 6.55 Joyful Sound, 7.30 Diamond Blue, 8.00 Aphrilis.

Today's other meetings: Ffos Las, Goodwood, Hamilton and Newmarket.

Tomorrow's meetings: Cartmel, Goodwood, Newmarket, Redcar, Windsor and York.

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