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Wednesday 15 May 2013

Musidora Stakes at York

York 2:45
The Tattersalls Musidora Stakes (Group 3) for 3yo fillies over 1m2f & 88 yards
Just a small field of 6-runners for this race, which is not unusual.
You have to go back to 2003 for a winner at odds longer than 5/1, so don't expect a surprise winner. The obvious place to start is the race-fav, LIBER NAUTICUS. Bred to stay the Oaks trip, this 1m2f & 88yds should be well within her scope. She certainly looked a lot better than her current rating of OR86 when winning her maiden at Goodwood last September. Sir Michael Stoute has started this month on a roll, so there are ticks in all the boxes.
The 2nd-fav Woodland Aria, is the sort of filly that Gosden seems to do well with as a 3yo. He's won this race for the past couple of seasons, so his entry cannot be underestimated. However, I feel the ground (good-to-firm) will be against her as her family seem to have performed best when there is some "give". It is probably the same for Indigo Lady, as this half-sister to 3-mile chaser Deep Purple ran a cracker when last seen in September, finishing 3rd in a Group 3 in France on soft ground. She beat some useful fillies on merit that day, and it is the best form on paper. The filly that may surprise is Romantic Settings but, even so, I cannot see her finishing in the 1st-2 unless there is an upset. Her likely finishing position will be a close 3rd and, as such, she will ruin her handicap rating.
No surprise then that LIBER NAUTICUS is my idea of the likely winner, with Indigo Lady likely making the forecast. However, I'll not be having a wager on this race as the odds about LIBER NAUTICUS, currently 4/5, offer no value at all.
York 3:15
The Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes (Group 2) over 6-furlongs
This looks a very tough race to fathom and, with 6 winners at odds of 14/1 or longer in the past 10 years, it could be worth looking opposing the favourite Mince, even tho' her form looks top-class for this. When it comes to preparing and placing sprinters, trainer Roger Charlton knows what he's doing and so current odds of 4/1 about the fav look more than fair.
Sir Henry Cecil's entry Tickled Pink ran an absolute cracker of a race to win LTO and a repeat of that form from the 4yo filly will certainly see her in the mix. Having the benefit of a run this season will also be in her favour. The worry is that she may want a step-up to 7-furlongs (or even a mile) given her breeding, and if she repeats her tactics of trying to make-all again today then she's likely to set the race up for a couple of seasoned campaigners in Society Rock and GORDON LORD BYRON. On his day, Society Rock is a top-class performer as his win at Haydock last September showed. However, catching him right is tricky and he's only won twice from 12 starts in the past 2 seasons, tho' both of those wins were in Group 1 races. Just behind him in 2nd at Haydock last September was GORDON LORD BYRON and he may have been brought to challenge just a tad too early that day. That was on firm ground, so altho' he's not won on ground as quick as today's good-to-firm, he appears to handle it well enough. He was campaigned on the all-weather over the winter, so comes into this race-fit; and I think he's likely to have improved a few pounds as well. Current odds of 12/1 are far too long for a horse with his ability and, with some bookmakers going quarter-odds to 4-places, he seems to me to be the value play in this race.

Selection: GORDON LORD BYRON, ½pt eachway @ 12/1 (Bet365 ¼-odds 1,2,3,4 best odds guaranteed)

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