Steve Hughes gives his best bets for York on Thursday
I am going to keep the faith with the big field handicaps at York on Thursday. This time I am looking at the opening 5f sprint, and then the listed mile contest later on the card.
York 2.20: Line of Reason & Carlton Frankie
Any number of these can be given chances but two horses looking to bounce back to form are favoured – both of whom will relish a return to a sounder surface.
Line of Reason won two valuable 5f handicaps last June – the Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh and the Gosforth Park Cup at Newcastle. The latter was won from a mark of 100, but a succession of unplaced efforts in pattern company, plus a couple of runs on unsuitable going, notably on heavy at Musselburgh have seen his mark plummet to 92. The ground can never be too quick for him – he won here on fast going back in 2014 and I like the booking of Oisin Murphy, whilst trainer Paul Midgley is beginning to find form as the season gathers pace.
A speculative alternative is Carlton Frankie. The filly looked well out of the ordinary when winning her maiden here as a juvenile and then winning her first two races of 2017 at Redcar and Nottingham last spring. All of those races were on sound surface. Unfortunately things went badly awry in the second half of the season. However the fact she has had wind surgery over the winter provides a clue to the reason for those poor performances and if that has worked a mark of 84 can easily be exploited. She has won fresh in the past so the lack of a recent run need not be an issue.
York 4.05: Afaak
A little disappointing on his reappearance at Newbury, I am willing to give Afaak another chance and this big horse and Charlie Hills should have got his charge sharper for this one.
Progressive last season in mile handicaps he performed with credit all year, winning at Doncaster but probably his best run came when second in the Silver Cambridgeshire at Newmarket. He acts on all going so today’s quicker ground should not be an inconvenience.
As a 4yo there should still be plenty of improvement to come from him this term.
0.75pts each-way – Line of Reason – 2.20 York – 11/1 BetVictor, Skybet
0.5pts each-way – Carlton Frankie – 2.20 York – 16/1 Bet365
0.75pts each-way – Afaak – 4.05 York – 15/2 William Hill