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John McCririck: Here’s hoping this 16/1 shot is first past the post as we try to get York off to a flyer

It's the start of the four-day Ebor meeting at York on Wednesday and at least punters this side of the pond should avoid a repeat of Saturday night's fiasco at Arlington Park.

by John McCririck | August 17, 2015

Secret Gesture’s demotion to third place at the weekend after winning the Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes at Arlington Park was a disgraceful fiasco. It actually makes you realise how lucky we are at times with the rules of racing in Britain and Ireland.

It is not often that I praise bookmakers and racing administrators – and rarely together – but it’s much harder to have a horse disqualified on this side of the pond. The stewards have to be certain that the affected horse would have won to overturn a result over here.

In my view, Jamie Spencer (below) switched his whip and did everything right to keep his mount straight.

It was the theatrical over-reaction of Irad Ortiz which prompted the stewards to look at the result and demote her. It reminded me of 2004 when Spencer was on Powerscourt in the Arlington Million at the same track and was first past the post but got disqualified.


Jamie Spencer (pic: Inpho)

Bookmakers, like Paddy Power (who paid out on both horses in the US as a goodwill gesture) & others, who pay first past the post on demoted  horses in the UK & Ireland plus the winnings on the ‘new’ winner, also deserve a bit of praise. However grudgingly!

While it’s unfortunate for connections (as the prize money goes to the eventual ‘winner’) when a result is reversed at least the punter is protected and does not lose out. It’s much harder to disqualify a horse in the UK or Ireland and this allows bookmakers the freedom to pay out on this ‘double result’ and that’s a good thing. It happens much more frequently in the States.

What we need to address next is the issue of horses not taking part in a race – for whatever reason. The Ascot farce when Speculative Bid (ironically to be ridden by Jamie Spencer also) threw him and bolted up the track took way too long to resolve and left everybody including bookmakers & punters alike confused. 

Our sport is called “horse racing”. If a horse doesn’t start for whatever reason under whatever code – punters shouldn’t lose out. 

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1:55 Symphony Group Stakes – Class 2 – 5f
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A 20 runner 5f sprint kicks off the meeting and over the past few years there are a few trends which have helped sort this out. The one I like the look of is the old boy TANGERINE TREES who is well drawn in stall 20 and bounced back to form here last month in the Sky Bet Dash over 6f, taking the lead a few furlongs out he just dropped away in the final furlong to finish 4th. He is now down to a mark of 93 and this former Group 1 winner is rolling back the years now back down to 5f.  You can get a massive 18/1 and paid on 4 places if you fancy an each way bet on him.


2:30 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes – Group 3 – 7f
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An interesting Acomb this year and I am backing local trainer Kevin Ryan, who knows exactly what is required to win at York, to take this with MOHAB who ran a decent race here on debut over course and distance in July before he stormed home to win at Catterick earlier this month in a decent time. He looks to have been targeted at this race and I can see him going close. Grab the 5/1 from PP.

Mac’s Pick: MOHAB

Horse Racing Flat action

3:05 Great Voltigeur Stakes – Group 2 –  1m 4f
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A key trials race for the St Leger next month and the one I really like coming into this years race is Richard Hannon’s colt TASHAAR who is unbeaten under Frankie and deserves this step up to Group company after his win over 1m 3f in a decent handicap at Goodwood at the end of last month. He was eased down towards the end of the race and looks to have plenty more to offer at this trip.

Mac’s Pick: TASHAAR

3:40 Juddmonte International – 1m 2f
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If the three main contenders run, this will be the flat race of the year so far. Golden Horn, Gleneagles and The Grey Gatsby are all top drawer. I am staying loyal to GOLDEN HORN and cannot see The Grey Gatsby overturning the Coral-Eclipse form from Sandown. Gleneagles is the main danger and the conditions look perfect for him, after he was withdrawn from the Sussex Stakes and Prix Jacques le Marois due to unsuitable ground, Aidan O’Brien has taken no chances with him.


Make sure you follow me on Twitter @RealMcCririck for all my views through Ebor week !!

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