|1pt win Valery Borzov in 14.00 York at 25/1 (Boylesports, Coral).||Should love the ground conditions and won this race back in 2009. Fairly handicapped on old form.|
|1pt win York Glory in 14.00 York at 8/1 (Boylesports, Paddy Power).||Very progressive last season and this proven course winner could be a class above his rivals.|
The William Birch & Sons Construction Stakes looks very competitive, however two horses jump out at me and making most appeal at 25/1 is VALERY BORZOV.
Formerly trained by Dandy Nicholls, the eight-year-old is now in the care of Richard Fahey albeit in the same ownership, and actually won this race in 2009.
He ran a modest race on his comeback at Beverley, but that run over five furlongs on a stiff track is best ignored, and his effort next time at Newmarket was much more like it, finishing just four lengths behind the winner.
Although only dropped a solitary pound in the handicap, he should now be cherry ripe and it's worth remembering that he won on his third start last season, off a mark only 7lbs lower than this.
Also in his favour is the soft ground.
I walked the course earlier in the week and the Knavesmire is pretty sodden; although it drains better than it used to, and the home straight is dryer than the majority of the round course, it's still going to be testing going.
Five of this horse's wins have come on ground softer than good and he is also a prominent racer; that's certainly a positive as a quick glance back through previous winners of this race reveals.
Wyatt Earp in 2007 was the last winner to come from off the pace (trained by Fahey) and the majority of sprints at York go to those who race in the first half of the field.
This prize has rarely left the North, with Jeremy Noseda the last to pinch the pot in 2005 with Soldier's Tale, and his filly Instance is respected, but I can't help but feel that she'll get outpaced here.
A better second string to the bow in my eyes is YORK GLORY at 8/1 who could just be the other Group-class sprinter lurking in the field.
Kevin Ryan's colt really strode clear when winning on the Knavesmire last August and he was subsequently a little unlucky at Doncaster in the Portland.
He's proven over this trip, should handle the ground ok (already a winner on good to soft) and he made progress with every start last year, his first season on the track.
Now a four-year-old, there's every reason to expect further improvement and if he's fully tuned up for this reappearance, then he might just be a class above his rivals.
The well-fancied Shropshire must be a player off the same mark as when a close second at HQ last time, but he doesn't always put two good runs together and his form at York is truly woeful.
I can't help but feel that Tajneed is getting teed-up for a successful return to his favourite track Ripon, whilst New Planet's form isn't working out that well, although the strong pace here will certainly suit John Quinn's charge.
As you'd expect for day one of York, it's a tight handicap to pick apart, and one which has seen eight of the last 10 renewals won by horses priced at 7/1 or less, but I'm happy to stick with Valery Borzov and York Glory against the field.