Mark Duncan previews the Conditions Handicap at 3.00 on the Dante card at York on Thursday.
The 3.00 at York on Thursday is an interesting conditions sprint event, with only 6 runners in the line up. Mark Johnston is double handed in the race with Es Que Love and Vocational. The latter promised a lot in her 2yo season and her best achievement to date was a good second in the Group 2 Serenia Stakes at Kempton to the useful Shumoos, and she then ran a solid enough race in the Childers Stakes at Doncaster. However on that form she looks held by Caledonia Lady who re-opposes. She ran well for a long way on her seasonal re-appearance which should bring her on nicely for this race. One thing is for sure, Es Que Love is likely to set a good clip which would could suit her. Es Que Love is bidding for the hat-trick and has a progressive profile, but realistically they’ve looked like very weak races on both occasions that he’s won, and he was able to steal the race from the front. This is a much tougher race, and Vocational looks a bigger danger for me of the two.
North Star Boy has looked short of top class for the Richard Hannon yard, but shouldn’t be ignored if the money is around in the markets. Ponty Acclaim and Calendonia Lady are closely matched on their previous two runs. Calendonia Lady looked the better of the two when winning well at Ascot in a Listed event with Ponty Acclaim seven lengths back in 6th. But on their final appearance of the season, Ponty Acclaim turned the tables on her in the Group 2 Cornwallis Stakes. However Ponty Acclaim has it all today giving weight away and returning from a 229 day lay-off, and questions have to be raised whether she’s trained on or not. Caledonia Lady has certainly proved that, just failing to get up behind Beyond Desire in a listed event at Bath and ran well despite blowing the start in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket. She looks likely to run a good race and is clearly still progressing for Jo Hughes. However the race looks set-up for Pearl Secret, who is a confident selection in the race.
The colt showed he had trained on when winning in facile fashion at Doncaster last month, and he holds a Group 1 entry in the July Cup, so David Barron clearly thinks he’s very talented. He has proven he can act on good and soft/heavy ground so far, so conditions tomorrow should be perfect at York. The turn of foot he showed at Doncaster in heavy ground was impressive to say the least, and with a race that looks set to suit with a good clip ensured from either of the Mark Johnson runners, he’s a confident selection before he progresses onto better things, at a decent looking Evens with Betfred. Caledonia Lady can chase him home.
Selection: Pearl Secret Evens WIN (Bet with Betfred)
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Photo Credits: dailymail.co.uk