Kite Wood: misses the Yorkshire Cup because of the groundPICTURE: Mark Cranham
Non-runners aplenty as York hit hard by ground
THE controversy over the state of York's going this week has been heightened after a plethora of non-runners, including Emirates Airline Yorkshire Cup favourite Kite Wood, were announced for the final day of the Dante meeting on Friday.
Jockeys Jamie Spencer and Johnny Murtagh complained on Thursday about the condition of the course with Spencer claiming that it was "as firm down the back as I've ever known it here".
Fears over the racing surface led to 11 horses being withdrawn due to theground on Thursday, but that number has already been exceeded on Friday with 18 horses scratched as a result of the ground - officially good to firm - by 10.49am. Trainers have taken the decision to pull out their runners despite underfire clerk of the course William Derby watering the track after racing on Thursday.
Among the defectors are Ladbrokes St Leger second Kite Wood in the Yorkshire Cup, for which three of the eight intended starters will no longer appear.
Accordingly, Godolphin hopes of landing the Friday feature will rest with Wajir, winner of the Group Three Prix de Lutece over 1m7f at Longchamp on his final start last term, who is making his seasonal debut today.
The Saeed bin Suroor-trained colt, partnered by Frankie Dettori instead of Ted Durcan following Kite Wood's withdrawal, is now 11-4 third favourite with William Hill (from 13-2).
Bin Suroor told the Godolphin website: "Wajir has been working well and he is improving all of the time. He had some good form in France and the distance will be fine, but he will also come on for the run."
The Listed fillies' race following the Yorkshire Cup has also been hit hard, moving from an eight-runner contest to a five-horse event.
1.40: 1 Above The Stars
2.10: 7 Siberian Tiger, 10 Thin Red Line, 15 Bothy, 16 Reve De Nuit
2.40: 1 Furmigadelagiusta, 4 Kite Wood, 8 Clowance
3.10: 3 Decorative, 4 Deirdre, 7 Snow Fairy
3.45: 4 Bossy Kitty, 13 Royal Holiday
4.20 6 Enderby Spirit, 7 Sonny Red, 8 Cheveton, 14 Tajneed
4.55: 2 Sunny Game, 6 Zuider Zee, 7 Tamanaco