Paul Midgley has 'three massive chances' in bid to repeat last year's sprint win
Last year's Ebor Festival kicked off with success for one of the locals when Paul Midgley took the Sky Bet And Symphony Handicap (1.55) in style with veteran Desert Law.
Desert Law is absent this time but Midgley is never short of ammunition in this sphere and is three-handed, with Final Venture, Line of Reason and Tanasoq.
They will have a strong on-course following and there will be celebrations if one of the trio can see off strong opposition from the fashionable southern yards of Charlie Appleby and Clive Cox, who headed the overnight market with Culturati and Tis Marvellous respectively.
Twelve months ago Final Venture took on Marsha and Lady Aurelia in the Nunthorpe, while Line Of Reason was a recent third to Tis Marvellous in the Shergar Cup. Tanasoq has had a terrific season, winning the Dash at Epsom and finding only a higher rated stablemate too good at Hamilton last time.
He said: "It's mighty competitive, but I think I have three massive chances. Tanasoq has been absolutely fantastic and I think you can mark up his Hamilton run as the ground was on the easy side for him and the winner has franked the form. He's very laid-back and there's every chance he's still in front of the handicapper.
"Line Of Reason can't have it too fast and he made them look very ordinary up at Ayr when he got his proper conditions. He's handicapped to win again, and I think Final Venture is potentially well treated even off 100. He's plainly not been at his best this year, and that's why he's had a break, but he's the best I've had him in a long, long while."
Genetics, a 12-length winner at Ascot's Shergar Cup, races off an 8lb higher mark against stiff opposition in the Sky Bet Handicap (4.15). He is clearly on the upgrade and at last fulfilling his juvenile promise, but Andrew Balding will be hoping that the half mile step up in distance to 2m brings out significant further improvement.
There are any number of dangers in a £70,000 handicap worthy of the money, and high among them must be Here And Now, who represents Ralph Beckett and Harry Bentley, successful last year with Melbourne Cup-bound Magic Circle, and was third here last year in the Melrose Handicap.
We have probably seen the best of most of those towards the top of the handicap, but Here And Now ought to have more to offer and this has the look of a long-term plan.
Weatherby's Super Sprint winner Ginger Nut bids for another big payout in the Sky Bet Nursery (4.50), which with a value of £70,000 is among the most richly endowed races of its type. She got six furlongs very well when beaten only a head in a similar race at Newmarket last time and can race off a mark just 2lb higher.
Hannon, who has a second live chance with Moyassar, said: "Ginger Nut's big payday was in the Super Sprint, so she owes us absolutely nothing, but she’s not done with yet and still has plenty more races in her.
"Moyassar is learning with every run and this type of race will really play to his strengths. The ground isn’t an issue and I can see him running a very big race."
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