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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Surya bids for four-timer as Gosden fires two shots at big handicap pot

Surya: big improver since being stepped up in trip
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3.50 York
Racebets Handicap | 1m6f | 3yo | ITV4/RUK

John Gosden is double-handed in this £100,000 handicap live on ITV4 and Surya, who has not looked back since stepping up in trip, bids for a fourth win on the trot.

The beautifully bred son of Frankel got off the mark at the fourth attempt on the all-weather at Newcastle and has thrived subsequently. His emphatic win at Haydock last time over this trip of a mile and six furlongs earned him a career-best Racing Post Rating of 103. 

Lady Bamford's colt will be joined by stablemate Almoghared, who was a lacklustre tenth behind Stratum in the JLT Cup on his latest run in July and now steps down in trip from an extended two miles. 

Angus Gold, racing manager to Almoghared's owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: "He’s a lovely staying horse. He’s been immature but has enjoyed a good break and been freshened up. We’ll see where we are with him."

Haggas on the hunt

William Haggas, who came so tantalisingly close in the Arc with Sea Of Class, crosses swords again with Gosden as he runs the progressive Canford Heights, a ready winner over the trip last time out.

Haggas said: "He's improving and he stays well. He was a cheap buy and is a gelding, so let’s get on and run him in a decent race. In this new desire to improve the staying division these handicaps were framed for horses like him.

"It’s a shame there are two valuable races on the same day as I can’t run in both of them but I’m pleased to have a go in one of them."

Rain would help Proschema

The 105-rated Proschema, eighth behind Kew Gardens in the St Leger last month, carries top weight of 9st 7lb as he bids to improve further on his good third in the Melrose Handicap at the Ebor meeting. 

Trainer Tom Dascombe said: “We’re very excited, hoping he can keep up his consistent level of form and give us one more good effort in what would be a real nice race to win before the end of the season.

“He goes on any ground but handles soft, so I think any rain would probably help us.”

Proschema: goes on any ground but does handle soft

The colt, who runs in the colours of the Empire State Racing Partnership, could have the £1 million Sky Bet Ebor as his aim next season. 

"That sort of race is his long-term target," Dascombe added. "He ran really well in the Melrose, 50 per cent of his ownership lives in York, and it’s one of the reasons why we want to run here.”  

Step down in trip no problem

Another runner who will be making the step down from two miles is the Amanda Perrett-trained Astromachia, winner of his last two starts over that trip at Goodwood and Kempton. 

The son of Sea The Stars has also run well over a mile and a half, including when second to Ben Vrackie at Lingfield on the all-weather, and Perrett is confident the track will pose no issues. 

"He's stepping down in trip but it's a valuable contest and he's run well at a mile and a half and York is a nice, galloping track," she said.

O'Keeffe hoping to get in the groove

Jedd O'Keeffe knows what it takes to land a decent prize – witness the exploits of star hurdler Sam Spinner last season – and the trainer is expecting another bold run from Rare Groove.

The John Dance-owned colt has won his last two starts and has been trained with this race in mind following last month's victory at Newcastle.

"He's in terrific form," said O'Keeffe. "We've had this race in mind since his win at Newcastle and the step up in trip will suit his racing style.

"Some rain would be welcome and we're expecting a good show."

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He’s been immature but has enjoyed a good break and been freshened up
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