A strong entry of 20 has been received for the £100,000 Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes (3.15pm) at York on Saturday, July 26.
Among them is the Mark Tompkins-trained Smokey Oakey, who was today reported to be in good form and on target for the extended 10-furlong contest.
Although the four-year-old hasn’t been seen since winning the Group Three Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown on May 29, his trainer is confident that Smokey Oakey can produce another good run. However, he will be hoping that the ground doesn’t dry out too much during the week.
"If the ground stays on the easy side, Smokey Oakey will run in the Sky Bet York Stakes," explained the Newmarket handler.
"He’s very well at home and I’m hopeful of a good run. York is always a lucky track for me so he will definitely run if the ground is on the good to soft side."
The trainer also added that it would be fitting if the son of Tendulkar, a 16/1 shot with Sky Bet who opened betting today, landed the Group Two as part-owner Dame Judi Dench is originally from York. The Oscar-winning movie star owns the colt along with her chauffeur, Bryan Agar.
The John Gosden-trained Pipedreamer was third to Smokey Oakey at Sandown and has been installed the 3/1 favourite with the sponsors after filling the same placing at Group One level on his two most recent starts in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and then the Coral-Eclipse.
Also entered for Saturday’s contest is Michael Jarvis’ globetrotting star Pressing (12/1). He followed up a runner-up finish on his seasonal debut in an Italian Group One with a good performance to take fourth behind Duke Of Marmalade in the Group One Prince Of Wales’s Stakes before filling the same position in the Group Two Summer Mile, also at Ascot.
Mick Channon has entered both Group Three Huxley Stakes winner Championship Point (25/1) and Halicarnassus (33/1), while Saeed bin Suroor is also double-handed with last year’s winner Stage Gift (16/1) and King Edward VII Stakes winner Campanologist (7/2), who had City Leader (16/1) well-beaten in sixth.
Henry Cecil is another trainer who has entered two, with both Group Two Hardwicke Stakes runner-up Multidimensional (10/1) and recent Listed Gala Stakes scorer Many Volumes (12/1) engaged.
Meanwhile, Sir Michael Stoute has given Tajaaweed (5/1), who won the Group Three Dee Stakes at Chester en-route to finishing eighth in the Vodafone Derby at Epsom Downs, an entry.
Listed Hampton Court Stakes first and second, Collection (5/1) and Staying On (14/1), have also been entered by their respective trainers, while Richard Hannon has this race in mind for Listed winner Redolent (25/1).
Blythe Knight (16/1), winner of the Group Three Diomed Stakes and Listed City Plate already this season, may face a step back up in trip if trainer John Quinn runs the eight-year-old.
Sky Bet odds for Sky Bet York Stakes: 3/1 Pipedreamer, 7/2 Campanologist, 5/1 Tajaaweed, Collection, 10/1 Multidimensional, 12/1 Many Volumes, Pressing, 14/1 Staying On, 16/1 Blythe Knight, Smokey Oakey, Stage Gift, City Leader, Hearthstead Maison, 18/1 Flying Clarets, 20/1 Eradicate, 25/1 Redolent, Championship Point, 33/1 Supaseus, Halicarnassus, 100/1 Dunaskin.
PORTMAN HOPING FOR SKY BET DASH BOUNTY
A total of 35 horses have been entered for the £50,000 Sky Bet Dash (3.50pm) at York on Saturday, July 26, and the six-furlong handicap looks set to be another cracking renewal with a host of talented performers among those engaged.
Jonny Portman is considering letting his talented three-year-old Spanish Bounty take his chance in the ultra-competitive contest. The son of Bahamian Bounty, currently rated as a 10/1 chance on the opening show by race sponsors Sky Bet, ran on well to take the valuable six-furlong toteswinger Handicap on his latest appearance at Newmarket’s July Festival.
The Compton-based trainer was delighted with the three-year-old gelding’s victory in that race and hopes that Spanish Bounty can make his mark as he prepares to take on older horses for the first time.
Portman commented: "We’ve entered Spanish Bounty in the Sky Bet Dash and it’s a distinct possibility at the moment. He’s come out of his Newmarket race really well and, while I normally wouldn’t want to run him so soon afterwards, he’s particularly well in himself at the moment.
"I was very pleased with his performance at Newmarket. I’ve always liked the horse and it was great that he produced a run like that in a big handicap. Running in the Sky Bet Dash will be tougher for him, especially taking on horses from the likes of David Nicholls and Richard Fahey.
"He’s gone up in the weights and he’ll be taking on older horses but life gets a bit tough for him now and there’s not many chances now for him to take on other three-year-olds.
"I have always preferred faster ground for him. When he was second at Newmarket earlier in the season, I was nervous about letting him take his chance because it was worryingly soft but he ran well on it. It was on the slower side of good on his last start but I knew that he could get the best ground in the middle and we were lucky that is was an earlier race.
"We’ve tried to book Tom Queally again for the ride and we will know tomorrow (Tuesday) whether he is required by Henry Cecil at Newmarket. Hopefully, he can take the ride and I’m looking forward to seeing the pair in action at York on Saturday."
Sky Bet make the Jeremy Noseda-trained Express Wish their 8/1 joint-favourite for Saturday’s race and the unexposed four-year-old sits at the head of the market alongside recent Scottish Stewards’ Cup winner Knot In Wood, trained by Richard Fahey. The Malton-based handler has also engaged dual Knavesmire winner Harrison George (10/1), Sunrise Safari (25/1) and Kaldoun Kingdom (16/1), who recently chased home last year’s Sky Bet Dash victor Zomerlust (12/1) over the same course and distance in the John Smith's Extra Cold Handicap.
Howard Johnson has entered Tombi (16/1), who was a comprehensive winner of the Sporting Index Handicap on his seasonal debut at York’s May Meeting, while Kevin Ryan has engaged Wokingham Handicap fifth Tamagin (10/1) and National Express Scottish Sprint Cup runner-up Everymanforhimself (16/1).
Other notable entries include the Derek Shaw-trained Baby Strange (10/1), who finished a nose second to Knot In Wood in the Scottish Stewards’ Cup, recent impressive Leicester handicap scorer My Gacho (12/1), Allan Dickman’s consistent York performer Ishetoo (14/1) and last year’s Portland Handicap scorer Fullandby (16/1).
Sky Bet’s odds for the Sky Bet Dash: 8/1 Express Wish, 8/1 Knot In Wood 10/1 Baby Strange, 10/1 Harrison George, 10/1 Spanish Bounty, 10/1 Tamagin, 12/1 My Gacho, 12/1 Zomerlust, 14/1 Ishetoo, 14/1 Lesson In Humility, 14/1 Efistorm, 16/1 Fullandby, 16/1 Kaldoun Kingdom, 16/1 Pawan, 16/1 Phantom Whisper, 16/1 Stevie Gee, 16/1 Tombi, 16/1 Bentong, 16/1 Ceremonial Jade, 16/1 Everymanforhimself, 20/1 Janina, 20/1 River Falcon, 20/1 Excusez Moi, 25/1 Geojimali, 25/1 Harbour Blues, 25/1 Baldemar, 25/1 Majuro, 25/1 Malcheek, 25/1 Sunrise Safari, 25/1 Blue Tomato, 28/1 Ajigolo, 28/1 John Keats, 28/1 Rising Shadow, 33/1 Bazroy, 40/1 Steenberg