Subsequent champion sprinter and Breeders’ Cup winner Sheikh Albadou is just one of a posse of smart performers who have won the Macmillan Charity Sprint Trophy in all of its former guises in the past. Most punters will be trying to keep their tinder dry for Royal Ascot next week but this 6f handicap at York, worth £60,000 to the winner, is the perfect curtain-raiser for the upcoming action and looks just as competitive as a Wokingham or a Royal Hunt Cup.
There’s hasn’t been a winning favourite in this race since 2005 and just two market leaders have been first past the post in the last ten years so the market isn’t always the best guide, though winners are often well backed with only one in the last five starting bigger than 12/1.
Heaven’s Guest and Moviesta both arrive seeking hat-tricks and are prominent in the betting. The former can be backed at a general 9/1 and followed up a win at Hamilton by landing a competitive heat over 7f at Epsom on Oaks day. But all of his victories have come on ground with plenty of give and he might not have conditions to suit on the Knavesmire. Moviesta (9/1 with Betfred) only beat Vincentti by a nose over 5f at York last time and Ron Harris’ charge (14/1 with Paddy Power) is a pound better off now.
Lewisham could be interesting as he had Chilworth Icon (18/1 with Betfred) and Heavy Metal (40/1 with Betfred) behind when runner-up in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket as a two-year-old and meets both on much more favourable terms. An easy maiden win at Kempton last time will have boosted his confidence and he is a tempting 16/1 with BetVictor, Coral and William Hill while the filly Body And Soul was a real money-spinner for Tim Easterby last year and is sure to strip fitter for her run against older horses at Ripon. She is a 14/1 chance with Coral. Barracuda Boy has to be respected after an encouraging comeback third over Sandown‘s stiff 5f and is available at a general 14/1 but I’m keen to stay on the right side of COSMIC CHATTER.
David Barron‘s gelding looks to have been laid out for this as he’s had just the one run this year, finishing a close-up third in a conditions race over 5f at York when clear of the Richard Fahey pair Polski Max and Mary’s Daughter. With that run under his belt and an extra furlong to cover he can reverse that form with the consistent Lucky Beggar (22/1 with BetVictor) and is the choice at a stand-out 10/1 with Paddy Power.