We’re being ‘Given’ an absolute gift, aren’t we?

Zain Claudette, napped when unchallenged at Newmarket in June and subsequent winner of the ‘Princess Margaret’ at Ascot last month, has the edge over penalised Sandrine in the group two Fillies’ Lowther Stakes over six furlongs of ‘good’ York ground today when the Knavesmire course will ride like lightning, unless I’m very much mistaken.

Gone are the ‘bog-like’ surfaces at this fantastic North Yorkshire racetrack, following millions of pounds being spent on drainage, and nowadays it’s the supreme test of thoroughbreds in every sense; we’ve had no rain to speak of for a while and it will be fascinating to compute race-times throughout the week.

The famous Berkshire course was also ‘remedied’ similarly several years and equates to York; my description, they are like sponges!

Unbeaten Sandrine, strongly-fancied by David Probert, aboard in all three races, is penalised 3lbs but comes out 8lbs clear of Zain Claudette after adjustment of official BHA ratings; my time-handicap has them equal!

This is an opportunity, with so much ‘dead wood’ among ten rivals, to seize upon a gilt-edged each-way opportunity at inflated odds and will be my play; I’m also tempted to have a place saver on Desert Dreamer, caught dramatically in the final stride by Zain Claudette last time out.

What a sensational opener in prospect, two-year-old aficionados will be salivating in anticipation.

Thirty-five minutes later we have a direct time-comparison over the same distance when twenty-two juveniles battle for major prize-money in the Goffs Premier Yearling Stakes, a ‘gift’ for Goodwood nursery winner, Ever Given.

Taking handicap form to set-weight races has always been the way forward, Ever Given represents a classic example under Danny Tudhope who rode Tom Dascombe’s charge at the Arundel venue last month; subsequently (three days later!) this Kodi Bear colt, under Wayne Lordan, finished fourth (of 22!), beaten less than two lengths, in a sales race at Naas, Ireland, where he was hampered ‘early doors’ which possibly compromised his chance. Tough schedule but enterprising by Dascombe!

Wonder why Richard Kingscote has ‘left’ his operation!

Running in tandem with this fabulous day will be ‘good to firm’ Stratford where what beats evergreen veteran Every Breakin Wave in the Novices’ Hurdle over two and three-quarter will surely win.    

Selections, York, 1.50 Zain Claudette (e.w); 2.25 Ever Given (e.w); Stratford, 2.05 Every Breakin Wave.

 Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019