Sprint king Michael Dods has another leading fancy at York in the feature race on Sunday, the Listed 6f Garrowby Stakes (2:55), in course and distance winner Dakota Gold.
This five-year-old Equiano gelding is in the form of his life, has a superb record on the Knavesmire and won his last three in handicap company.
Two of those starts came here either side of success in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon. Dakota Gold is three from five at this venue and thus well worth a crack at this level.
Following a pipe opener in the Gosforth Park Cup on the all-weather at Newcastle, he resumed winning ways here off 96 in July.
After racing in the centre and taking the lead, Dakota Gold rallied superbly when headed and hit the front again 50 yards from home for a half-length victory.
It was gutsy display on soft ground in terrible conditions. He followed-up when going one better than last year in the Great St Wilfrid.
Dakota Gold made all and regular pilot Connor Beasley never had a nervous moment as he kicked clear of the field and scored by 2 1/4 lengths.
As Dakota Gold again defied the handicapper in another valuable sprint during the Ebor Festival, he now has a career high rating of 109.
He held on well over an extended 5f for the hat-trick and beat the re-opposing Marnie James by three-quarters of a length.
It was a huge performance under top-weight and Dakota Gold now meets the runner-up on 4lb better terms. There is no reason why he shouldn’t confirm the form.
With 2lb and upwards in hand on the opposition off these terms in the Garrowby Stakes, Dakota Gold looks well worth a wager at 11/8 with William Hill.
Perfection feared most
David O’Meara is another local trainer who will fancy his chances here with Cheveley Park Stud owned filly Perfection.
The four-year-old daughter of Dutch Art is a dual winner in this grade, but has her 5lb sex allowance partially offset by a penalty.
Perfection progressed from handicapper to pattern performer last season wen landing the Boadicea Stakes at Newmarket by a neck on her final start of the campaign.
She has finished a close second at Group 3 level in three attempts at that higher grade since.
After going down by a head to Pretty Baby at Lingfield on reappearance, Perfection didn’t fire next time up at Haydock.
She shaped better than the bare result suggests when seventh to Cape Byron in the ultra-competitive Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot, however.
Perfection was twice denied clear passage in that red-hot Heritage Handicap and ran on inside the final furlong.
As she was only beaten 3 1/4 lengths by Cape Byron, it’s a performance that can be upgraded.
Although then bested by Surrounding in a Group 3 at Fairyhouse, Perfection was a desperately unlucky loser on her penultimate start.
She ran into shock 2018 Guineas heroine Billesdon Brook in the Oak Tree Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and got chinned in the final strides.
Compensation for those so nearly efforts came last time out when eased in grade at Pontefract.
Connections fitted Perfection with a visor and she only needed driving out to score by half-a-length from Shades Of Blue.
The assessor left her on a 105 rating for that victory, but the penalty is a negative.
Despite commanding respect and hailing from a stable on a 20 per cent strike rate in the last fortnight at the time of writing, Perfection is taken on at 5/1 with Betfair here.
Red Balloons each-way value in Garrowby Stakes
An interesting each-way option in this Garrowby Stakes renewal is Red Balloons, who was a course and distance winner as a juvenile.
This Richard Fahey trained three-year-old filly landed the Premier Yearling Stakes at last year’s Ebor Festival in really taking style.
She made headway over two out, came under a ride approaching the final furlong and soon led before keeping on strongly for a three-length victory.
Although then failing to fire in the Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar, Red Balloons bounce back with a fine third when on the upgrade in the Group 3 Summer Hill Stakes here.
As she stayed on well for jockey Barry McHugh, who again takes the ride, and was only beaten four lengths by Royal Intervention, it was a great effort on her first start at that level.
The Clipper Logistics owned daughter of Kyllachy was just a neck behind Shades Of Blue that day.
Although the runner-up has since confirmed the form in that Listed event at Pontefract, something was amiss with Red Balloons.
If she’s able to put that run where she was always in rear and beaten 7 1/4 lengths into eighth, then odds of 28/1 with William Hill look overpriced for the frame.
The aforementioned Marnie James is another with each-way claims in the Garrowby Stakes.
Trained by Jedd O’Keeffe, the way this four-year-old gelding on strongly to chase home Dakota Gold on debut for the yard suggests the extra distance of this will suit.
He is 4lb worse off at the weights with the winner, but has placed in three of his last four starts at York.
That gives Marnie James a shout of making the frame at 8/1 with BetVictor now upped in trip and class.