The Messenger has two bets from York on Saturday and they are Golden Apollo and Weekender.
York 2.25: Golden Apollo
A spectacular winner of the featured 6f handicap on this card last season, Golden Apollo was always a very strong finisher at 6f. However as he grows older his lack of tactical pace at that trip was likely to prove an issue and instead this transition to 7f looks a sensible move.
He has had a few tries at the distance already, but generally on softer going where his stamina was put under a lot of pressure. Faster going is expected today and the trip/going combination should be ideal. There was certainly a lot of promise in his fourth place here last month when coming from a long way back and the suspicion is that on his third start of 2018 today he will reach peak fitness.
He has inched down the handicap to within 1lb of his last win, a gutsy victory in the Shergar Cup at Ascot and trainer Tim Easterby has been in sensational form this month.
York 3.00: Weekender
After an eye-catching on the bridle display at Chelmsford on his seasonal debut last month to win over this 14f trip, the bubble with Weekender somewhat burst at Sandown two weeks later. However there were a few reasons I think to ignore that Sandown run and I expect much better today.
It is possible that return to the track came too soon and Weekender simply ran a bit flat at the Esher track. More likely though is that Frankie Dettori got involved in a race for the early lead with Time to Study, leaving both horses vulnerable in the closing stages – potentially the 16f trip was too far as well.
He is fully proven at 14f and his past form indicates Weekender does not need to lead. Dettori is back on board and will hopefully not make the same mistake twice. It looks significant he takes the ride as he is taking things easy in advance of Royal Ascot and only riding a handful of horses this week. He was a progressive individual last season and I think this galloping track will suit the 4yo perfectly.
1pt each-way – Golden Apollo – 2.25 York at 6/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair
1pt win – Weekender – 3.00 York at 10/3 with BetVictor