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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

1.55 York, Wednesday, August 17

The Symphony Group Stakes (1.55) at York on Wednesday is a hugely competitive contest in which the bookmakers 10/1 the field and, with exactly half the runners trading at 20/1, or longer, odds in the ante post betting, it looks just the race for us.

Meadway (40/1) has an absence of 54 days to overcome, but won the consolation race for the Scottish Sprint Cup, over 5 furlongs, at Musselburgh on his penultimate start and can be forgiven a lesser effort on the Tapeta at Newcastle last month. The Captain Gerrard gelding remains 6lb higher in the weights than at Musselburgh and has been beaten on all five attempts at this level over the years, but the Musselburgh race has thrown up several winners and he’s not badly drawn in stall 9, so he must have a squeak over a course and distance where he won as a three-year-old.

Soapy Aitken (33/1) made a promising start to his career last season, winning his first two starts and finishing fourth of 27, beaten 2½ lengths, behind Washington DC in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot. However, the Pastoral Pursuits colt has failed to trouble the judge in six subsequent starts, including when dropping back into handicap company at Ascot eleven days ago. He went off like the proverbial scalded cat on that occasion – his first attempt at 6 furlongs – so the dropping back to the minimum trip on a less testing course is definitely in his favour and he, too, has a single-figure draw.

Baraweez (25/1) has never raced at a distance short of 7 furlongs and has been fighting a losing battle with the handicapper since winning over that distance, off a 4lb lower mark, at Galway last August. The Cape Cross gelding has run creditably in defeat on the same course on his last two starts but, for a horse that was tried over a mile and a half as a three-year-old, when with Freddie Head, the decision to run him over the minimum trip is either a stroke of genius or a last resort.

Selections: York 1.55 Meadway (40/1), Soapy Aitken (33/1), Baraweez (25/1)

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