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Orlaith looks a York corker

Softer conditions can prove profitable as Flat season winds down


PLACE CLAIMS: OrlaIth can bounce back on York’s softer ground. Pic: Mark Cranham

PLACE CLAIMS: OrlaIth can bounce back on York’s softer ground. Pic: Mark Cranham

PLACE CLAIMS: OrlaIth can bounce back on York’s softer ground. Pic: Mark Cranham

We're entering the final weeks of the turf season on the Flat and opportunities are starting to run out, but hopefully Iain Jardine has found another good opening for ORLAITH (2.40, York), one of a great book of rides I have at York today.

We found out when she won at Newbury two starts ago that she loves a bit of ease in the ground and I just think it wasn't quite soft enough for her when she was fourth at Ayr last time, upped to Group 3 company.

That was a good run because we were messed about by another horse at the start and I'd love to think she could bounce back in the Rockingham Stakes.

Clearly Lampang looks potentially exciting and he has been popular in the early betting movements for this race. Silvestre de Sousa has already had a couple of winners since returning from injury last week and Tim Easterby's runner will probably take the beating.

But Orlaith has come out of the race really well and hopefully we can at least grab a place with conditions in our favour.

LAHORE (3.50, York) didn't quite live up to my hopes in the Ayr Gold Cup on his latest start, but the draw was a disaster for him there. We got stuck on the stands' rail, away from the pace, and never had much of a chance.

He's gone up in the weights again since that run, but I have always thought there might be a good prize in him and I'm back on board in the Coral Sprint Trophy. It's hard to be sure, but stall two doesn't seem a bad draw so maybe this will be his day. It would be a nice pot to win for Phil and Sammy Jo and the horse's owners.

I've been on board EL NASERI (4.25, York) for both of his starts and he's finished second both times.

He's got a good attitude and we always hoped he would be good enough to take a race of this nature, but a couple of the big stables are represented here so we will just have to hope that we don't bump into a good one. The ground is a bit of an unknown for him too as it will be the softest he has encountered.

RIVER ICON (5.00, York) had been running well over hurdles before coming back to the Flat with a really big effort over a mile and a half at Hamilton. She kept finding for me that day, so you'd have to hope that moving up to two miles will be in her favour in the Free Bets For Lengths With Coral Handicap.

I don't know how well-handicapped she is off 80, but she definitely shouldn't mind the soft ground. Looking at the forecast, it's going to be a real test at that trip.

My final ride is on FREEROLLING (5.35, York) for Charlie Fellowes. Again, he has seemed to handle some give in the ground in the past and it's interesting that connections are trying him in a hood for the first time.

He raced too freely in a big handicap at Newbury last time and if the hood helps him to settle better, he's probably got a better chance than his odds might suggest.

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