Racing: Bahr's class to make Midnight toil


NAP: Bahr

(York 3.10)

NB: Raffaello

(York 2.35)

IF it is the function of a good Classic trial to offer a few firm hints as to how a more important race may turn out, but without giving the game away entirely, then it seems fair to describe today's Musidora Stakes at York as small but perfectly formed.

Cape Verdi, the favourite for the Oaks on 5 June, will go straight to Epsom without another race (if, indeed, she contests the Oaks at all), but the next two horses in the market, Midnight Line and Bahr, form half the field for the feature event on the first afternoon of a new Flat season at York.

A total of four horses may seem like a desperate turn out for a race worth pounds 45,000, since many punters would cheerfully trot around 10 furlongs of the Knavesmire themselves for little more than a tenner or so.

None the less, this is an intriguing event, and all the more so since one of the two obvious contenders, Midnight Line, seems sure to start at very short odds indeed following her eight-length win in the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on 1,000 Guineas day.

It is not just the distance that Midnight Line put between herself and second place that day, although that was impressive enough, but also the fact that she is trained by Henry Cecil, who has won five of the last 11 runnings of the Musidora, which will persuade punters to reach for some chunky bundles of banknotes this afternoon.

Four of those winners, meanwhile, went on to take the Oaks itself, so victory for the favourite today will see her shrink to within a point or so of Cape Verdi, who is top-priced at 15-8 with the Tote this morning, in the Classic betting.

The shorter the price, however, the greater the need to question a horse's form, and there are at least two worries which remove Midnight Line from consideration as a betting proposition today. The first is the actual merit of her win at Newmarket, given that the opposition was far from outstanding and the time of the race merely reasonable.

The second comes in the handsome form of Bahr herself, who arrives at York unbeaten in her two races as a juvenile. Both successes were recorded in the style of a very promising filly, and while she is making her seasonal debut today, she cannot be far from peak fitness given that the Oaks itself is just three and a half weeks away. It would be no surprise to see Bahr (3.10) overturn the odds laid on Midnight Line, and if the rush for Cecil's filly pushes the price of her main opponent out to near, say, 2-1, she would certainly be worth a bet.

The televised supporting card today is composed of three handicaps, but since these are York handicaps, which always seem that little bit more tractable than those at many other courses, all are worth a second look. The most valuable is the rated stakes for three-year-olds, which includes several whose ability is far from fully exposed, with Sweet Reward (2.35) likely to go well at a fair price. Crystal Falls seems sure to start favourite for the opener after an unlucky second last time out, and with Frankie Dettori on board will certainly go close, but the Italian's great rival Kieren Fallon could frustrate him again on Largesse (next best 2.05).

The sprint too has an obvious favourite in Sheltering Sky, who won in style at Newmarket's Guineas meeting. Again, though, a better alternative may be to scan the remainder, and GEIMHRIUIL (nap 3.40), who was going well in the same race until lack of condition got the better of him, may turn the tables today.




2.05: LARGESSE ran an excellent race to finish five lengths second to Raise A Prince in a competitive 1m 4f handicap at the Newmarket Craven meeting. He looks fairly handicapped on that form and can go one better today. Crystal Falls looks the main danger.


2.35: NAUTICAL STAR justified his trainer's high opinion of him with a short-head victory over Noble Demand in a decent 1m 2f handicap at the Newmarket Craven meeting. This colt is a progressive sort who should be followed. Bawsian, a most consistent type, may pose the most problems.

3.10: MIDNIGHT LINE, who established herself as a decent two-year-old last year, looks better than ever at three judging by the manner in which she humbled some fair rivals by eight lengths and more in the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes over 1m 2f at Newmarket on 1,000 Guineas day recently. Bahr, who created a favourable impression on both her starts as a juvenile, has been heavily backed for the Oaks in recent weeks. Bahr is clearly considered a more than able deputy for stablemate Cape Verdi should the 1,000 Guineas winner be switched to the Derby. She is the obvious danger.


3.40: SHELTERING SKY looked like he had found his forte when beating Hill Magic by a neck in a highly competitive 29-runner handicap over six furlongs at Newmarket on 2,000 Guineas day. He remains leniently treated and can go in again. The Puzzler, who is quite favourably handicapped on his best form, might prove the most potent threat.

There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: EWI / IWI Installer

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of design...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Support Analyst / Helpdesk Support Analyst

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is the UK's leading ...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'