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.

Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing