Top money at York races

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  • As racing prepares for Ascot, York holds the richest three-year-old sprint handicap of the year this weekend

    Before the Lord Mayor’s, or more accurately, the Queen’s show at Royal Ascot next week the racing this Saturday is understandably second class, but highly competitive, nonetheless.

    York features the richest three-year-old sprint handicap of the year, the William Hill Trophy, which should provide Lambourn trainer Ian Wood with the biggest success of his career, with the help of Jonny Ebeneezer.

    Wood, a Glasgow-born businessman who turned to training three years ago, is steadily climbing the ladder of the horse world and recently topped £100,000 prize-money for the season. He has saddled 10 winners so far and is on course to reach his target of 30.

    He has saddled Jonny Ebeneezer to win valuable sprints at Windsor and Epsom and this gelding looks unstoppable in his hat-trick bid. Just James, who rocketed from last to first at Newmarket the other day, has headed the ante post lists on this wide open contest and will be a big threat.

    Stillington trainer David Chapman hashis string in winning shape and Paddywack only has a 12-mile trip to the Knavesmire for the Charles Henry Memorial Handicap. Paddywack may be best known for exploits on the all-weather tracks but he made his mark on turf at Chester recently and followed up with a gutsy second at Ripon. Nothing gives Chapman more pleasure than to win at his local course.

    John Gosden’s Epicentre has a somewhat more tedious trip north from Manton in Wiltshire for the Daniel Prenn Royal Yorkshire Stakes. This three-year-old was not disgraced behind Shagraan at Newbury and has most to fear from top weight Hathaal.

    Emma Ramsden takes a break from presenting Channel 4’s dedicated digital racing programme from York to partner Kristensen for her mother, Thirsk trainer Lynda Ramsden in the Queen Mother’s Cup. They appeal as a winning combination.

    Mrs Ramsden sends Bishops Court south to Sandown for the Royal Bank of Scotland Conditions Stakes and should complete an across-the-card double. Bishops Court was a touch disappointing when fifth behind Rudi’s Pet at Epsom on Derby day last weekend but is worth another chance.

    Kieren Fallon, who partners Bishops Court, may also take the opener on Medallist and the second on Landescent to strengthen his position at the top of the jockeys’ table.

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