Friday, 27 July 2012
: Afsare is one of 11 declared runners for the £100,000 Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes over an extended 10 furlongs at York on Saturday, July 28, 2012.
The Luca Cumani-trained five-year-old has been at the peak of his powers this term, finishing fourth on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket in April before an excellent second to the top-class Crackerjack King in the Group One Premio Presidente Della Repubblica at Campanelle, Italy, in May. Afsare is Sky Bet's 7/2 joint-favourite.
On his latest start, the son of Dubawi proved a cut above his five rivals with a smooth two and a quarter length success under Kieren Fallon in the Listed Gala Stakes at Sandown on July 6.
Cumani, based at Bedford House Stables in Newmarket, said: "Afsare is in good form. He won his last race at Sandown well but this is a stiffer test and hopefully he can run well.
"I have been very happy with his performances this year. He couldn't do better than finishing second in a Group One and then winning at Sandown as well as he did.
"He would have a good chance if he can reproduce the form he has shown this year, but this is a strong race.
"Good ground or faster is ideal for him."
Afsare will face stiff competition from Group One winner Planteur, the other 7/2 joint favourite with Sky Bet, who won the Group One Prix Ganay over a similar trip at Longchamp last spring when trained by Elie Lellouche.
The five-year-old is now trained in Newmarket by Marco Botti and made a good start for new connections, finishing third both in the Group One Dubai World Cup in March and the Prix d'Ispahan at Longchamp in May.
On his most recent start, he disappointed behind So You Think
in the Group One Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20, when finishing seventh.
Also behind So You Think
at Royal Ascot was Michael Bell's Wigmore Hall (8/1 with Sky Bet). The gelding was beaten just over seven lengths into ninth at the Royal meeting, but also has a top-level success to his name after a neck success in the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine in September. He also won the John Smith's Cup at York in 2010 over Saturday's course and distance.
Jet Away (6/1), trained by Sir Henry Cecil, is another contender with proven course and distance form after a bloodless nine-length victory in a conditions race on the Knavesmire in October, and has won twice this year.
Side Glance (8/1) put in a career best effort at his beloved Ascot last time when finishing third to Frankel in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes on June 19, while Ransom Note (12/1) was also behind the world's best horse when fifth in the Group One Lockinge Stakes in May.
Chris Wall will saddle this season's Group Three Winter Derby victor Premio Loco (12/1), who was also behind Frankel at Royal Ascot after a Group Three success in Scandinavia in May.
Godolphin has won the Sky Bet York Stakes twice in recent season (Stage Gift 2007 & Kirklees 2009) and will be represented by three-time Listed scorer Hunter's Light (12/1), who is trained by Saeed bin Suroor.
The line-up is completed by the Group One-placed Sri Putra (14/1), Planteur's stable companion Marcret (20/1) and Pekan Star (50/1).
A seven-race card at York on Saturday, sponsored entirely by Sky Bet and sportinglife.com, also features the fiercely competitive £50,000 Sky Bet Dash (3.45pm). A maximum field of 20 is set to go to post, headed by Sky Bet's 9/1 joint-favourite Colonel Mak and Head Space.
LATEST PRICES FROM SKY BET
Sky Bet York Stakes: 7/2 Planteur, Afsare; 6/1 Jet Away; 8/1 Side Glance, Wigmore Hall; 12/1 Ransom Note, Hunter's Light, Premio Loco; 14/1 Sri Putra; 20/1 Marcret; 50/1 Pekan Star
Sky Bet Dash: 9/1 Colonel Mak, Head Space; 11/1 Powerful Presence, Klynch, Farlow; 12/1 Kaldoun Kingdom, Grissom; 14/1 Misplaced Fortune, Sacrosanctus, El Viento; 16/1 Van Ellis, Swiss Cross, Tax Free, Chunky Diamond, Fast Shot, Nasri; 25/1 Last Bid; 28/1 Gramercy; 33/1 Capaill Liath, Breathless Kiss