Beverley preview: City Ground and Serena a potent combination
City Ground can take advantage of a drop in the weights to enhance his excellent record in the lady amateur riders’ handicap on today’s eight-race card at Beverley (18.05).
The Mick Easterby trained gelding landed the spoils in the 2013 running, and also ran a blinder to finish runner-up in last year’s renewal.
Although the eight-year-old has failed to trouble the judge in four runs this season, City Ground shaped as if returning to form last time out when sixth of 16 to Commissar in a class 5 contest at Newmarket and now drops down into class 6 company.
The veteran has also been cut plenty of slack by the handicapper and is now 1lb lower than when last successful at Brighton 11 months ago in the hands of today’s rider Serena Brotherton.
It makes City Ground look weighted to take all the beating, and he goes extremely well for Brotherton who is one of the best amateurs in the business.
Easterby also has his team in good form, and City Ground looks primed to go one better than 12 months ago.
In the 2m handicap (16.00), Waterclock looks worth siding with to foil the hat-trick bid of Aldreth.
The Jedd O’Keefe trained gelding has not won in 14 starts on the level since scoring on debut, but has run well to be placed in some competitive affairs.
They include a cracking second of 33 to Scatter Dice in the 2013 running of the Cesarewitch at Newmarket off a mark of 88, and Waterclock is now able to race off a career-low of just 75 in this far less competitive class 4 contest.
It gives the six-year-old major claims from a handicapping perspective, and Waterclock comes into the race on the back of two solid efforts which suggests he is returning to form and ready to strike.
O’Keefe also has a strike rate of 27 per cent with his runners at the Yorkshire venue in the past 12 months, and the booking of jockey of Graham Lee is a positive as he does particularly well when teaming up with the yard.
Connections are also now fitting Waterclock with the visor for the first time, and if the new headgear has the desired effect the son of Notnowcato looks weighted to score an overdue success.
15.25: George Bailey
16.00: Waterclock (NB)
17.35: Avenue Des Champs
18.05: City Ground (NAP)