Spirit can rise to the occasion in City of York Stakes
That Is The Spirit can take advantage of a drop in class to land the City Of York Stakes at York today (3.05).
The David O’Meara trained gelding made all to score in good style on debut at Doncaster before putting in a stunning performance to land a handicap over course and distance
The son of invincible Spirit spreadeagled an 18-runner field in the latter to beat Shot In The Sun with tons more in hand than the winning margin of 1 1/2 lengths suggests.
It was a display which marked That Is The Spirit out as a potential pattern race performer, and the three-year-old confirmed that view when landing a Listed contest at Epsom by a nose after jockey Danny Tudhope took things too easy in the final furlong when having the race sewn-up.
That Is The Spirit was then far from disgraced when ninth of 23 to Mustajeeb in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, and ran very well last time out over an inadequate 6f when fifth of 12 to Music Master in the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury.
The step back up to 7f and drop back into Listed company looks sure to suit, and with Richard Hughes in the saddle, That Is The Spirit could prove tough to peg back on a track which is ideal for his run style.
The main danger could well be the Richard Fahey trained Heaven’s Guest who has the services in the saddle of the unstoppable Ryan Moore.
The gelding was a progressive sort last season, and posted a really solid effort when landing the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket last month.
The four-year-old then got no luck in-running when a fast finishing fourth of 29 to Heavy Metal in the International Stakes at Ascot befiore finding the mile trip too far last time out when a close up 10th of 17 to Red Avenger at Ascot.
Those efforts suggest that Heaven’s Guest is well worth a try at this level, and in a race which should be run so suit, the son of Dark Angel looks a major player now that he has his optimum conditions.