Thirsk preview: Atreus primed to open account
The Mick Esterby trained gelding is yet to get his head in front in 16 starts, but has run well to be placed on numerous occasions and often shaped better than the bare result.
They include when getting beat just a head at Musselburgh back in May off a mark of 59 and a decent fifth of 13 at Hamilton off 64.
Atreus is now able to race off a career-low rating of 57, and comes into the contest on the back of two eye-catching efforts.
In the first of those over 7f at Catterick, Atreus seemed ill at ease on the tight turns but kept on nicely after getting outpaced at a crucial stage to finish third.
The son of Indesatchel backed that up with a strong finishing 1 1/4 length third over 7f at this venue, leaving the distinct impression that his time was near.
Atreus looks sure to appreciate the step up to 1m judged on those runs, and this looks a nice opportunity for him to finally get his head in front.
In the 6f handicap (15.25), Barkston Ash can go well at a big price having dropped to a handy mark.
The Eric Alston trained seven-year-old was last successful over course and distance 15 months ago when easily beating Robot Boy by 3 1/4 lengths off a mark of 89.
Barkston Ash went on to finish in the frame on two occasions off 97, and has also posted some solid efforts this season.
They include an excellent two length runner-up the classy Out Do in a class 2 contest at Pontefract off 88, and Barkston Ash is now able to race in this lower grade class 3 affair off a rating of 85.
That is 4lb lower than when last successful and gives Barkston Ash every chance from a handicapping perspective at a track he runs well.
13.50: Lady Argentum
15.25: Barkston Ash (NB)
16.00: Shamrock Sheila
17.05: Atreus (NAP)