York preview: Duke of York Clipper Logistic Stakes (15.15)
The William Haggas-trained gelding won two of his four starts last year, landing a valuable 19-runner handicap over course and distance before rounding off the campaign with an easy success in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster.
The latter is considered one of the toughest sprint handicaps in the calendar, but Muthmir turned into into a procession – despite things not going to plan.
Muthmir stumbled as the gates opened, but quickly made up the lost ground and after racing keenly in midfield put the race to bed in a matter of strides when produced to lead inside the final furlong.
The son of Invincible Spirit burst clear under jockey Paul Hanagan to beat Bogart by two lengths in the 20-runner contest, posting a track record in the process.
It was a remarkable effort, and one which marked Muthmir out as sprinter that had the potential to go right to the very top this season.
Although Muthmir now has his first start in 240 days, fitness should not be an issue as he won first time up last year and the stable are in good form at present.
Another plus is that Muthmir is 3-6 over today’s trip of 6f, and with Hanagan once again in the saddle he can take this before going on to better things.
Naadirr put in an improved performance to make a winning reappearance in the Listed Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster and looks sure to go well.
The Marco Botti-trained four-year-old quickened nicely from off the pace to win going away by 1 1/4 lengths from Astaire, and the runner-up has gone on to land a Group 3 contest at Newmarket to give the form a solid look.
Naadirr also has the benefit of race fitness on his side, but whether he has the same class and scope at Muthmir is questionable.
Another that should not be underestimated is the Ed Walker-trained Lightning Moon.
The colt is unbeaten in there starts and rounded off last season with a very taking performance to land the Group 3 Bengough Stakes at Ascot.
Judge on that effort the son of Shamardal needs keeping onside, but all Lightning Moon’s wins have come with cut in the ground and it remains to be seen whether he will be as effective now on today’s quicker going.