Kevin Blake’s backing two he expects to improve



The third and final day of the Dante meeting at York is in our sights. At the time of writing, the ground is steadily drying and with the weather suggesting the worst of the rain is behind us, it could well be riding close to good ground all over by Friday.

Significant improvement expected

The first race is the Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes (13:40) and there is a bet in it in the shape of the Andrew Balding-trained Nymphadora.

The speedily-bred daughter of No Nay Never made a very promising debut in what was a strong fillies’ maiden at Newmarket in mid-April. Having missed the kick by a few lengths, she showed sharp speed to recover to dispute the lead. She was still travelling as well as anything approaching the final furlong, trading as low as 2.245/4 in-running on Betfair, until the lack of a previous run and her early exertions told in the final 100 yards with Oisin Murphy giving her an easy time once beaten.

Andrew Balding wouldn’t necessarily be known for sharp two-year-olds and she can be expected to improve significantly from that first outing. Any drying in the ground will be a help to her and a big run from her wouldn’t surprise.

Step up in trip key to Makram’s chances

The Matchbook “Best Value” Exchange Handicap (14:40) is a highly-competitive contest and the one I like is the bottom weight Makram.

Trained by Roger Charlton, the son of Make Believe has steadily progressed in his six-race career. Having won a handicap at Ascot in July in great style, he has shaped better than the bare result in both his starts since. The most recent was his seasonal reappearance in a mile handicap at Newmarket and he ended up in a poor position having missed the kick, which is typical for him. Having not got the clearest of runs, he was beaten just two lengths back in fifth.

As well as the likelihood of him improving from that comeback run, the real key to his chance is the step up in trip. He is very much bred for it, with his sire Make Believe proving to be an influence for stamina in the main and the dam side of his pedigree very much being that of a middle-distance performer (dam won over a mile-and-a-half and is a full-sister to Youmzain).

It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him improve and he could well make the very best of his light racing weight in this.