Turf Talk: Count Octave can hit the high notes in the MansionBet Yorkshire Cup at York

Count Octave's trainer Andrew Balding. PIC: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Count Octave's trainer Andrew Balding. PIC: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
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Count Octave can announce his arrival in the staying division with victory in the MansionBet Yorkshire Cup at York.

Andrew Balding’s four-year-old is certainly not an unknown having finished second in Queen’s Vase last year before claiming a creditable sixth as an outsider in the St Leger, but he does come into this race slightly under the radar.

All attention will be focused on last year’s Goodwood Cup hero Stradivarius. However, it should not be forgotten that Count Octave was only a neck adrift when that pair met at Royal Ascot 2017.

Also add in the fact that he was given a bit too much to do at Doncaster on his Classic outing and Count Octave certainly seems to have a few shreds of Group One form.

Given a nice confidence-boosting win on the all-weather to kick off 2018, Count Octave was tapped for toe behind Defoe over 12 furlongs at Newmarket recently, but there was no disgrace in that and a proper race should have knocked off any remaining cobwebs. Count Octave has a bit to find on the pure numbers with a couple of rivals here, but he should be game for the challenge.

At the other end of the scale Snazzy can show her rivals a clean pair of heels in the Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes over five furlongs.

She ran out a cosy winner on her debut on the Newcastle all-weather back in March despite some evident greenness and can add an early Listed success to her CV.

Dance Diva ran well in the Fred Darling on her return to action and she can step up on that third in the Longines Irish Champions Weekend Fillies’ Stakes.

She raced away from the main protagonists that day and can be rated a little better than the official distances suggest.

Herculean is the one to be on at Newmarket as he returns to action in the Pegasus Profiles Flying Horse Novice Stakes.

He made quite a splash when winning at Ascot on his debut for Roger Charlton last September, but a minor setback ruled him out of any of the big autumn juvenile contests.

Charlton keeps it relatively low-key on his return here, but his Irish 2,000 Guineas entry certainly demonstrates the regard in which he is still held.

Moonrise Landing is another to note as she lines up in the Edmondson Hall Solicitors & Sports Lawyers Handicap.

She put in a lacklustre effort from 381 days on the sidelines when well beaten at Ripon last month but can be expected to feel the benefit of that outing.

First Eleven can finally get off the mark in the John Sunley Memorial Handicap at Newbury.

As a Frankel half-brother to top miler Kingman, plenty was expected of First Eleven but he has failed to hit the target in four outings so far.

However, a switch to handicap company last time produced a near-miss and it will surely not be long before he scores at this kind of level.


YORK: 2.20 Snazzy (treble), 2.55 Dance Diva, 3.30 COUNT OCTAVE (NAP), 4.05 Banditry, 4.35 Pepita, 5.05 Fool For You, 5.40 Victory Chime.

AINTREE: 5.35 Morning With Ivan, 6.05 Kings Lad, 6.40 Theclockisticking, 7.10 Not That Fuisse, 7.45 Malton Rose, 8.20 Baden, 8.50 Rogue Diamond.

HAMILTON: 5.55 Mr Buttons, 6.25 Corked, 7.00 Vive La Difference, 7.30 Starplex, 8.05 Kyllachy Dragon, 8.35 Nuns Walk, 9.05 Imperial Legend.

NEWBURY: 1.30 Alfie Solomons, 2.00 Fly The Nest, 2.35 The Daley Express, 3.05 Sufi, 3.40 Nordic Passage, 4.15 Harawi, 4.45 First Eleven, 5.20 Rayaa.

NEWMARKET: 1.40 Swissal, 2.10 Lethal Angel, 2.45 Del Parco, 3.20 Lunar Jet, 3.55 Moonrise Landing, 4.25 Herculean (next best), 4.55 Knight Owl, 5.30 Coverham.