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2018 Nunthorpe Stakes tips – 25/1 shot could shock sprinting world in York’s Friday feature

A wonderful view of the finish as the runners cross the line in the Nunthorpe Stakes.

Our expert takes a look through the betting for the Nunthorpe Stakes and provides readers with his betting suggestions for the feature race at York’s Ebor Festival on Friday.

Day three of the Ebor Festival is headlined by one of the fastest, most thrilling races in the flat racing world – the Nunthorpe Stakes. This prestigious Group One sprint has been won by some of the finest speedsters ever to race on turf, with greats like Abernant, Right Boy, Sharpo and Lochsong scoring in this contest during it’s near-100 year history.

The betting for the 2018 renewal of the Nunthorpe is headed by Battaash (8/11 Paddy Power), who was slashed into an odds-on price after storming to a stunning victory in the King George at Glorious Goodwood. Charlie Hills’ charge has won that Group Two sprint twice, along with the Prix de l’Abbaye since bursting onto the sprinting scene last spring, with the only real blot on his form book coming in this contest 12 months ago.

Jim Crowley’s mount was extremely unsettled behind the stalls, wasting valuable energy trying to fight the stall handlers as they ushered him into his gate. When the race started, Battaash got of to a decent start, but his exploits before the off soon took their toll and Hills’ stable star trailed over the line fourth. 

Battaash’s only other defeat in the past two seasons came at Royal Ascot this year, as William Buick produced Blue Point (5/1 Ladbrokes) at the perfect moment to pick off the leader and claim a tremendous victory in the Kings’ Stand Stakes. Charlie Appleby’s decision to step Blue Point up in trip backfired as his charge failed to fire in the July Cup, but the Godolphin star will relish the opportunity to lower Battaash’s colours at York on Friday.

We then find a decent gap in the market before we reach Finsbury Square (12/1 Coral), who passed the post fourth behind Blue Point and Battaash on his most recent start at Royal Ascot. That was a career-best performance on fast ground for Delcher Sanchez’s raider, but the going at York on Friday is still likely to be too quick for a sprinter who loves a bit of cut in the ground.

Mabs Cross (16/1 Coral) has been in excellent form this season, winning the Palace House Stakes on her second start before placing in the Temple Stakes and the Kings’ Stand. Michael Dods’ filly travels to York on the back of her most disappointing result of the campaign – finishing third as the firm Sapphire Stakes favourite – but she has proven herself to be a top-quality sprinter this term and cannot be ruled out.

Battaash destroys his rivals when retaining his King George crown at Goodwood.

Havana Grey (25/1 William Hill) was a 10/1 shot when he edged out both Mabs Cross and Caspian Prince to win the Sapphire Stakes. That was a welcome return to form for Karl Burke’s sprinter, but he was unable to back it up at Goodwood, where he crossed the line sixth of eleven as Battaash retained his King George crown.

Caspian Prince (20/1 Ladbrokes) continues to defy his doubters, winning a high-quality handicap sprint for his fourth different handler at Musselburgh in June, before securing two solid seconds over in Ireland. The nine-year-old fan’s favourite is showing little signs of age, but it would still be a surprise if Mick Appleby’s sprinter was able to challenge for this title.

After several near misses in pattern races, Judicial (18/1 Coral) finally got off the mark in grouped company last month, storming to a comfortable victory in the Coral Charge at Sandown. This will be the first time Julie Camacho has thrown her six-year-old into a Group One. Judicial certainly deserves the opportunity to prove his quality and there’s a feeling that there’s more to come from this improving sprinter.

Washington DC (25/1 Paddy Power) will lead the Ballydoyle assault on the Nunthorpe for the third year in a row, but he’s been well beaten on his two previous outings on the Knavesmire and has shown little form this term. Aidan O’Brien’s hopes are likely to hang on Sioux Nation (25/1 William Hill), but – despite the great work he puts in on the gallops at home – the three-year-old has failed to fulfil his potential thus far and reappears after a dismal performance at Glorious Goodwood.

Take Cover (25/1 Ladbrokes) rolled back the years to take second, four lengths behind Battaash in the King George and David Griffiths’ teenager could be a challenger for the places. As could William Haggas’ Muthmir (25/1 Paddy Power), who won the Listed Achilles Stakes earlier this season before finishing third in two good quality sprints.

Battaash is the overwhelming favourite to claim this prize and, if he enters the stalls without any fuss, he will be very difficult to peg back. The fast-starting Caspian Prince has been drawn on his shoulder, which should provide Jim Crowley with the early cover Battaash desperately craves.

That being said, returning to York may bring back bad memories for Charlie Hills’ quirky sprinter and, at his current odds-on price, he offers little in the way of value. Given there are three places up for grabs and the lengthy odds of most of the entrants, an each-way punt is the best betting plan in this year’s Nunthorpe. Mabs Cross can bounce back from a disappointing result last time and Judicial could handle the step up in class. Yet, I’m prepared to take a big gamble and back MR LUPTON (25/1 Coral) at a massive price.

Richard Fahey’s sprinter has been in good form this season, scoring two valuable victories from his seven seasonal starts. After beginning his campaign with a decent second in Listed company, Mr Lupton carried top weight to victory over El Astronaute in a handicap here at York, before cruising to the Listed City Walls Stakes title, again here at York.

In-between those victories, Mr Lupton finished a creditable eighth in a red hot renewal of the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, before a sluggish start put paid to his bid to win the Coral Charge at Sandown. Paul Hanagan’s mount was a little taken aback by the early pace set by Battaash and Kachy in the King George, but after weaving across the track to find a gap, Fahey’s five-year-old finished the race really nicely to pass the post just a nose behind Muthmir in fourth.

Three of Mr Lupton’s six career victories have come here on the Knavesmire, with two of those triumphs coming this season. This will be his first crack at a Group One since finishing sixth in last year’s Sprint Cup, but Mr Lupton is in-form, he goes on the ground and clearly loves the track. 

There have been 20/1 and 40/1 winners of the Nunthorpe in the last decade alone and 50/1 shot Cotai Glory grabbed a place ahead of Battaash 12 months ago. Mr Lupton could run well above his current lengthy odds.

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2018 Nunthorpe Stakes tips – 25/1 shot could shock sprinting world in York’s Friday feature

Our expert takes a look through the betting for the Nunthorpe Stakes and provides readers with his betting suggestions for the feature race at York’s Ebor Festival on Friday 24th August.

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