Medici Time 33/1
Absolutely love trying to solve these big field sprint handicaps and I'm settling for Tim Easterby's apparent 2nd string in the shape of Medici Time. Granted, I may be mad for taking on Shropshire who was beaten a neck by Maarek on his last start considering I rate the winner so much but for some reason I just don't like him. I think Shropshire actually raced on the better side of the track even though Maarek won on the other side. Barring the winner, nothing came from off the pace and I think the race panned out in a way that suited Shropshire. Finally, in Shropshire's two runs at the track he's finished well down the field twice so there is a definite uncertainty about his ability to act at York and he probably likes the ground a bit softer than it currently is.
Medici Time comes here on the back of a break from October but has a fantastic record running fresh. In the last 3 years from pretty much the same break, he's won once and come 2nd twice so I am certainly buoyed by his excellent record fresh. His last 4 races last year were solid without being spectacular and as a result he's fallen 4lb in the handicap to a mark of 85 which I certainly think is very workable. He's now only 1lb above his last winning mark which came at Newmarket last June where he won by a neck after getting up close home over the 5f trip. The form of that race looks strong with the 2nd Lujeanie finishing 3rd behind Murura on his next start with a 4lb higher mark and it was certainly a likeable effort by Medici Time. On his next start after that, and on his 5th last start, Medici Time ran a very good 1.25L beaten 4th off a mark of 89 at Ascot. Ignoring the winner who was clearly extremely well handicapped and very unlucky in running, the form of that race looks solid with the 2nd Sohraab holding his form well off the same mark and the 3rd Confessional has won again since off a 3lb higher mark.
Although he hasn't won over 6f since 2009, I've watched and rewatched a lot of Medici Time's 5f victories and on several occasions it looks as if the 6f trip would definitely suit. Medici Time has had 3 starts at York including a win over 5f last June so he clearly goes well at the track. Studying previous similar events at York, I think the draw in stall 16 should be absolutely ideal for Medici Time and even if low numbers prove to be favoured the fact this 7 year old is generally held up should allow him to switch tactics if needed. Tom Eaves takes the ride and clearly gets on very well with this animal and he is a very encouraging jockey booking in my eyes. From his two rides on Medici Time, Eaves boasts a win at the course as well as a less than 2L beaten 4th and its a major positive in my eyes. Although most of his opposition have had runs this season, Medici Time has a great record fresh which I'm sure he can use to his advantage. Given the size of the field, he should get the fast pace that will suit which should hopefully allow him to swoop fast and late. Trainer Tim Easterby is in good form and off a mark of 85 I think he's very overpriced at 33s, and looks huge at 75s on Betfair. If all goes to plan, I'm confident of a very big run from Medici Time and hopefully he can land this valuable handicap.