2pts win Mecca's Angel @9/2, 15:40 York, Friday

Potential heavy rain is causing no end of unease in the betting market for the 2016 renewal of the Nunthorpe Stakes, the feature race on York’s Friday card.

Arguably the best sprint in the racing calendar, York’s flat and fast five furlongs is all about speed and is always a brilliant betting heat.

This year’s no different with 20 currently in the mix and the favourite, Limato, has plenty to prove dropping down to the minimum trip after excelling over six furlongs in the July Cup at Newmarket, though any rain will hurt his chances.

He shouldn’t be withdrawn considering connections have paid a hefty supplementary fee for him to run and the fact he’s a gelding meaning there are no consequences of any blemishes on his record – he has no stallion prospects.

Winners change hands so often in five-furlong sprints that there are very few occasions we can’t take on favourites with bigger prices.

Limato is excellent but he hasn’t fared well with the draw over in stall four, as you can bet your house that recent Goodwood winner Take Cover will lead them on from stall 12.

Take Cover hangs right when he races and that’s the opposite direction to Limato, so the favourite could find himself on the wrong side of the track.

That can be the difference between winning and losing sprints like these and I’d rather side with one drawn high or in the middle.

King’s Stand winner Profitable (stall 13) has a huge chance now back to five furlongs after a solid run in the longer July Cup.

He’s unbeaten in three starts over this trip this season, having twice beaten Mecca’s Angel and many of today’s opponents, so arguably sets the form standard.

However, MECCA’S ANGEL (stall 7) looked far from her brilliant best in the King’s Stand and ran no sort of race – too bad too be true.

She’d run a match-fit Profitable to within a neck on her reappearance in the Temple Stakes at Haydock and I’m much more inclined to take that form the most literally.

Perhaps the King’s Stand was just too testing and racing folk had got a little carried away with the consensus she can’t have it too soft – more likely I think she just had an off-day.

The fact remains she was a brilliant, brilliant winner of the Nunthorpe last year on good-to-soft ground and absolutely destroyed a high-class field.

If she runs anything like that today she’ll be incredibly hard to beat, particularly with the forecast rain likely to ease the ground towards something like her perfect conditions.

Limato’s best is brilliant, but it’s very questionable whether it would have been good enough to beat Mecca’s Angel in last year’s renewal so you’ve got to fancy her chances in her own backyard over her favoured trip.

She arrived last year after a defeat on quick ground at the Curragh in Ireland – a defeat her trainer Michael Dodds firmly blamed on conditions – yet this year she went and won that race in commanding style from a bang-in-form Brando and the still highly-talented Sole Power.

So she arrives in good form, is likely to get her conditions and saves her very best for flat tracks like Haydock and York, so there really aren’t many negatives at all.

So is 9/2 value?

She was available at a much bigger price last night due to the uncertainty over the ground, which is a shame, but the more I look at the race the more she is screaming out to be backed and at the very least that’s a fair price.

Value is one thing, but sometimes it’s as simple as backing the best horse in the race and, over this trip, she’s the queen incumbent at York.

2pts win Mecca’s Angel @9/2, 15:40 York, Friday

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