Past Winners » Tax Free


I am backing Tax Free again here at 10/1 or 11/1. The 10-year-old hasn’t won for over a year but he has run really well in just about every race in which he has run this season, including in particularly big-field handicaps the last three times, and his most recent run was his best of the lot by a little way.

We backed him at Goodwood in the Stewards’ Cup consolation race over six furlongs, and he travelled into the race really nicely, it looked like he would play a big part a furlong out, but he just faded through the final furlong. His finishing position of seventh didn’t do justice to quite how well he ran. The drop back down to five and a half furlongs today should be ideal.

He ran even better in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon on Saturday, his Racing Post Rating of 100 being the highest he has achieved since September 2010. He raced on the stands side, took a lead off Lexi’s Hero before coming through to assert and moving right on from his nine rivals on the near side. He beat them comfortably, but Pepper Lane had broken clear in similar fashion on the far side and was just ahead. Tax Free tried valiantly to get on terms, he even gave up ground in trying to move across to the mare, ending up right towards the far side, but he couldn’t quite get to her. Pepper Lane had won the race the year before and she goes particularly well at Ripon, this win took her form at the track to 243101101, and it really was a big performance from Tax Free to get so close from the stands side.

Dandy Nicholls’s horse has been raised 3lb for that run, but he gets to compete off his old mark here, which gives him a big chance. On both of his two most recent runs he has been right there a furlong out before fading or not making any more ground, and so the drop back in trip from six furlongs to this five furlongs and 89 yards should suit him, especially as the race is likely to be strongly-run. He is drawn among the likely pace-setters Lexi’s Hero, Captain Dunne and Le Toreador, and he should get a good tow into the race from there. He has run well at York several times in the past, including twice this season, and he has a big chance today if he can reproduce a similar effort to the Ripon run.

TAX FREE WON (ADV 11/1, SP 7/1)