York’s Ebor Festival meeting has always been a special favourite of mine, first visited by me at the tender age of 8 in 1977 to see Relkino’s shock 33/1 victory in the Benson & Hedges Gold Cup. Of all the races there, the Ebor Handicap remains my favourite….something that started with watching Sea Pigeon’s late thrust to victory to catch Donegal Prince in 1980 under top weight. Later favorites, Quick Ransom and Further Flight did nothing to diminish the love of thie great handicap race.
I don’t get to go as regularly as I did in the 1980s and 1990s but it’s always the highlight of the Summer Flat season for me – Ascot with a Northern twist.
At time of writing ‘good’ appears the likely going with the chance of some rain later in the week.
Tuesday’s card has plenty of quality and thoughts below:
1.55 A very competitive sprint handicap – a bit too hard a puzzle for me to get involved.
There seems to be plenty of pace from the high stalls and See the Sun of those likely to be forward early would be a marginal pick. This trip (5 furlongs and lets not forget the 89 yards!…it could be crucial to blunt the real 5 furlong specialists) would appear to be ideal for him after showing bags of pace here twice at 6 furlongs.
I am just a little worried about the high draw on the course this year though – since Aetna won here at the May meeting from 20 I haven’t really seen anything that has prospered from running up the stands rail and do wonder if the ground has a problem there. I would not be surpised to see runners head more for the middle of the course.
Last years winner Bogart is another of interest down to a career low mark of 94. He also won at this meeting as a 2yo and this does appear to be a track that suits him well. He did capitulate a little too early for me at his last course visit here though (behind Goldream, See the Sun and others) to go wading in on him
2.30 Acomb Stakes
A 2yo race that can provide future stars – few will forget Gorytus’s scintillating debut in 1982 before unfortunate circumstances ruined his later career.
I don’t quite see what Basateen and Jamaica have done to warrant odds of around 2/1 and 5/2 respectively. They may be promising types but haven’t beaten much yet. In contrast at around 7/1 I do think that Prince Gagarin and Growl are both equally exciting and are overpriced.
Good to see Ryan Moore keeping the partnership on Prince Gagarin (positive comments from him after his last win) and it’s so rare to see a Meehan 2yo win well on its debut that Growl has to be of interest – they almost always improve enormously on their next start.
If it wasn’t for a relatively poor winning time in his maiden at Ascot (traditionally a good race – 3rd and 4th have both come out since and ran well), I would be favouring Growl even more here
1pt each to win Growl and Prince Gagarin – 7/1 available on both as I write
3.05 Great Voltigeur Stakes
Traditionally seen as trial for the St. Leger it’s the one horse who doesn’t have a Doncaster entry that interests me.
Postponed has long been on the radar of this blog and his last win confirmed the impression that he is an improving type and will relish the extra furlong he gets here. He won decisively at Hamilton (Double Bluff 2nd has boosted form since) despite looking a little unhappy on the downhill run early in the home straight. Previously he might well have finished 2nd at Ascot with a clearer run. Just behind there was Cloudscape who gives close form ties with another rival here in Snow Sky. I feel that Postponed has improved since then though (most Dubawis do with age) and can have the edge on that rival here.
There is an obvious fav to beat in Kingston Hill, the 2nd in the Epsom Derby. I’m not totally sold that this is his trip despite that and the Derby form hasn’t been boosted too highly yet outside of the winner. There is a tenuous form line with Somewhat in the Eclipse that doesn’t put him far ahead of some of these also
1.5pts ew Postponed (take 13/2 or better if you can – but 6/1 still acceptable)
3.40 Juddmonte International
The centrepiece of the day seeing Derby winner Australia take on his elders.
It’s a race just to watch for me. While Australia obviously has plenty of class, his odds on price is poor when we consider that the Derby 2nd and 3rd have both finished well behind Mukhadram since the race. Indeed, apart from Kingman and Taghrooda, it’s a struggle to find many 3yos this year who have yet to compare well against their elders.
Mukhadram in turn was just behind the other main protagonist, Telescope, at Ascot last time.
From an odds basis it should therefore be much closer here.
I do still see Australia as the likeliest winner but he would need to be odds against for me to take a second look. Mukhadram just gets the nod over Telescope for me over this shorter trip than Ascot for second spot.
It will be interesting to see how Australia’s ‘pacemaker’, Kingfisher is deployed here. Setting a strong gallop from the off may well suit the opposition a bit too much – it is Australia who has the form over a shorter 1 mile trip after all.
420 & 455 No prices available on the back two races as yet. The latter looks too hard anyway. In the 420, Spacious Sky sticks out like a sore thumb with his trainer/jockey combo but I will be watching for any double figure prices on Big Thunder (ignore his last run with a jockey who had no idea what riding over 2 miles was about at all)
Looking further ahead this week
NUNTHORPE – Friday
I have followed both Hot Streak and Music Master avidly this season . The former was disappointing for me at Royal Ascot – maybe it was the ground but he let Stepper Point go past him again close home after taking over the lead from him.
This is a step down in trip for Music Master, but I think it’s a risk worth taking as he looks like he barely gets 6 furlongs at top level sometimes. Indeed, at Windsor, earlier in the season, he looked like a 5 furlong horse when being given his head early on.
He is such a strong travelling type that I feel this will suit had his trainer does know a thing or two about sprinters
I would back him now as I do think he is very likely to get the nod in Mr Segal’s Pricewise column on Thursday night – which should send his price downward
He likes Henry Candy sprinters and tipped the same horse at Royal Ascot.
Candy is also in very good form at present.
Tom likes to pick horses that in his words ‘are doing something different’ – stepping down to 5 furlongs here fits that bill
Rain is also forecast on Thursday which could count against current fast ground loving favourite Sole Power
1pt ew Music Master 12/1 where still available
EBOR HANDICAP – Saturday
I’ve only really ever looked for one thing when it comes to this race – a horse that has the pace to win over a mile and a half and the stamina to win over 2.
Pallasator fits the bill perfectly.
I nominated him at 8/1 on Twitter straight after his last win and now he’s tumbled down to around 3/1 (Purple Moon and Sir Montagu the only two similarly short priced favs I can think of but both obliged). That’s plenty short enough for any horse in the Ebor but for me there was a lot against him in that last race; trip, pace and going and he still triumphed – and the form has been boosted since.
He is monster of a horse and will dwarf many of his rivals – its entirely likely given this that he is still reaching his peak at 5 years old and is now a good bit better than a handicapper
Several rivals quoted currently may not yet get into the race (Havana Cooler probably biggest threat right now needs 5 to drop out) so will look at this race again later in week if any value can be found elsewhere.
I will update the blog each evening this week but time constraints after today may mean truncated posts at times. Comments and thoughts are always welcome
Good luck to you all over the Ebor meeting
Thanks for reading