York Ebor PREVIEW with The Snout
With this weekends’ racing not the most enticing, I am looking ahead to our next summer festival to get our teeth stuck into and this comes in the form of The York Ebor Festival,which is four days of top quality action taking place on the picturesque surroundings of the Knavesmire. The main Group event comes on the first day, in the form of the Juddmonte International, where last year Golden Horn was famously pipped by Arabian Queen to spring a surprise at 50/1. The week is full of Group races of the highest quality but culminates in the ultra-competitive Ebor handicap on the Saturday. We take a look some of the key races below with some potential nice ante post bets.
As mentioned above the week kicks off with Day 1 hosting the Group 1 Juddmonte International, which has a quite unbelievable roll call of honour. This includes in recent history Authorised, Sea The Stars, Rip Van Winkle, Australia, Declaration Of War, and the imperious Frankel. For me, this was Frankels best performance on the track, even better than his Guineas win, as simply everything was against him. The 1m2f trip, the soft ground, the lack of pace, and he blew his rivals away by tanking to the lead 2f to go on the bridle and absolutely rocketing away to the finish. Although Arabian Queen stole the race last year, the race tends to go to the classier types and those that are simply better than the rest. This year, Postponed is a worthy favourite. There is no doubting, for me, he would have won the King George, and if it wasn’t for the slight issues he had beforehand he would have bolted up there and be much shorter here. His competition may come from Time Test, who looked slightly sluggish when winning at this track last time out. He does possess the qualities to win a race of this magnitude but from a betting point of view I wouldn’t be taking around a point bigger than Postponed’s price for him. The 3 year olds are an interesting bunch and they do have a fairly good record in this race. Eclipse Winner Hawkbill, Derby 2nd US Army Ranger, and even The Gurkha hold entries here. Whether they would be good enough to beat the best middle distance horse in the world right now is another matter. I would be very keen to take the 11/4 on offer right now as I would imagine Roger Varian will be desperate to get his stable star out here, and there is no way he would be 11/4 come post time.
The Great Voltigeur Stakes also takes place on Day 1 which Postponed actually won in 2014. Generally this is seen as a very strong pointer to the St Leger and last years winner Bondi Beach of course went on to run a big race in the Doncaster classic last year. Idaho heads the market at 2/1 here and you can see why, but plenty of value appears here and will no doubt appear at race time with classy types such as Across The Stars, Red Verdon and Muntahaa potentially lining up. It is always a good gruelling race and one I am really looking forward to. Day 1 also sees the Group 3 Acomb stakes as well as some great handicaps to make it one of the top days racing in the UK Flat calendar.
Day 2’s highlight is the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks, which is an extremely open market this year. Headed by Aidan O’Brien’s Irish Oaks winner Seventh Heaven at 9/2, but plenty in the race could well prove to be better than that filly. Last years St Leger winner Simple Verse hasn’t quite lived up to expectations this year but is no doubt high-class and the 8/1 looks a little big. Plenty of fillies will make this a competitive heat.
We also have Lowther Stakes which is a 2 year old fillies 6f sprint, won last year by Besharah. Considering 2nd last year was Lumiere and 3rd Easton Angel, it really is a top quality 2 year old race, as a strong pointer to next years 1000 Guineas.
The Nunthorpe takes centre stage on Friday. What a race this could turn out to be. A frantic sprint ran over 5f which Mecca’s Angel won last year when revelling in conditions to repel the 2 year old Acapulco. The market is headed by sprinter of the year Profitable, who looks a decent price at 7/2. The Kings Stand winner won a huge race in the July Cup over 6f and coming back to 5f will see him back at his best. I just wonder if that extended trip could have pushed him over the top after a tough first half of the season and it may pay to take him on. The fillies Mecca’s Angel, Acapulco and the Queen Mary speedball Lady Aurelia will get weight allowances and will be very interesting. The question is which of the Wesley Ward duo will turn up but it would take a brave person to go against Lady Aurelia if she does come here. Mark Johnston’s Yalta will be supplemented for this race and after setting a track record at Goodwood will again be getting weight from all round and is a nice each way price currently at 10-1. The usual suspects are currently entered including Muthmir, Cotai Glory and Goldream, who after his cracking run at Goodwood following a big break looks a huge price at 14/1. He should be backed at this price after connections immediately mentioned this as the target following Goodwood.
Saturday hosts a really competitive card which revolves around the Ebor handicap. The 1m6f big field handicap is always tricky to decipher and last year saw Litigant power away from Wicklow Brave in 2nd to claim the prize. Willie Mullins has the current favourite in Ivan Grozny who has been in great form recently, and jumps trainers have done well in this race over the years. Willie Mullins himself won it in 2009 before Gordon Elliott claimed the prize the following year. Horses that did well at Glorious Goodwood often hold the key and it would be no surprise to see Qewy well supported after his big run at the track, and has been nicely progressing on the flat. He is available at 16/1.
Overall it is a huge week in the flat racing calendar and each day provides fantastic opportunities to strike some nice value bets. I specialise in betting at festivals and will be working to ensure the Ebor is no different. Get involved at some great value and ensure your betting becomes profitable.