Here’s Will Kedjanyi’s in-depth race by race preview of Day 3 of the York Ebor Festival. JP
1.55 – Sky Bet Handicap (Class 2) (3YO plus): Always competitive but First National makes easily the most appeal here. Charlie Appleby’s four-year-old danced every dance at the top handicapping table before taking the Old Rowley Cup and he should improve plenty from his reappearance behind Kelly’s Dino at Ascot. Kelly’s Dino has a solid each/way chance along with the favourite Melting Dew.
Advice: 1 pt each/way First National (8/1 Paddy Power)
2.25 – Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes (Group 2) (British Champions Series): This ought to be a stroll for Stradivarius, who can take a £1,0000,000 for the stayers’ triple crown. There is a lively betting heat for the places, including the runner up spot, in which Desert Skyline would make most appeal if he was to come back to the form he’d shown when second to Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup earlier in the season. Red Verdon’s form at 1m4f would entitle him to be a player here and it’s no surprise he’s second favourite whilst Max Dynamite’s very best flat form would give him a shot.
Advice: No bet.
3.00 – Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings): Plenty of contenders here but the Coventry still looks to be the best juvenile contest of the season and Shine So Bright’s fifth there was backed up by a good third in the Richmond Stakes, when ahead of Cosmic Law on both occasions. That form is the best in the field so far and he can take the beating. The Irish Rover disappointed in the Coventry but was a good third to Advertise in the Phoenix Stakes and if he’s not suffered from the bug at Ballydoyle then he ought to be seriously involved.
Space Traveller is currently favourite off the back of two wins so impressive he could have won with any amount of weight, but no horses have won from his novice and he also won a comparatively weak maiden. There’s no huge amount of enthusiasm to get involved with him at the current prices, however.
Legends Of War was seriously impressive on debut at Yarmouth, but the form of that race has worked out poorly and he was well beaten in the July Stakes. He showed a good attitude to take a Newbury novice stakes, but he was all out to take victory then and he will need to improve for a bigger field and stronger gallop.
Chuck Willis got the better of Emaraaty Ana when both were beaten in the Rose Bowl Stakes. The latter named horse was very green then and looks as if she should surely improve for a more well-run race and cover, and it would be no surprise if that form was reversed.
Advice: 2 pts win Shine So Bright (4/1 general)
3.35 – Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (2yo+): Battash is arguably the fastest 5-furlong horse on the planet and only the Ascot hill – along with the presence of Lady Aurelia – saw Blue Point get the better of him in the King’s Stand. He made a Group 2 field look frankly average in the King George sprint at Goodwood since and, one year older, he should be calmer in the preliminaries, thus saving his energies for the race.
Blue Point ought to be right on his tail, albeit on a track that plays less to his strengths than that of Ascot. However, he does not lack pace and he towers over the field with Battash, with the promise of a big prize should the favourite go too fast or get too worked up.
The rest can be thrown in an absolute heap, with Mabs Cross the third favourite. She was behind Havana Grey and Caspian Prince in the Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh when only seven ran, but the time before she had picked up the pieces to finish third in the King’s Stand when relishing the pace burnup to nearly take second, and this ought to suit her a whole lot more.
Caspian Prince, Take Cover and Alpha Delphini ought to set up a string gallop for her to aim at and it’s not hard to imagine her finishing fast once again to grab a place. Michael Dods charge has kept improving all season and appears to be one of the most likely to run her race.
Havana Grey’s Sapphire Stakes win is excellent form on paper, although it was the only time in which he’s turned up in four starts this season and it’s entirely possible that he could be too close to the pace, as he and Heartache were at Goodwood.
Sioux Nation went off a short price for the Commonwealth Cup but hasn’t run well since winning the Lacken Stakes and probably wants a stiffer test of stamina. The same can probably be said of Declarationofpeace, fourth in the Sapphire, whilst Washington DC can run well. Muthmir is now eight but that’s no barrier to a big run at this level and he has picked up several big results this season from picking up the pieces. There will be lots of pace to aim at once again and he catches the eye at a big price.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Mabs Cross (18/1 Bet365, Betbright, 12/1 Sky Bet), 1 pt each/way Muthmir (40/1, 33/1 Bet365, Hills)
4.15 – British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden Stakes (Plus 10 Race) (Class 2) (2yo): A surprisingly winnable race given the money on offer. Beat Le Bon made a big impression on debut, but the form is weak despite the fact there was six lengths back to the third and Sky Defender was beaten by a listed runner up on debut at Goodwood. That form’s the best in the race with the potential for improvement and he get the vote on that basis despite promising showings from Indomitable, Barys and Commanding Officer.
Advice: 1 pt win Sky Defender (7/2 general)
4.50 – Crack On Crack On continues to improve restlessly and has much the strongest form here courtesy of his wins in the Silver Bowl and also a strong handicap at Ascot last time when he beat Ulshaw Bridge. Going up 5lbs for that was fair and he sets a high standard for the more unexposed contenders to aim at. Corrosive was fourth that day and should be highly respected with new headgear and also appeals as an each/way choice but there could be value in the shape of Zap, a winner here all the way back on his debut who won the Silver Bunbury Cup, was then first on the wrong side in the International Handicap before getting no run and finishing off well at Goodwood. He’s dropped 1lb for that run, leaving him just 2lbs higher than for his Newmarket win, and looks big at 20/1.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Crack On Crack On (11/2 Bet365, Coral, Ladbrokes), 1 pt each/way Zap (20/1 general)
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