The first Saturday Ebor (why?) is the highlight from the final day of York and we could easily see a royal winner courtesy of Tactician ridden by leading Irish apprentice Joseph O’Brien for Her Majesty the Queen. That said my two against the field are Sir Michael Stoute’s Modun (3.40) and Godolphin’s Lost In The Moment who were both, arguably, unlucky not to win at Glorious Goodwood last month with the nod just going to the former.
The selection has yet to win beyond 10f but he is bred to appreciate the step up in trip, and the form of his second to Arlequin at Goodwood last time has already been franked on the Knavesmire this week. If the ground turned soft that would have to be considered a negative, but as long as the ground is no worse than good Modun can land the first Saturday Ebor. Much will be written about his draw in stall 2 which was until recently considered a positive; the jockeys look to come down the centre of the track at York now but I do not consider 2 as big a negative as some.
Ebor Handicap: ew ¼ odds 1, 2, 3, 4: prices from
Lost In The Moment 6/1
Mount Athos 11/1
Blissful Moment 12/1
Fox Hunt 14/1
The card starts with a listed 7f event which resulted in a dead-heat last year involving the grey Dream Eater (2.00) who is taken to follow up in a race where there are question marks over a lot of the principles. The selection hasn’t been seen out since disappointing at Chester back in the spring, Regal Parade has been out of sorts and rain would help and King Torus has been off the track since last October. Andrew Balding has his string in fine form, however, and Dream Eater gets the vote.
Western Prize has been laid out for the Melrose since winning at Newbury at the end of June and a 6lb rise looks fair but he had the run of the race at the Berkshire track and I cannot oppose Parlour Games (2.30) who has stamina to prove but did us a favour at Ascot last time.
The selection is not guaranteed to appreciate the additional couple of furlongs but he wasn’t stopping when scoring at Ascot last time and a 3lb rise looks more than fair. Frankie Dettori takes over for the first time and he can reward each way support in what looks a competitive renewal of this valuable prize.
Gusto (4.15) has yet to race at the minimum trip but he has speed to burn and certainly impressed at Haydock last time. He travelled well throughout the race last time and promises to be at least as effective dropping back a furlong.
Theysken’s Theory (3.20) is one of three Brian Meehan trained runners in the Atalanta Stakes at Sandown and it could be significant that Martin Dwyer rides the penalised selection ahead of Strawberrydaiquiri who, arguably, has the best form on offer. The latter makes her debut for Meehan having been trained by Sir Michael Stoute when last seen in Britain having shown enough in two starts in Meydan during the winter to suggest she retains all her ability.
Barry Hills retires on Saturday and his two favourite tracks have been York and Chester; whatever happens on the Knavesmire the hope is that Hills saddles a winner on the Roodeye with Na Zdorovie (3.00) looking to have a favourite’s chance of landing the 7f maiden.
There is a cracking card from Perth with Donald McCain’s Overturn entered for the new Scottish Summer Champion Hurdle; General Miller is strongly fancied for the yard of Nicky Henderson but Dirar (3.45) is one of three entries from the yard of Gordon Elliot and last year’s Ebor winner can win this inaugural prize if making the journey from Ireland.
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