The domestic action on Sunday isn’t too appealing from a betting perspective, so I’m taking the opportunity to take an early look at next Saturday’s Betfred Ebor.
The York handicap looks as competitive as ever, with the market headed by Sir Michael Stoute’s Opinion who ran on late in the day in the Old Newton Cup last time, suggesting the step up in trip might bring about improvement. He remains 8lbs higher than when winning the Duke Of Edinburgh, however, and will do well to land this off 103 in my opinion (pardon the unintentional pun).
Sheikhzayedroad is another who could improve for the step up in trip, though he needs to off his current mark, while his stable-mate Montaser (a horse regular readers will know I am a fan of) will probably find the ground easier than ideal, if lining up.
Alongside Sheikhzayedroad on the 10/1 mark is Sir Mark Prescott’s Pallasator, who hasn’t been seen since winning at Haydock last September. Jockey, Luke Morris, tweeted earlier in the week that he was ‘doing the rain dance’ for the son of Motivator and there is rain forecast this weekend. Up 9lbs since that last success, it would be some training performance from Prescott if he pulled this off, and, at the prices, there are better options out there at this stage.
Of those I like, Olympiad might not make the cut and is actually entered in the 2m handicap on the first day of the meeting. Wherever he rocks up, he is better than he showed in the Chester Cup and is very much one to note.
Caravan Rolls On was a costly loser for our column last time, but should relish the likely strong pace here. He wouldn’t want it too soft, however, and is likely to be available around the same odds next weekend, whereas Tiger Cliff has come in for support over the past couple of days and the 12/1 that is still available (Bet365 and Coral) may look on the generous side come next Saturday.
Lady Cecil’s four-year-old won a warm Newmarket handicap on his reappearance in May on good-to-firm ground over this trip, having earlier showed he handles easier ground when runner-up on soft ground at Doncaster last October.
Well-backed ahead of the Ascot Stakes last time, the Tiger Hill gelding found himself too far back in a slowly-run affair and stayed on really well in the closing stages to finish runner-up to Well Sharp, another possible here.
The selection has a slight pull at the weights with Jonjo O’Neill’s course winner and is sure to be ridden handier on this occasion. Up 4lbs for that Royal Ascot second (slightly harsh) he remains capable of landing a big prize such as this and, as he won’t mind what ground he encounters (provided it’s not extremes), he looks sure to run a big race, as this has presumably been the target since he was pulled out of the Northumberland Plate.
Entered in the Group 2 Long Distance Cup on Champions Day at Ascot, Tiger Cliff is set to join Alan King with a possible hurdling career in mind at the end of the season, along with stable-mate First Mohican, and this could be his day in the sun (weather depending!) for the Cecil yard.
The aforementioned Well Sharp continues on an upward curve on the level and, though he won on soft here at the Dante meeting in May, he does prefer a decent surface, so connections will be hopeful that the forecast is correct and York is dry from Monday onwards.
Ebor (ante-post) Tiger Cliff (12/1 Bet365 & Coral)
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2013-14
Pre order now, published early September in good time for the new season:
Just £9:95 inc p&p
* order online www.cc-publishing.co.uk
* or, send a cheque payable to ‘The Racing Insider’ to PO Box 98, Liverpool L9 1WY (with address details)
Fellow Betrescue columnist and Bet Victor’s Charlie McCann says: “it really is a privilege to write the foreword for such an informative and well-researched publication, which continues to go from strength to strength.”
New for 2013-14:
Grade 1 winning jockeys Nick Scholfield and Jane Mangan provide readers with their horses to follow
Last years results included:
* Leading Prospects, Arvika Ligeonniere (x3), Boston Bob, Captain Conan (x3), Champagne Fever (x2 inc Supreme Novices’ Hurdle), Glens Melody, Melodic Rendezvous, Simonsig (Arkle) & Un Atout won 13 Grade 1 novice contests between them
* My Tent Or Yours won 4 times including the Betfair Hurdle and the Top Novices’ at Aintree
* Stable Round-Up included Neptune winner The New One, Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Court Minstrel and David Pipe’s Dynaste of whom it read “could follow the Grands Crus path of last year, starting in the Steel Plate And Sections before he is readied for the Feltham” – he won both races and also scored at Aintree in April
* Across The Sea – Mount Benbulben 14/1 winner of the Grade 1 novice chase at the Punchestown Festival
* Under The Hammer – horses featured in this section included Champion Bumper winner Briar Hill (25/1) and The Liquidator, who won the equivalent Grade 1 at Punchestown – this section has been greatly increased for 2013-14