Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with six to follow on Saturday at Goodwood, Newmarket and York. View selections below
The big betting race of the York August Festival is the Ebor, Europe’s richest handicap and once again we have a cracking but ultra-competitive heat with a maximum field of twenty going to post.
Ted Veale won a handicap on Monday in Ireland and, as a result of the penalty he picked up, takes his place in the field although trainer Tony Martin didn’t appear too bullish at the time. Irish raiders won this valuable prize in 2009 (Sesenta) and 2010 (Dirar) and Ted Veale (9s from 10s at BetVictor) has been well supported since it was confirmed he would take his chance.
My long term fancies for the race were the David Simcock-trained pair No Heretic and Montaser but they have disappointed of late and preference is for Tiger Cliff (3.50) trained by Lady Cecil; I remember being on the Knavesmire when Kneller won the great race for her former husband and the rains might just arrive in time for this soft-ground lover.
Ebor Handicap ¼ odds first 4; prices from BetVictor
Caravan Rolls On 8/1
Tiger Cliff 9/1
Ted Veale 9/1
Sun Central 10/1
The opener sees the return to the track of Cristoforo Colombo (2.05) who hasn’t been seen since disappointing in the 2000 Guineas back in the spring; he has been given plenty of time to come to hand but he holds entries in many of the big races in the autumn and he is a fascinating runner for Aidan O’Brien who must feel this is the ideal stepping stone for a good second half to the season. That said there is rain forecast for the north of England on Saturday and he would not want the ground too soft.
He faces no easy task with the Guineas’ runner up Glory Awaits also in the field but I think the Ballydoyle handler will be disappointed if his son of former Guineas’ winner Henrythenavigator doesn’t return to winning ways.
The Gimcrack can stay in Yorkshire; Kevin Ryan’s Astaire looked very sharp when scoring on the July course last time and the runner up, who received 2lbs at Newmarket, franked the form when second in a nursery on Wednesday but if the rains arrive he might not cope as well with conditions as My Catch (3.15) who won a Group 3 on rain-softened ground at Deauville last time and is certainly bred to appreciate soft ground.
Mark Johnston hasn’t got the best of records at York but had a winner earlier in the week and his Sennockian Star holds his form tremendously well and would take the beating if the rains stayed away but the nod goes to Spirit Of The Law (5.05) who has been raised only 3lbs for winning at Ayr last time and is one sure to go on the ground if there is significant rain.
It seems to have taken a long time for connections of Afsare (3.30) to have found that the horse has the speed for a mile but he was most impressive at Salisbury last time and looks to have found an excellent opportunity to follow up in the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood.
Noble Gift (5.15 Goodwood) needs to get out of the stalls quicker than he did last time over an additional furlong, but he showed enough to suggest he remains well-handicapped and drawn in stall two he must go well in a cracking handicap