York returns with a bang this week as the famous Ebor festival takes centre stage for four fabulous days of racing. The best horses this season once again will be gracing their hooves on the Knavesmire. The stars are there but you might get a selection in the Ebor down below!
A SIZZLING JUDDMONTE
The field this year really do give the race a lot of excitement and what a treat we get to witness it all on the first day of the festival. Globetrotter Mishriff put up a great performance in the King George when beaten by Adayar at Ascot. That was a tremendous return to form in this country which was encouraging to see.
He beat Ballydoyle stable star Love in behind that day who I had picked to win the race. They return back here once again to battle it out, two of the premier horses on the planet. Whilst they are the headline acts in the race, no one should be so naïve to think that others in the race couldn’t swoop by them as they gallop up the famous long straight.
Alcohol-Free has been a revelation this season, especially when winning the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood beating the tremendously battle-hardened Poetic Flare, who just went down to superstar Palace Pier last weekend. If she was to stay, it is easy to see her winning the race and putting up a career-best.
The form of Champion Jockey Oisin Murphy alongside sizzling hot trainer Andrew Balding may repay punters if they decide to latch on to a horse outside the top two in the market. The rest of the field includes one time Derby hopeful Mohaafeth, who looked like an absolute monster earlier in the season as well as Irish 2000 Guineas winner Mac Swiney.
When it comes to a selection, my heart and my head are coming to different conclusions. The heart says Love but I am quietly confident Alcohol-Free can be involved when it comes to the business end of the race.
In this game, it tends to go better if you follow the latter and so that is where I shall remain.
AN INTREAGUING VOLTIGEUR
Queen’s Vase winner Kemari heads the line up here which is a tremendous appetizer for the main event discussed above. The Godolphin runner was an impressive winner when beating Wordsworth last time out at Ascot.
One could argue that he is a better horse than the two Ballydoyle stablemates who challenge him in the shape of Sir Lucan and one time Derby favourite, High Definition. It would be a mistake, to say the least, if we were to discount either of the pair, especially High Definition if the master trainer Aidan O’Brien was able to get him back to form.
If he drifts towards the 4/1 mark (currently 7/2) I would count that as far too big, if you forgive him his last run in the Irish Derby where he never found a rhythm after being bumped around in the early stages.
I cannot see the other runners overturning the form with Sir Lucan directly for those that ran in the Gordon Stakes during Goodwood. I do think it is Kemari’s to lose in a way as he was so impressive at Ascot last time out. The only danger if coming back to anything like the potential he was talked about would be Ryan Moore’s ride, High Definition.
SNOWFALL VS WONDERFUL TONIGHT
A potential Arc indicator is set to take place in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, won by many of the best fillies around over the last few years including Love and the legendary Enable. This looks like a straight match on paper between Snowfall, winner of the Epsom Oaks alongside the Irish Oaks this season and the unbeaten this term David Menuisier trained,
Wonderful Tonight. It will be extremely hard for Wonderful Tonight to give Snowfall weight in this contest even though she has been nothing short of brilliant this season where the prior mentioned Arc is the end target on the softer ground quite possibly come to the end of the season in Paris.
However, she will most likely meet her rival there so will need to get within striking distance to allow connections to believe she has a shot at the most famous flat race in the world.
Whilst horses such as Loving Dream and Eshaada were placed one and two in the Ribblesdale at Ascot, they will have to come forward plenty to be in with a shout of troubling the front two in the market, especially Snowfall. I do hope this turns into a real battle upfront as they turn for home but all is set for further Ballydoyle domination in the race.
A LONSDALE SHOWDOWN
Stradivarius returns after missing the Glorious Goodwood festival in an attempt to win this race again. However, this time around he faces younger rivals in the talented Trueshan who was the Goodwood Cup winner last time out.
These two market leaders are followed in by the Balding runner Spanish Mission, who has won this season alongside Irish raider, Princess Zoe from the Mullins yard who has not got her ideal conditions as of yet this season.
She is unlikely to get them here which would hinder the chances of Trueshan as well who definitely enjoys some cut in the turf. This could play into the hands of Stradivarius who would be expected to run to form on the good ground expected at the Yorkshire course.
The roar from the crowd would be electric if the old boy was able to recapture his form from the last couple of seasons.
A GOLDON NUNTHORPE?
There seems to be a theme amongst the headline races that there is some real head to heads at the front of the market. This time it comes in the form of foreign raiders in Golden Pal of Wesley Ward’s yard and Suesa from the French stable of Francois Rohaut.
There has been a lot of momentum building that Golden Pal has the potential to break the track record as they thunder down the hill. It is sometimes difficult to get a handle on American form which does lead me to cool off my enthusiasm for the American raider. Suesa was incredibly impressive at Goodwood and holds the third favourite Dragon Symbol on that form.
It shall make for some great viewing even if it is less interesting as a betting contest. No one can ever rule out Golden Pal, especially with Frankie on board but something draws me back to how strong Suesa was in the final two furlongs at Goodwood.
I hope that has proved slightly informative, of course I have to have a selection in the big handicap on Saturday. I would be tempted to go in on Eagles by Day for David O’Meara. He was not ridiculously far behind Spanish Mission at Doncaster.
The trainer has put him up as one of his strongest chances of the week which of course would add confidence to any selection!
It is great to have one Britain’s premier racecourses back full once again for one of the best meetings of the year. Go well, be lucky and I hope you back a winner or two!