Final day of the York Ebor meeting today, with the eponymous race taking centre stage at 3.35, with 19 runners due to pitch up to do battle for a first prize of some £177grand.
Ante post favourite and still retaining that position is the Sir Mark Prescott Bt trained Flymetothestars at 8-1, but here’s the thing – with the going now recovering rapidly from the Wednesday downpour, we have the trainer wittering and whingeing about the ground being too fast for his little pet – bless.
It might be understandable if this 4-y-o, which has never run on turf, had been plying its trade on the ploughed field that masquerades as a racecourse called Southwell, but all its best form has been on Tapeta, which, if you stuck a going stick into it, would equate to ‘good, good to firm in places’, so we are at a loss to know what he is on about.
Apparently he will make a decision on Flymetothestars’ participation at around midday, which is a lot of help when writing a preview at 9.00am.
The good news is that we weren’t going to pick it anyway, so the minor deduction is just a minor inconvenience.
Our main two against the field are Nakeeta (14-1) and Elidor (40-1).
Nakeeta boasts good course and distance form including a recent second in a Listed event and the booking of Callum Rodriguez takes its mark down to 98, off which it should be mighty competitive for a yard in fine form.
Elidor was third in this race in 2014, but has gone on from there to win and be placed in Listed/Group class events, not least on its latest start, when 3rd in the Group 2 Curragh Cup at (you guessed it) The Curragh. On board that day was Ronan Whelan who has hopped on the ferry to be in the plate again and this consistent sort could out-run its odds.
Completing our portfolio for this race is a small win bet on Wednesday’s winner Magic Circle at 8-1. It looked to have quite a lot left when being pushed out to win three days ago and the 4lb penalty may not be enough to stop Ralph Beckett’s 5-y-o.
The Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes at 3.00 has 11 2-y-os fighting it out over the straight six, and Headway is the 7-2 favourite in all books. Thought to have got stuck in the mud at Goodwood last time out, this William Haggas trained colt is on a recovery mission today. However, we think that an each way bet on Nebo at 5-1 is a better option, this horse having finished second in his last two Group 2 attempts, including the Goodwood race.
Also in this race, Frozen Angel must be backed each way at 8-1 for the Tom Dascombe yard. Not beaten far in a Group 1 last time and a close second to Karl Burke’s hero Unfortunatley before that, connections bypassed the ridiculously valuable sales race earlier this week to wait for this and their judgement may be rewarded.
A Group 3 race starts the card in the shape of the Betfred Mobile Strensall Stakes and for this, we recommend a win bet on Sir Micheal Stoute’s late developing 4-y-o Mustashry at 3-1, with Jim Crowley doing the shoving.
The Betfred Melrose Handicap at 2.25, known as the 3-y-os Ebor) can be taken by Godolphin’s Bin Battuta, who rates a strong each way bet at 8-1, while the other distance handicap, the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap at 4.40 looks at the mercy of Roger Varian’s UAE Prince.
Well found in the market, this Sea The Stars gelding still rates a fair bet at 100-30 and we will add in a small each way bet at 11-1 on the now fully recovered Weekend Offender.
This magnificent meeting closes with a 19 runner Apprentice handicap over 5 furlongs – don’t ask me why and, frankly, you can have it.
Nakeeta 3.35 e/w @ 14-1 Ladbrokes (5 places) 12/1 SkyBet (6 places)
Elidor 3.35 e/w @ 40-1 bet365 (4 places)
Magic Circle 3.35 win @ 8-1 SkyBet (6 places)
Nebo 3.00 e/w @ 5-1 bet365 (¼ odds)
Frozen Angel 3.00 e/w @ 8-1 bet365 (¼ odds)
Mustashry 1.55 win @ 3-1 Winner
Bin Battuta 2.25 e/w @ 8-1 William Hill
UAE Prince 4.40 win @ 100-30 10Bet
Weekend Offender 4.40 e/w @11-1 Betbright