Opening day of the four-day York Ebor meeting today with the TV cameras counting down to the main event at 3.35, the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes.
The field of nine is headed by the highest rated horse in the world, namely the Sir Michael trained Crystal Ocean, last seen engaged in an epic battle with Enable, to which he was trying to give 3lbs. No disgrace that that proved an impossible task, but only by a neck and, given that the official assessor has him upwards of half a stone better than any of his rivals today you would be forgiven for wondering why he is not heavy odds on.
The dangers are perceived to be the three 3-y-os, on the grounds that improvement is still possible, but our view is that Crystal Ocean has himself improved this season and we’ll fall for it and recommend a win bash at 11-10.
The card starts with (didn’t you just know it?) a 22-runner bookmaker sponsored sprint with the usual impossible look to it, but we’ve been told to stop whingeing and get on with it, so we put forward each way suggestions for the 1.55, namely Justanotherbottle at 6-1 and Final Venture at 12-1.
The Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at 2.25 brings together a collection of some of the most promising 2-y-os around and assessing the merit of their performances to date is tricky to say the least. (This is called ‘getting the excuses in early’).
Leading the way in the market is the Charles Hills trained Persuasion, who made an impressive debut at Goodwood just 18 days ago. Not so much the winning distance but more the style of victory marked this son of Acclamation as potentially pretty damn smart and we recommend a win bet at 100-30.
We also suggest an each way bet on John Quinn‘s runner Cobra Eye, which also won a Goodwood event, is well entered up and will relish the extra furlong today. Add the Mad Italian and 7-1 looks A OK.
TV coverage is completed by the Group 2 Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes over 12 furlongs and, somewhat unusually, the horse with the lowest rating is a short priced favourite. This is the John Gosden trained Logician, which has been busy making a complete mockery of his opening handicap mark and has been reassessed to 101 after winning on the snaff last time off 90.
May still be totally underrated with that mark, but at even money he would have to be and we think the consistent and reliable Constantinople is a better value punt at 9-4.
With just the four races on telly, we throw in a bonus bet in the Sky Bet Handicap at 4.15, for which we give Makawee a great chance. Get on each way at 10-1.
Back tomorrow to explain why Enable will lose – or not.
Crystal Ocean 3.35 York 6pts win @ 11-10
Justanotherbottle 1.55 York 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (6 places @PaddyPower)
Final venture 1.55 York 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (6 places @PaddyPower)
Persuasion 2.25 York 2pts win @ 100-30
Cobra Eye 2.25 York 1pt e/w @ 7-1 (4 places @SkyBet)
Constantinople 3.00 York 2pts win @ 9-4
Makawee 4.15 York 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (5 places)