I’ll start this with a heads up to anyone reading this, I am notorious in the office for killing a favourite. Remember Douvan at Cheltenham Festival? Yeah I backed him. Caravaggio at Newmarket? Yeah I was on that aswell. Almanzor on his return in Deauville? You guessed it, I also backed him. So rather than just having my own opinion I have taken everyone’s tips from the office and put together a little preview for the upcoming Ebor Festival, this will hopefully allow us to win some money over the 4 days!
We will start with the Great Voltigeur Stakes on the Wednesday, Cracksman goes into this as favourite and it's hard to look past him. Currently at 10/11 with most betting firms there is no doubt he will go off lower than that. In this race I would be looking for the e/w value and see both Khalidi and Atty Persse, 14/1 and 20/1 respectively at this point as good bets. Khalidi has had a good season discounting his run in the Derby and was only ½ length behind Permian at Royal Ascot and was second on his last outing at Goodwood to Crystal Ocean, however this was on unfavourably soft ground. Atty Persse struggled last time out at Newmarket with the step up in class, however it was also a step up in trip to 1m5f and he didn’t seem to have the stamina for the last furlong, the step back down in trip to 1m4f should suit.
The feature race for the opening day is the Juddmonte International Stakes, now worth a record £1 million. There have been 7 declared for the race with 5 of those amongst them Group 1 winners (Barney Roy, Churchill, Ulysses, Decorated Knight and My Dream Boat). Churchill and Barney Roy will renew rivalries having each come out on top once so far this season. Having beaten Churchill at Royal Ascot, Barney Roy stepped up in distance and took on the older generation at Sandown in the Coral Eclipse where he was only just defeated by Ulysses . Churchill will be making the step up to 1m2f for the first time, having only previously raced at 1m or less but he needs to bounce back from a disappointing run at Royal Ascot. There is no pace-maker declared in the race which could hurt Barney Roy’s chances but he is still favourite at around 5/2 with most bookies. I am siding with Barney Roy as he looks the most progressive horse in the race with York’s long straight suiting his enormous stride but it will no doubt be a race to savour!
The Yorkshire Oaks is the feature race of the second day and you can’t look past the incredible filly, Enable. Her last three races have been the Investec Oaks, The Darley Irish Oaks and the King George VI stakes, all Group 1 races, which she has won by a combined total of 19 lengths. On the day bookies should be going a price increase for example, Enable to win by 4 or more lengths, it may not be great odds but i'm confident she will continue her winning ways and should rack up another easy win.
In the British EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes at 4:15 on Thursday, Mori will be looking to make up for her loss at Royal Ascot which was her first step up to 1m4f, which she only lost by a neck. She will no doubt have learned a great deal from that race and she should go close.
On Friday, it is all about speed! It’s the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes!
Before the Nunthorpe however, we have the Lonsdale Cup Stakes at 2:25 run over 2m ½f. The Willie Mullins trained Thomas Hobson looks set to take on Dartmouth and UAE King in an open looking contest. Thomas Hobson will be dropping down in trip for this race after coming a close second to Oriental Fox over a 2m5f race when trying to complete a famous Royal Ascot race double. UAE King has recently been stepping up in trip and class, and comes into this race off 3 straight wins, I think he is the one to keep on side here.
The second Group race of the day is 7f Sky Bet City Of York Stakes at 3:00 and sees the likes of Daban, Suedois, Jungle Cat and Second thought all line up for the race. Although final entries are yet to be confirmed I think Second Thought is a strong bet in this race. Currently at 8/1 with SkyBet, his only loss this year has come at the hands of Harry Angel, who went on to win the July Cup beating Caravaggio in the process. In my opinion he’s in the best form going into the race and is my selection.
The feature race of the day is the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes and will see the highly anticipated clash between Battaash and Lady Aurelia. You can’t look past these two but it is hard to choose between them. We have seen Lady Aurelia at her very best at Royal Ascot this year and last year and there is an argument that she might perhaps be vulnerable elsewhere. With the front 2 both skinny at the top of the market, it could be worth sitting back and enjoying the spectacle! If you are looking for an Each Way angle, Profitable could be a value.