Limato to light up York Festival

IT seems five minutes ago that virtual silence reigned across York racecourse after Arabian Queen lowered the colours of Derby winner Golden Horn in the 2015 Juddmonte International. The fairy-tale success of Mecca’s Angel and the immense training performance by Joseph Tuite to prepare Litigant for Ebor glory were other highlights of last year’s terrific York Festival. The stature of this meeting continues to grow. It is the highlight of a packed August racing diary and, thankfully, the Knavesmire looks set to be graced by decent weather this week. So, good fast ground, and no excuses.

The International has attracted the outstanding older horse in training: Postponed, a real 1m 4f specialist who will bid to repel horses with a more natural affinity to go 1m 2f. Coral Eclipse winner Hawkbill and Highland Reel are formidable rivals while Derby runner-up US Army Ranger will add spice if he lines up. I don’t expect another Arabian Queen-style shock but Almodovar (33/1) and Wings of Desire (14/1) do offer each-way value.

IDAHO deserves to win a big prize and should take a sub-standard Great Voltigeur on Wednesday while stablemate SEVENTH HEAVEN at around 6/1 looks a decent price in the £340,000 Darley Yorkshire Oaks to outstay the more fancied Found.

Two daughters of Frankel should dominate the Lowther Stakes. Fair Eva looks pretty special but is too short at 4/7 so QUEEN KINDLY (8/1) is a well priced alternative.

The Nunthorpe looks to be the highlight of the meeting with the possibility of Acapulco and the juvenile Yalta giving the race a different dimension. Take Cover at 12/1 looks overpriced but the brilliant LIMATO has been supplemented and can follow up his July Cup victory.

The £280,000 Ebor, Europe’s richest handicap, is devilishly difficult to unravel. Seamour has been well backed but will not want the ground too firm, ELIDOR won well at Glorious Goodwood and was third in this race in 2014. He represents solid each-way value at around the 14/1 mark and will relish the fast conditions. He has a 4lb penalty but he has a bit of class and was beaten just a length by Dartmouth in the Ormonde Stakes.

The other handicaps at the York Festival are, not surprisingly, fiercely competitive but OCEANE stands out on Wednesday after an unlucky defeat at Glorious Goodwood.

Be lucky!

One thought on “Limato to light up York Festival”

  1. Graham Oliver says:

    Hi Jason,

    You are right, this is always a fabulous meeting, and (for me anyway)very hard to find winners. However, i will have a go.

    Tomorrow I fancy Highland Reel to win the Juddmonte International. Despite all his wins, and a few near misses, he is still, in my opinion, very much underrated. His stable companion Idaho may win the Great Voltigeur, en route to the St Leger.

    In the Acombe Stakes, Best Of Days, after his easy winning debut, should triumph for Hugo Palmer. This is yet another impressive juvenile that has been scooped up by the Godolphin behemoth. It seems that very few can resist the money offered by any of the juggernaut operations. Very sad, but would I be any different…we are never likely to know.

    Aidan O’Brien appears to hold all the aces in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks with millionaire Found, Iris Oaks victorSeventh Heaven, and Even Song, winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot. Even Song was favourite to win the Irish Oaks, and she may prevail here at a decent price. Maybe an each-way proposition.

    In the Lowther, Even Song’s jockey, Pat Smullen, can complete a double on Fair Eva. it will be a major shock if she fails to win. Fashion Queen can follow her home at a respectful distance, and if there is a shock….well!

    On Friday, Simple Verse can win the Lonsdale, if she is allowed to take her chance. It will be great to see a classic winner (St Leger)running over two miles, just like ‘the good old days’. It hasn’t done Deep Impact’s stud career any harm. He is a winner over one mile seven and two miles, both Group One.

    Right, let me get of my high horse! In the Nunthorpe, one of the great races of the season, we may see a finish fought out between Godolphin and Coolmore. Yalta and Washington DC are their representatives, and they may finish in that order.

    Also on the card is the Convivial Maiden Stakes. I offer no advice here except to say that this race invariably throws up a good horse. Definitely one to watch and savour.

    Saturday is the finale and features Europe’s richest handicap, the Ebor. I have loved this race since I had my first bet on it, in 1965. I backed the well fancied three year old Alcalde, ridden by Doug Smith. The winner was Twelfth Man, ridden, if my memory serves me well, by a young Paul Cook. Since that time I don’t think that I have backed more than one winner, Tuning, and possibly Kneller, both trained by Sir Henry Cecil.

    I will be delighted if your selection, Elidor wins. He carries top weight, but Sea Pigeon triumphed under ten stone, when ridden by Jonjo O’Neill in 1979. Antiquarium might just pip him for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin.

    Blue Point may win the Gimcrack to round off a good week for the same connections.

    Star Gazer was running on well in the closing stages last time out at Goodwood, and he may win the opening Jack Berry House handicap.

    In the Melrose Handicap it may pay to take a chance with Dal Harraild.

    Earlier I reminisced about the 1965 meeting. I also remember, at the same meeting, Major Dick Hern’s progressive handicapper Provoke winning the Melrose. Next time out 28-1 shot Provoke ploughed through the mud at Doncaster to defeat the Irish Derby and King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth winner Meadow Court by a jaw dropping ten lengths in the St Leger. Of course I remember that St Leger, I actually backed Provoke, would you believe. Half a crown each-way, or 12 and 1/2p in today’s money.

    All the best!

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