York Ebor Festival

APPARENTLY York is known as the “Ascot of the North”. Racing folk might want to rethink that after this week’s Ebor Festival, which promises to be every bit as good, if not better, than June’s royal meeting in Berkshire. In fact, the quality of the equine talent galloping down the Knavesmire might see Ascot being dubbed the “York of the South”.

The £850,000 Juddmonte International on Wednesday is the highlight and will see Epsom Derby winner Golden Horn lock horns (see what I did there) with Gleneagles. The unexposed Time Test and the admirable The Grey Gatsby add more quality to the contest. If that wasn’t enough, Wesley Ward’s flying filly Acapulco, who was brilliant in the Queen Mary at the “York of the South”, is hot favourite for the Nunthorpe on Friday.

Then there is the Yorkshire Oaks, which has seen Irish Oaks winner Covert Love supplemented. I’ve not even mentioned the Lowther, the Gimcrack or the Ebor itself.

Chief executive and clerk of the course (now that’s multi-tasking) William Derby and his team deserve huge credit for the way they have cemented York’s position as one of the best racecourses in the world that attracts the very best thoroughbreds. The seeds for its international allure were probably sown in 2005 when York successfully staged Royal Ascot.

More than 80,000 racegoers will attend the four-day meeting on the Knavesmire this week and Wednesday’s opening day will also see the unveiling of a statue of the great Frankel, the 2012 Juddmonte winner, and the official opening of gates in honour of the horse’s late trainer Sir Henry Cecil.

Anyway, what about some ante-post York tips, I hear you cry…

ACOMB STAKES (Wednesday): ADVENTUROUS was a bit outpaced in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood but still ran a solid race and this extra furlong should really suit him.

GREAT VOLTIGEUR (Wednesday): Aidan O’Brien has nine of the 13 entries but both Tashaar and STORM THE STARS will prove tough opposition. Preference is for the established form of the latter rather than the huge potential of Tashaar.

JUDDMONTE INTERNATIONAL (Wednesday): Golden Horn should win but Gleneagles will be a tempting bet at around 7/2. The Grey Gatsby and The Corsican also look juicy each-way wagers if there are eight runners or more.

LOWTHER STAKES (Thursday): LUMIERE was ultra-impressive on her debut and Mark Johnston will be dreaming that he has another filly somewhere near the calibre of Attraction on his hands. The unbeaten Illuminate is a formidable opponent.

YORKSHIRE OAKS: (Thursday): COVERT LOVE has been supplemented but will not want the ground to firm up too much. However, she is the best three-year-old middle distance filly by some way.

NUNTHORPE (Friday): Acapulco is a fascinating runner but MOVE IN TIME is an established Group One winner and offers each-way value at around 16/1.

EBOR (Saturday): I fancy SEAMOUR if he takes up his entry and gets a favourable draw, something he didn’t get in the Pitmen’s Derby.

Be lucky!

One thought on “York Ebor Festival”

  1. Graham Oliver says:

    Hi Jason,

    I agree with you 100% about this weeks York meeting. It does look a bit special.

    Although I hope to see Golden Horn further enhance his claims for Horse of the Year in the Juddmonte, it is no foregone conclusion. He is up against some stiff opposition, and I do hope that Gleneagles turns up. I just have that feeling that if any of that predicted Tuesday rain actually touches the ground, then Gleneagles will be out. I sincerely hope he runs, and only in his absence would I nominate The Grey Gatsby to chase the favourite home.

    I always look forward to the two year old races, and the Acomb has in the past been a stepping stone to future greatness from the likes of Her Majesty’s Aureole and Height Of Fashion (dam of Nashwan etc) Derby winner Royal Palace and Two Thousand Guineas winner King’s Best. If there is a star in this year’s
    renewal perhaps it might be Mohab, an impressive eight length winner of a maiden race at Catterick.

    To me the Great Voltigeur actually looks as exciting as the Juddmonte. Very difficult to pick the winner here and I think you are probably right in your appraisal and selection Jason.
    My long term fancies for the St Leger have always been Giovanni Canaletto and Aloft, so this should be an informative race. However classic trial races can sometimes throw up misleading results, what with some aspirants returning after summer breaks. Perhaps best just to watch this one.

    I concur with all you say about the Lowther and Yorkshire Oaks, both fascination contests.

    Finally, I must admit that I was surprised to see Esoterique running again after seven days last Sunday. I was hoping to see her pick up a Group 1 by the end of the season, but sooner, rather than later, ruled the day. A deserved win! It’s great to see top class mares kept in training at the age of five.


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