OPENING day of the Ebor Festival and there is no bigger headliner than the mighty Frankel.
There will be a little more anticipation this time around as he steps up into the unknown tackling ten furlongs for the first time in his career and with some trainers sensing potentially a bit of vulnerability there is a good size field to take him on. For me I have no doubt he will be just as brilliant at ten furlongs as he is at a mile and it will be another case of sit back and watch and focus my betting attentions elsewhere. Saturday proved an ok day for the column with Mount Athos winning and Louis the Pious making the places but with Strong Suit proving a frustrating loser given he really should have won I am hoping things will go our way this time around.
Opening the show is a five furlong handicap sprint, not everyone’s cup of tea but for me personally I find these contests very good betting mediums. Rex Imperator looks the horse that could get us off to winning ways on the knavesmire coming off the back of his run at Newmarket. He looked like he would play a big part in the finish last time out having cruised into the final furlong but when asked for his effort, having pulled hard close up to the pace through the first half of the race he simply did not find enough in the business end. He was very impressive when winning previously at Windsor and again that day showed loads of speed travelling for a long way on the bridle before showing a good turn of foot late on. That turn of foot was just blunted at Newmarket last time given his early exertions and this drop back to five furlongs looks well worth a try given the speed he shows in his races at six furlongs. He is still open to improvement and against a modest field he is just about the only horse of potential to race beyond handicap class in the future and he should hold a very strong chance.
Though a small field for this years Acomb Stakes each horse comes here off the back of a win and it looks an interesting renewal despite the numbers. Ebn Arab returns to the scene of his debut winning performance four weeks ago when he was an impressive victor beating subsequent winner Related by five lengths. Racing over todays course and distance he knew his job on debut settled in mid division and having made good headway into the final two and when switched out for a run from the far side once in front heading inside the final furlong he drew clear finishing strongly and had the field well strung out come the line. He looks to have plenty of scope and looks a very nice individual physically and will no doubt only improve from his debut and this looks like a good next step.
Main Sequence can certainly be counted as unlucky at Longchamp last time out in Grand Prix de Paris, he suffered an awful passage in the home straight as he was consistently denied a run at the leader and subsequent winner Imperial Monarch. I cannot believe for one moment that with a clear run he would not have at least forced a three way photo and this looks a good opportunity to gain compensation. Previously second to Camelot in the derby he has proven himself a very capable group one three old this year and along the way this season has claimed some very notable scalps such as Shantaram who has been a run away winner of a group three race this season. He does face some good opposition here in what looks a good running of the Voltigeur Stakes with some improving runners to shake off but they all have a bit more to find yet to challenge him and he is worth keeping on side coming away from group one company.
2.00 - Rex Imperator (ew)
2.30 - Ebn Arab (nb)
3.40 - Main Sequence (nap)