Turf Talk: It’s all a matter of Opinion at York

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YORK culminates on Saturday with a great week’s racing from the Knavesmire completed by the Betfred Ebor, one of the handicap betting opportunities of the season.

The market is currently headed by the favourably drawn Goodwood Cup second Lost in the Moment for Frankie Dettori and the Godolphin Team along with the Brian Ellison trained Saptapadi.

The opening race on Saturday’s card is the City of York Stakes, a seven furlong listed event which was won last year by Yaa Wayl. He was a 5/1 shot last year when trained by the recently retired Michael Jarvis and looks to go back to back, this time for team Godolphin. He is in good form after winning a conditions race after a 133 day break, and should go close once more.

The Dandy Nicholls trained Regal Parade should have conditions to suit, and has been tough and resilient this year. But the most interesting horse is the unexposed KING TORUS for the Richard Hannon yard. He looked to be a potential Guineas horse when winning the Superlative and Vintage Stakes (both Group 2) at Newmarket and Goodwood festivals last July and was earmarked as having a bright future. He has been unlucky with injury, and seeks to make amends here and get his three year old season off to a belated but successful start.

The Lonsdale Cup is another race in the British Champion Series and recent Goodwood Cup winner OPINION POLL looks to have the best chance here and can follow up on his victory last year. His form is absolutely rock solid. He finished second to Fame and Glory, a former Irish Derby winner, in the Ascot Gold Cup, the pair pulling clear of the field. He followed that up with an excellent win at Goodwood beating tough handicappers such as Overturn and Fox Hunt with relative ease. He goes better with cut in the ground so the forecast rain should give him an even greater edge.

The Betfred Ebor is the showpiece handicap of the meeting, with 20 runners competing for a first prize over £130,000. Expect a gamble from shrewd northerners, with trainers Easterby, Johnston, Barron all famous for landing a plunge, and this could be the same again with SAPTAPADI having an outstanding chance for Brian Ellison.

The former Sir Michael Stoute horse has been progressive this year, with his run last time out looking strong. The step up in trip should definitely suit, and he has been laid out for this race. The booking of Kieren Fallon to ride is another massive plus for the five year old gelding, who is in his element at York.

Lost In The Moment holds a strong chance for the Godolphin camp. He is another who has been aimed at this race and seems the stable have really aimed at this meeting this year. MODUN is also of interest for Sir Michael Stoute, finishing a narrow second at Goodwood when a supposed handicap good thing. He was staying on that day, and the trip of 14 furlongs looks ideal. On pedigree he could be a group horse, and so he could be a major dark horse in a race like this.

2.00 (York) King Torus

3.05 (York) Opinion Poll (Nap)

3.40 (York) Saptapadi (Ew) & Modun (Ew)