THIS week York plays host to one of the highlights of the flat season with the Ebor meeting.
Racing kicks off on Wednesday, the rescheduled calendar meaning that the Ebor itself will be run on a Saturday.
Irish Derby runner up Seville trained by Aidan O’ Brien, is the hot favourite for the Great Voltigeur, a traditional St Leger trial run on the opening day. He is unsure to see out the trip fully while second favourite Sea Moon is another horse with potential but is taking a massive step up in class. The Mark Johnston trained NAMIBIAN looks to tick all the boxes here.
He stays the trip, winning the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, following that up with a narrow victory over fellow St Leger hopeful Fiorente. He is versatile, winning over 2 miles on good to soft ground, then a mile and a half on good ground, so trip and ground are not an issue and at around the 4/1 mark he looks terrific value.
Another impressive winner at a recent festival, Gamilati, runs in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes on Thursday for trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni and perennial punter’s favourite Frankie Dettori. She looks to have a lot on her plate however with horses such as My Propeller, Intreobil and Best Terms who all look promising.
The two I prefer are FIRE LILY and SHUMOOS. David Wachman’s Fire Lily looks to have strong claims, especially with her having shown she can handle cut in the ground. The well bred daughter of Dansili was found out on good ground, but returned to form when winning the Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh on soft and should thrive on this ground once more. Shumoos has solid form in the book with both her maiden win and subsequent run in the Queen Mary Stakes looking sound. Although behind Best Terms that day, she looks to have plenty of room for progress and could go close at a price.
TWICE OVER bounced back to form when winning the Group 2 York Stakes last month, and he attempts to continue his fine form at the track when seeking consecutive course and distance wins when lining up in the Juddmonte International Stakes on Wednesday. He’ll be trying to give his owner, race sponsor Khalid Abdulla, a first ever win in his own race and came close last year when finishing second behind Rip Van Winkle, having been caught close home.
His form this season started off shakily but Sir Henry Cecil has been patient with him and rejuvenated the six year old. Stablemate Midday has been in excellent form this year and receives 3lb from her male counterparts while current favourite Await The Dawn looked a bit special when winning the Hardwicke at Ascot. Await The Dawn is being prepared for a tilt at the Breeders Cup Classic so Wednesday may not be his day and, with Twice Over a proven yardstick and available at 5./1, the Cecil colt looks good each way value.
3.05 York (Wednesday) – Namibian (Nap)
3.40 York (Wednesday) – Twice Over (Ew)
2.30 York (Thursday) – Fire Lily & Shumoos