It is all about the Yorkshire Ebor Festival this week really with some potentially decent races to be enjoyed on the Knavesmire over the four days. A little ironically marketed as the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, this year there will of course be no crowds but plenty of top-class racing; ITV will be on course all four-days as well as RTV so you shouldn’t miss a moment.
The meeting gets underway at 1.45 on Wednesday with a 5f handicap sprint that I am steering well clear of but there are bets to be had on day one. Eight two-year-olds will line up in the 7f Group Three Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at 2.15 the first Pattern Race of the Festival. Ante-post favourite Fev Rover was not declared by Richard Fahey which shock the market up a little bit leaving us with four once-raced winners Cloudbridge, Royal Scimitar Praise Of Shadows and Gear Up in a heat that is perhaps a bit tricky. Cloudbridge looked an impressive winner of 7f novice stakes at Leicester earlier this month and the third that day has come out and won since suggesting its fair form. By top-class American sire Hard Spun out of Listed winner Peace Camp (Storm Cat) he could prove useful and it the pick with more to come yet expected. Get on at the standout early 2-1 with Paddy Power.
At 2.45 it is the 1m4f Group Two Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes which looks a decent race. Darain, brother to Too Darn Hot, So Mi Dar and Lah To Dar, makes his first start in Group company following two facile victories at novice level. He is the one that could be anything as they say. Gosden and Qatar Racing have been patient with him but the trip is the question mark for me - Lah To Dar stayed but the other two siblings did not. Aidan O'Brien is represented by Mogul, winner of the G.3 Gordon Stakes last time when I did not back him having backed him when he lost at Ascot! He appears to be getting the hang of things and as I have said before I expect him to be very good but it might be, he really peaks next season as a four-year-old. That said the St Leger might be the target now (stable have plenty of options mind you) and a win here would obviously boost his chances for that. This one does stay twelve furlongs no question and I would expect to so Ryan Moore make this a proper test to take Darain out of his comfort zone if possible. I am on the Ballydoyle runner at 15-8 which is short enough in what could be a a really good race but I think he is the solid option. King Edward VII Stakes winner Pyledriver (Mogul fourth) needs to prove that wasn’t a freak result after a peer effort in the Derby.
The one ante-post punt I have had runs in the shape of Ghaiyyath in the Group One 1m2½f Juddmonte International Stakes at 3.15. I took the 5-4 last week and I am as confident as you can be, I know the three-year-olds get a chunk of weight but none of them have been tested yet as the selection will test them in this with his relentless galloping style of running. I cannot see any of them staying with him.