Best Bets For The York Ebor Festival – Day Four

Saturday is Ebor Day up on the Knavesmire in York and it is a very good card on which I have four fancies.

Mondialiste tends to go very well here 1 win (this race in 2015) and 2 seconds and has a big chance in the Group Three Strensall Stakes that kicks the day off at 1.55. Beaten a nose in the G.2 York Stakes last month over the 1m2f here showed he is in form again and at 11-4 he is the one for Triple G in the opener to build on his decent course record.

At 2.25 a plethora of unexposed three-year-olds are due to line-up for the Betfred Melrose Handicap. Intellect is one of the least experienced having won two of this three starts to date, both wins on soft, and is one that looks very much on the upgrade. He strolled home at Newbury last time making all as he pleased, and has duly been raised 12lb but I think he has more in the locker yet. The Sir Michael Stoute inmate is 13-2 and I have that, my biggest concern is if the ground has dried out too much.

Connections of Cardsharp are anticipating an improved effort on better ground in the Al Basti Equiworld Group Two Gimcrack Stakes due off at 3.00. Mark Johnston's charge won the G.2 July Stakes at Newmarket on his penultimate start but fell just short when shouldering a 3lb penalty and finishing third in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood. He must concede the same amount to each of his 11 rivals in this but Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, felt the ground rather than the penalty may have been his undoing in Sussex. He said: "He didn't show his true running at Goodwood and, at this stage, we are putting it down to the soft ground. At Newmarket when he won, he hit the line very strongly, whereas at Goodwood he travelled like the best horse in the race but couldn't quicken.” I have the stand-out 6-1 with Hills. Headway was sixth at Goodwood with connections blaming the underfoot conditions for his poor run as well and is feared.

At 3.35 it’s the Ebor over the 1m6f which has been a Bookies benefit in recent years. Since Mudawin’s 100-1 success in 2006 five of the ten subsequent winners were 20-1 or bigger! Long time ante-post jolly Flymetothestars should line-up as the ground is just about soft enough for him and he is feared. Battersea knows all about the Knavesmire, having finished fourth in the race last year from a bad draw. He’s been working well at home recently reportedly and goes well fresh so he could be thereabouts as well. I am looking elsewhere though. I thought Eve Johnson Houghton was great on the Opening Show the other Saturday, they should get her on more often, and she is having a pretty good season thus far. Her four-year-old Scarlet Dragon must have a chance in this. As yet he has not won this year but got his head in front four times last season, twice at one-mile-four-furlongs, and his latest effort at Goodwood when third suggested to me he will win again sooner rather than later; due to go up a further 2lb in the ratings after today. A step-up to the one-and-three-quarter miles should suit, drying ground conditions are fine and at 12-1 he is a tentative pick in a wide-open race. Eve Johnson Houghton said on Friday "He's better off at the weights as Hollie (Doyle) can use her claim and he's 2lb well-in because he went up for Goodwood (third in a Group Three). We're hoping for a big run, but obviously it is a bit of a lottery."

Be lucky