is all eyes on Yorkshire for the next four
days with the York Ebor Festival up on the Knavesmire and we are into some
pretty decent stuff from the beginning.
The Group Three Acomb Stakes for two-year-olds over seven is due off at 2.25. Dee Ex Bee went straight into my notebook after winning on debut at Goodwood on the soft. He is by one of my all time favourite horses Farhh out of Dubai Sunrise and looks a prospect. He has all the entries you would expect – G.2 Champagne Stakes, G.1 Dewhurst – later in the season and should be able to take this on the way to those bigger targets. Farhh won on all types of going so it is hoped the drier conditions won’t prove a problem this afternoon and I am on at 2-1. Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said yesterday "We've seen the final declarations and it looks a race full of horses like him - maiden and novice winners who are stepping up in grade. This was the plan for him straight away after his impressive win at Goodwood.He is a colt we have always thought a bit of and we wanted to save him for Glorious Goodwood. We have been happy with him since that win and hopefully he's good enough. Fleet Review is feared but the last 21 juveniles from Ballydoyle to run here have all been beaten and that’s a big stat.
At 3.00 we have the Group Two Great Voltigeur Stakes which is of course considered a St Leger ‘trial’. Capri does not run having scoped badly the other day which leaves Cracksman odds-on jolly off the back of his third and second in the Derby and Irish Derby respectively. His owner Anthony Oppenheimer keeps talking about next year though, which is something to look forward but a little concerning if punting at short odds ante-post so keep his recent comments in mind. He told Press Association Sport earlier this week "He's had a good rest and has been going very well at home. The ground is reasonable so all looks good. It really is all about next year with him, though, that is what the jockeys who ride him are telling us. Pat Smullen got off him after the Irish Derby and said if we looked after him for the rest of this year he'd be some prospect next season, so that is what we are doing.”……… "He's a very short price and when there are all those Coolmore horses you never know how the race will be run but he's very well. He just needs to fill out, and when he does you'll see the real Cracksman.” Member of the Dirty Dozen Atty Persse is on a recovery mission having run terribly in the 1m5f G.3 Bahrain Trophy at HQ but that may of come a little too soon after his win in the King George V Stakes at Ascot. At 33-1 he can be backed each-way and that is what I have done as I still fell he is pattern class.
The main event of day one is the Group One Juddmonte International Stakes over 1m2f. Barney Roy, Churchill, Ulysses and Cliffs Of Moher are all here to name only four and this could be a vintage renewal. I wrote a while back that I couldn’t see Churchill as a Derby horse and I am not convinced he will get this 1m2f 56 yards either – if he does he will be a danger on his best form. Barney Roy is 3lb worse off with Ulysses on the G.1 Eclipse form and there is no reason to think the three-year-old or any of the others that ran that day - Cliffs Of Moher fourth, Decorated Knight fifth - can overturn the form anyway. Ulysses was a good second to Enable over 1m4f in the G.1 King George since he won that race and she is now odds-on for the Arc. The chestnut four-year-old seems to be thriving on his racing this season and is the pick for Triple G at 7-2. Sir Michael Stoute expects his four-year-old to be there or thereabouts, the Newmarket trainer said earlier this week "He's competent at both trips. He loves top of the ground but he goes on any. You've only got to look at the King George and you've got your evidence there. I think it will be a high-quality race - it's very interesting. We've had some great races for the International in the past and we'll probably have a great one this time."