All eyes are on the Knavesmire up in Yorkshire for the next four days as the Sky Bet Ebor Festival gets underway on Wednesday. With the rail strikes on Thursday and Saturday causing havoc again, for many punters a visit to the course this year is out of the question but luckily ITV racing will show five races each day with Racing TV covering the whole meeting.
Following some rain the going has eased to good, good-firm in places. No more rain is forecast up there this week with light cloud and a moderate breeze being the theme of the week; temperatures have dipped markedly from the heatwave we have been experiencing.
The stats suggest York favours horses that are ridden prominently, especially over 5f and 6f, and those drawn low also have an advantage historically so that is something to remember over the coming days.
Best bets for the racing at York Wednesday 17th August
They get underway at 1.50 on Wednesday with the 5½f Sky Bet And Symphony Group Handicap; no issue with a small field here as 22 line-up for the cavalry charge, it’s a wide-open affair. Dakota Gold loves it here, has won on six occasions including this race in 2019, and has to be considered. The high draw is in theory a disadvantage but the eight-year-old will be out like a scalded cat and might be hard to peg back. At 8-1 he is an each-way punt with Power paying six-places. Dusky Lord and Makanah head the dangers.
I tipped Local Dynasty on debut at HQ earlier this month, he duly won impressively, and he goes again in the 7f Group Three Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at 2.25. As I mentioned before the colt is by Dubawi out of Really Special (Shamardal - Rumh) who was a 6f-1m winner in her career up to Listed class, including winning at both starts at two and the UQE 1,000 Guineas Trial. She is herself a half-sister to high-class trio Yibir, Wild Illusion and Wild Crusade (all three by Dubawi out of Rumh) and it’s a family Godolphin know well. There are some potentially nice ones in here but this colt looked a bit special on the July Course and I am on at 2-1 that I took Tuesday for him to make to two from two. Charlie Appleby said on the Godolphin website “He’s come out of the race well and he’s the type, who could naturally progress into a Pattern horse. He’s got a very progressive profile.”
It’s Appleby and Buick again in the 3.00 1m4f Group Two Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes with Secret State the one to be on here. The chestnut was second on his debut and has then won all four starts since improving each time. After winning at Goodwood last time this was stated as the aim and, perhaps the St Leger at Doncaster next month though Appleby is on record as saying “There’s a question mark over whether he would get a strong 1m 6f”. He will need to improve again but he appeared to have a fair bit left in the tank at Goodwood and having tipped him on four of his five starts I am not about to desert him now! I grabbed the unusual odds of 11-5 with Power last night.
Race of the day, perhaps the meeting, is the Group One Juddmonte International Stakes over 1m2f due off at 3.35. Baaeed tries his luck over further than a mile for the first time and this may simply come down to whether the four-year-old stays the trip. On breeding he certainly should, his full-brother Hukum is of course a multiple Group winner up to 1m4f including the Coronation Cup, and in fact you might expect some improvement for the step-up to 1m2f – a worrying thought for those looking to take on the highest rated horse in the world right now. William Haggas said at the start of the week “I’m looking forward to it. We’ve always felt he’d be better over further, but we’ve got a few people emailing us and casting doubt on whether we should be doing it. But Sheikha Hissa is up for the challenge and I think it would be remiss of us not to give it a go." This is the ideal trip for Mishriff as he confirmed when winning this last year as he liked and the five-year-old would be jolly if it wasn’t for the presence of Baaeed. Native Trail was just a head behind Mishriff in the 1m2f G.1 Coral-Eclipse last month getting 10lb weight-for-age, that is down to 7lb here but that was the three-year-olds first try at a distance over a mile and I think he may have a bit more in his locker yet. Charlie Appleby said on the Godolphin website “The condition of this horse is second to none. He thrives on his work, and after giving him a break following the Eclipse last month, we have been winding his work up week by week. He is thriving, you can see that in him as an individual. He is progressing with each piece of work. He goes into the race off the back of a very uncomplicated training program. You ask, and he delivers.” With just the six lining-up and the prices of Mishriff and Native Trail being what they are there isn’t really an each-way angle sadly and it’s a race to watch and enjoy rather than bet in I would suggest. I might have a throw away tenner on Native just in case.............