A day of near-misses on Day 2 of the York Ebor Meeting.
We’ve been treated to a true Sea of Class so far at the York Ebor meeting, including the stunning performance of Lah Ti Dar winning by 10 lengths on Day 2 of the meeting. It was another day of near-misses for racing journalist Nick Robson, but he returns on Day 3 with his tips for some winners on what’s set to be an amazing day of racing.
There is a chance Charlie Appleby could have yet another to send Down Under if FIRST NATION improves as much for his first run of the season as I expect him to. At present Appleby appears to be sending half his yard to Australia, and not surprisingly given how well he did with those he sent last year.
First Nation was second to Atty Persse in the King George V Stakes and after that, he ran a host of respectable races before signing off with a win at Newmarket in a very valuable race. He returned to action after a lengthy break at Ascot last month, having his first run since being gelded, and ran ok, without setting the world on fire. Given nominal improvement from that run, though, he can be expected to take a hand in the finish.
At a bigger price, Kevin Ryan’s ERIK THE RED might hit the frame again. Placed at this meeting for the last two years, he also has only had just the one run this season when he appeared to blow up at Doncaster. It may be that he is being readied for the November Handicap but this is too nice a prize to pass up along the way.
The favourite, Melting Dew, is up 5lb for being beaten last time out which is never a positive.
It is very hard, almost impossible, to see beyond Stradivarius in the Lonsdale Cup as he bids for a £1 million bonus. It looked as if his only serious rival was Jessica Harrington’s Torcedor but he was sold last week and is now in Germany. With nine runners, though, there is some good each-way value to be had.
On all recent form, you’d think Red Verdon and Idaho should take minor honours but there are a couple who, not too long ago, would have been much shorter prices.
DESERT SKYLINE was only three lengths behind Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup in May but has run poorly the last twice. However, fast ground at Ascot and a troubled passage at Goodwood help explain those runs away a bit, he is worth a tickle each-way.
As is Sir Mark Prescott’s ST MICHEL, who was only beaten half a length in this 12 months ago. He was gelded after that, was a beaten odds-on favourite in Germany on his return but didn’t run too badly in the Goodwood Cup. He looks a huge price on last year’s form.
I’m not sure this looks the strongest renewal of the Gimcrack we’ve ever seen, although of course I could be proved wrong on that front, there is no doubt the race still carries a good deal of kudos.
Unfortunately, Legends Of War does not appear to be as good as he looked on his sparkling debut and that can often be the case with horses bought from the breeze-ups, they are trained to look fast at the sales and then go backwards. Legends Of War disappointed at Newmarket on his second run and only scrambled home in a minor affair last time out but if anyone can coax the ability back out of him John Gosden can.
There is plenty of local confidence by Richard Fahey’s SPACE TRAVELLER, though. Two from two so far, in minor races, he has always had a big reputation and so far he’s done nothing wrong. So far he has done everything asked of him without even coming under undue pressure so what he’ll find in a battle is open to question but given the rest don’t look anything out of the ordinary, it is worth taking the chance that Space Traveller, from the yard who won this last year, can remain unbeaten.
Archie Watson’s Showout deserves a mention, as while he has only been winning at a lowly level, he has been very impressive in the process.
I’m sure all the big hitters will be doubling Stradivarius and Battaash and just like in the Lonsdale Cup, it is hard to see the favourite being beaten.
For those willing to take him on, however, there is the point that Battaash did boil over before the start of this race 12 months ago, his only disappointing run in the last two years. He was beaten at Royal Ascot by the reopposing Blue Point but Battaash looked a different proposition at Goodwood and Charlie Hills feels he has never had him better. The fact they are boxing him over the Knavesmire means he has less chance to get worked up too.
It will be a shock if he’s beaten but again there are plenty of each-way options, the best of which looks to be JUDICIAL. He has improved with each run this season, bar a luckless effort at Haydock, and he can pick up the pieces behind the favourite.
With Caspian Prince and Take Cover as well as Battaash, this will be no place for the faint-hearted up front and another worth backing for a place is MABS CROSS for Michael Dods, who trained Mecca’s Angel to win this twice. She is always doing her best work at the finish and while she’d prefer a stiffer track, she is sure to be staying on past those who chase the likely rapid gallop up front.
Nick’s Best Bets:
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