York’s Ebor meeting tops the flat racing calendar for many, with fantastic racing often accompanied by glorious sunshine on the Knavesmire.
It has been my personal favourite UK flat meeting ever since I was fortunate enough to witness incredible Epsom Derby winner, Authorized, taking on future Arc winner, Dylan Thomas, back in 2007. That day changed my views on racing forever, and since then I have been very fortunate with my luck at the Yorkshire track.
This year looks set to be no different and the opening day provides the opportunity to see some fantastic horses, with Derby winner Australia rightfully taking centre stage. He is the best horse in the race, but with Joseph O’Brien pushing himself to unnatural limits to make the 8st 12 to ride him, there would have to be question marks about his physical fitness in a finish, should the horse need to pull out something extra. He should get the better of the field comfortably if carrying on his progression, but there has to be doubts about taking long-odds on.
The day starts with the Symphony Group Handicap, a typically tough race that will set you up for the day/meeting if you can find the winner. There is plenty of each-way value, and the selection lies with See the Sun. He landed a valuable prize at York back in June and travelled like the winner last time out, when controlling the race from the front before fading late on behind the talented Muthmir. A shorter trip is set to suit Tim Easterby’s charge, and stall 20 is a plum box to get out and dictate. The three-year-old is nicely weighted and on an upward curve, so the current 11/1 represents clear value and he can hopefully kick-start the meeting in the best possible way.
Next up is the Acomb Stakes, which looks a fantastic opportunity to highlight Jamaica’s potential Classic claims for next year. He is currently second-favourite for the Group Three Acomb, behind the highly rated Basateen, but the manner of Jamaica’s victory as-well as the sheer market support that came for him at Galway, suggest he has the potential to be a special animal. He is going to want further rather soon, as his staying-on display last time out suggested, but he still possesses enough speed at the moment to get the better of the field tomorrow. The 3/1 is more than fair, and this looks like has to potential to be a real starting point for a big career should the vibes from Coolmore be anything to go by.
Kingston Hill is expected to take all the beating back in his optimum conditions in the Great Voltigeur Stakes, yet he will face stiff competition from a tough field. Sir Michael Stoute’s, Snow Sky, looked the least likely winner heading down to post at Glorious Goodwood, dripping with sweat and acting up in the preliminaries. This, combined with the three-year-old failing to settle during the early exchanges, meant that many thought he had already put paid to his chances. However thanks to a masterful James Doyle ride, he managed to prevail by a head, and continue his upward curve. He possesses plenty of ability, and 1m4f looks to be his optimum trip, with the ground posing no issues. If he behaves before the race, and settles earlier he will pose a massive threat to the favourite and at 8/1, he looks a fair bet. He is a risky proposition, but his talent is worth taking a punt on, and if the favourite does fail to act, Snow Sky looks the likeliest to benefit.
Eagle Rock is an interesting contender in the penultimate race of the day, with the Tom Tate trained six-year-old currently a fantastic each-way proposition at 20/1. He saves his best runs for the Knavesmire, running consistently in big handicaps, including a course and distance success. It is a very open race as the prices suggest, but he is one of very few that absolutely love big fields and the course, and one of only two in the race who have course-distance success (Itlaaq the other), which swings things in his massively favour at a surprising price. J P Sullivan has never finished out of the first three when on-board the horse and with him in the saddle tomorrow, hopefully he can piece together another solid run and return each-way money at the very least.
1:55, York: See the Sun @ 11/1
2:30, York: Jamaica @ 3/1
3:05, York: Snow Sky @ 8/1
4:20, York: Eagle Rock @ 20/1