The York Ebor Meeting is upon us and we join it in time for the second day which features the Tote Ebor – the Meeting’s most popular race.

The going for the entire meeting is likely to be genuinely good to firm (may be watered) as there is no rain in the immediate forecast but the most important statistic for readers is that Sir Michael Stoute has been the Trainer to Follow at the meeting with 22 winners since 1999 and 47% of his runners in the top three.  The only drawback is that the Bookies have taken note of this statistic and his runners do not start at value prices.  Interestingly, Luca Cumani, with 3 recent winners of the Ebor itself, has a 24% strike rate at the meeting; Henry Candy a 30% strike rate; John Given 20% and Marcus Tregoning, whose stable is currently in resurgence, a 20% strike rate.

Among the Jockeys, the one to watch out for is Jamie Spencer whose record in handicaps equals his record in non-handicap races.  Frankie Dettori, who has a 23% strike rate away from handicaps, has won only one handicap from 26 rides.


Wednesday’s Opener, the RSA AND MOTABILITY STAKES (HANDICAP) (CLASS 2) (3yo+; 0-100) over a mile and a half (1:45 p.m. GMT) is the perfect way to begin as it includes my NAP OF THE MEETING in Sir Michael Stoute’s CLASS IS CLASS, third in the year’s hottest handicap out of which the first, Firebet, has run second in a Group 3 at Glorious Goodwood and the second, Roman Republic, duly obliged in the Summer Vase Stakes (Heritage Handicap) at the same meeting.  Now that CLASS IS CLASS is stepped up to 12 furlongs his only negative is that he will encounter good to firm for the very first time.  He is by Montjeu out of a Hector Protector mare and so will probably be at his best with cut in the ground but, at this level, I doubt that the going will matter.

At 2:15, the LONSDALE CUP (GROUP 2) (CLASS 1) (3yo+) will be run over 2 miles and this looks a glorious opportunity for Marcus Tregoning to score with his sole entrant for the meet, ASKAR TAU, who wears a first time visor.  This was a most progressive horse last year, winning five in a row before disappointingly 4th as favourite in the Cesarewitch.  He flopped in his reappearance in the Goodwood Cup but the stable was then in the doldrums and his canny trainer has an excellent record with horses fitted with headgear for the first time.  He could be a good thing.

The Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes for 2yos is up next (6f; 2:50 p.m.) and it is worth noting that the favourite has won only two of the last ten renewals of this race and none of the last six.  That pride of place will go tomorrow either to the prolific Monsieur Chevalier (5 wins from 6 starts) or the front running Orpen Grey (1 ¾ lengths 2nd to Arcano in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket).  This will be Monsieur Chevalier’s first try at six furlongs and the track is not suited to his style so I will be opposing both favourites with the rapidly improving SHOWCASING who lost by only a head to Arcano when green on debut before disposing of Cansili Star by 3 ½ lengths with plenty to spare.  The fourth in that race, Azizi, has won twice since.  SHOWCASING will be very, very hard to beat.

FINALLY, The TOTESPORT EBOR itself, a Heritage Handicap for 3yo+ over 14 furlongs (3:25 p.m.) with a full field of 20 will be worth going miles to see.  Aidan O’Brien has done well in this race with his 3 yos and the ante-post favourite, Changingoftheguard looks a deserving one after winning two in a  row in Ireland the second his first run in a handicap.  He was in England in May when 3l 2nd to Harbinger in a Chester Maiden and Harbinger went on to win a Group 3 at Goodwood most emphatically (beat Firebet) so not even his appalling flop in Group 2 at this meeting on Tuesday can dent the credentials of Changingoftheguard. However, this is a hot race indeed that tends to go to a more seasoned campaigner (only 2 3yo winners in the last ten years) and O’Brien’s colt does need things to go his way (comes from behind on a track that favours those up with the pace) and so he is opposed at a poor price but with some trepidation.  I could not have been more impressed with the comeback effort at Goodwood of PRECISION BREAK who was an unlucky second (beaten only a head) in the mile and three-quarters Summer Stakes (handicap).  Drill Sergeant, who was third, goes for the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup earlier today; Yes Mr President (4th) came back to lose narrowly in the Shergar Cup Stayers Handicap at Ascot; and Rajeh (6th) won a Class 3 handicap hurdle at Market Rasen in August.

At double-digit odds, this PRECISION BREAK is a very good each way flutter indeed.  Get in early and often!!

Later in the week, have a flutter on IALYSOS in a very competitive Nunthorpe (Friday; 3:25 p.m.; GROUP 1; 2yo+; 5f) in which the speedy Kingsgate Native will be favourite but no value; Borderless Scott a rock solid each way bet and MOORHOUSE LAD a most intriguing outsider.

Good Luck!


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