It’s mid-august and this means that one of the most popular betting festivals, the York Ebor meeting, is on (Wednesday, August 17 to Saturday August 20).  The ground is definitely on the easy side of good and the official going for Day 1 is likely to be good to soft.

Sir Michael Stoute has been by far the most successful trainer at this meet with 23 winners in the last 11 years but his horses usually start at short prices so there’s no profit to be made following him.  The trainer with the correct strike rate and value price combo is JOHN DUNLOP and readers could do worse than to have a level stakes flutter on his starters.

Frankie has ridden 20 winners in the past 11 years but all outside of handicaps but KEIREN FALLON’s 21 wins are of the better priced variety.  This together with his press for the Championship since the unfortunate injury to Ryan Moore makes him the jockey to follow and likely Meet Champion.

All times are Jamaica time.



Three Pattern races will be run on Wednesday.  We’ll preview 2.

The Great Voltigeur Stakes (Group 2; 3yo colts/geldings; 1 1/2m; 9.05 am) is the traditional St Leger trial and this year is no different with the first 3 in the betting all St Leger entries.  The favourite Seville sets a high standard with his 3 seconds from 4 starts this year (failed to act around Epsom in the Derby); Namibian is a most progressive sort whose win in the 12f Gordon Stakes at Goodwood over Fiorente was very impressive but, in SEA MOON, Fiorente’s trainer Sir Michael Stoute has one likely to take revenge for the stable.  He had looked a high class prospect from early but has taken a long time to come to hand this year.  His belated seasonal reappearance at York in June couldn’t have been more pleasing and he is confidently expected to complete the Great Voltigeur/St Leger double with the minimum of fuss.

Great Voltigeur Selection – SEA MOON (BANKER BET)


The Juddmonte International (Group 1; 3yo and upwards; 1 1/4m; 9:40a.m.) has become a feeding tree for Ireland who has won the last 3 renewals.  The progressive 4yo Await the Dawn gives Aidan O’Brien a glorious opportunity to make it four in a row but he will be strongly opposed by the Henry Cecil duo MIDDAY and Twice OverMID-DAY is as game a mare as they come and will enjoy the likely underfoot conditions.  Unlike the younger favourite, who is yet to win at the highest level and who is being prepped for a fling at the Breeders Cup Classic on dirt, MID-DAY has already won 6 Group 1 races and is more than capable of beating the boys.

Juddmonte International Selection:           MID-DAY



The meeting’s second Group 1 race is run on Thursday.

The Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1; 3yo+ f/m; 1 1/2m; 9.40 a.m.), although missing defending Champion Mid-day, is a fantastic race in the making with Sir Michael Stoute’s Champion distaffer Crystal Capella (runaway winner of Princess of Wales Stakes last month) taking on Irish Guineas winner Misty for Me (dictated a steady pace then), 2010 Epsom Oaks winner SNOW FAIRY (who has repeatedly found Mid-day too good and will relish that one’s absence) and 2,000 Guineas and Irish Oaks winner Blue Bunting (one who needs a bit of luck in running but long York straight will play to her obvious strengths).  A lot is in favour of the younger Blue Bunting here but SNOW FAIRY is a proven multiple Group 1 winner who won’t get many of these opportunities (Mid-Day absent) and who is expected to make no mistake.

Yorkshire Oaks Selection: SNOW FAIRY



The Meet’s final Group 1 race is The Nunthorpe Stakes (5f; 2yo+; 9.40 a.m.).  Group sprints in England these days are lotteries as the form is much of a muchness but the hype surrounds Stewards Cup easy winner Hoof It who has been heralded as a certain Group 1 winner.  He takes the immediate huge step up to Group 1 in this race but this is a furlong shorter and very, very sharp indeed.  At the prices, we must look elsewhere for value and the two to consider are the frustrating Kingsgate Native, who won this race as a 2yo back in 2007 and for whom 3 of his 4 lifetime wins have come during or after Royal Ascot and the impressive unbeaten 2yo BAPAK CHINTA who had subsequent July Stakes winner and Gimcrack entrant Frederick Engels behind on debut.  From his lowly weight, he will be extremely hard to beat.

Nunthorpe Stakes Selection:     BAPAK CHINTA

Finally, here’s a bonus – an entry from The Terrible Tout’s famous Notebook.

MISS EXCEL (August 11; Chepstow; 0-55 handicap; 10g).  A lightly raced 4yo maiden filly whose 4 lifetime starts have all been as a 4yo, she showed her first signs of real ability under hands alone staying on very well final furlong to be 1 1/4l 4th of 14 to upset winner, 3yo Miskin Diamond.  This was a taking effort even if they did finish in somewhat of a heap and she can have a profitable autumn especially stepped up to 11 or 12 furlongs.  Is one to follow.

N.B.  Entered at Southwell (August 18; 11.30 a.m.)

Good Luck!



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