The highlight of the August programme is always York's Ebor meeting. Below I’ll be taking a look at this year’s runners for all the big races.
The 171st Ebor festival kicks off on the 19th August with the Group One Juddmonte International Stakes being the highlight of the day’s action. This race is Time Test's next major target after winning the Tercentenary Stakes at Ascot. It will be a big step up from winning a group 3 but Timeform rated him above Gleneagles at the Royal meeting. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Gleneagles became only the third horse to win the English 2000 Guineas, the Irish 2000 Guineas and the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. The bookies favourite however is the unbeaten Golden Horn who has shown real class and versatility all season. Grey Gatsby was beaten by the favourite in the Coral-Eclipse last month after a decent challenge and was second in this race last year, can he go one better this year? Free Eagle the talented yet lightly run 4 year old has a decent chance and won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot narrowly beating Grey Gatsby. One to consider, even more so for all you each way backers.
The Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes favourite is Storm the Stars following his decent in the Irish Derby finishing second to JackHobbs. Intilaaq will fancy his chances after racing keenly and eventually winning at the JLT Stakes at Newbury two weeks ago.
The Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks is the highlight on Thursday. Diamondsandrubies was unable to confirm form at Goodwood last week but should not be written off after beating the eventual winner at Goodwood, Legatissimo, the month before at Curragh. Found looks a great each way bet after finishing in the top 3 in all races over the past year including an excellent run to finish second at Royal Ascot in the Coronation Stakes with the presence of Ryan Moore in the saddle.
Acapulco has the class to win the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes on the Friday. The two year old is trained by Wesley Ward who has an excellent record in bringing out the best in fillies. Acapulco would get a massive 25lb from her older male counterparts. The five-year-old gelding Muthmir defied a penalty to win the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood to post his second success at that level and seemed to relish the drop down to minimum distance and his price continues to shorten at the bookmakers. The specialist Sprinter Sole Power has won 10 of his 42 races, all 5 furlong, in a 6 year racing career. He impressed at Meydan winning the 5 furlong race in May but could only manage 5th and 4th at Royal Ascot and Newmarket respectively since then. However, with Nunthorpe being 5 furlongs, Sole Power is built for races like this and should be given a serious look.
Saturday sees the 1m 6f Ebor Handicap. I will cover this in a separate blog post nearer the off. In the meantime I would strongly consider a look at Quick Jack, the dual-purpose performer took the glory in the Guinness Galway Hurdle recently. This hugely impressive 6 year old has finished in the top 3 in his last 13 runs, with the last 10 runs having 16 runners or more. He has been consistent all year and has improved enormously on the flat. Expect Quick Jack to be in the mix for each way and even for the win given form.