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York Ebor Festival Preview - Day 1

The four-day Ebor Meeting at York kicks off on Wednesday and it does so in great style and with plenty fanfare as the unbeaten Baaeed goes for glory in the Juddmonte International Stakes. The feature Group 1 contest goes off at 3.35pm and is one of seven races on day one at York from 1.50pm-5.20pm. The Racing Post previews all the Knavesmire action on Wednesday.


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1.50pm - Sky Bet And Symphony Group Handicap (Heritage Handicap, 5½f)

A pulsating start to the meeting with this sprint handicap attracting 22 runners - the same as last year when Copper Knight won for Tim Easterby. The reigning champ is rated 9lb higher now and despite a Chester win in June, has twice been well beaten off over this C&D this season and looks up against it.

The Michael Dods-trained Dakota Gold won this in 2019 and is bidding for a fabulous seventh York win in his career. The eight-year-old has been second in his previous two starts at Newcastle and Ripon and has to be considered on form.

Julie Camacho's Maknah was edged out by Dakota Gold here in May and holds his form well, with last month's Stewards' Cup run easily forgiven.

Bond Chairman, Good Eye and Live In The Dream are all possible contenders but, at a big price, GIS A SUB could have a say for Kevin Ryan. He's been held in three runs this season but two of those were in Group-race company and, having now been gelded, a mark of 99 isn't out of the question on handicap bow. Sporting first-time cheekpieces off a short layoff at a track where his trainer excels, he could go close.

Selection: Gis A Sub

Next Best: Maknah

 

2.25pm - Tattersalls Acomb Stakes (Group 3, 7f)

Considering he was quite green in the early stages of the race, LOCAL DYNASTY did well to win with as much authority as he did in a Newmarket newcomers contest 12 days ago and it's probably worth taking the hint that Charlie Appleby now pitches Godolphin's Dubawi colt straight in here.

There's every chance he is going to be quite a smart performer and victory in the Acomb can be his next step up the ladder.

Once-raced winners Shaquille, Oviedo and Hectic are all open to further progress, clearly, and could get involved but the principle danger might well be Andrew Balding's Chaldean.

The Frankel colt cost 550,000 gns as a foal and improved from his Newbury debut fifth to win there over 7f last month, seeing off next-time-out winners in second, third and fourth as he did. With Ryan Moore booked this time, the Juddmonte-owned colt looks a sure-fire improver.

Selection: Local Dynasty

Next Best: Chaldean

 

3.00pm - Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes (Group 2, 1m4f)

Charlie Appleby is bidding to win this race for a third time since 2018 and is double-handed with Secret State and Walk Of Stars. The former has won his last four starts (4-5 all told) and had plenty to spare in a Glorious Goodwood handicap last time off 100. He had subsequent Gordon Stakes runner-up Deauville Legend behind in second at Royal Ascot previous to that, giving him 4lb, and is worthy of the favourites' tag upped in class.

Stablemate Walk Of Stars flopped in the Epsom Derby but was only just behind Deauville Legend since in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket (1m5f) and can run well, as should James Ferguson's Group 3 winner, but AIKHAL might be the one for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore.

The Ballydoyle supremo hasn't won this race since 2016 but this Galileo colt really stormed clear to win a Group 3 at the Curragh (1m2f, good) on Irish Derby weekend. That was his first run beyond a mile and the form is credible. There may be plenty more in the tank with him.

Selection: Aikhal

Next Best: Secret State

 

3.35pm - Juddmonte International Stakes (Group 1, 1m2f)

The BAAEED show roles along to York. William Haggas' son of Sea The Stars has done all that anyone could ask of him this summer, following an easy Lockinge win at Newbury with Queen Anne glory at Royal Ascot and last month's Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, both at odds of 1/6.

He's won all nine starts and while perhaps not quite 'explosive' in those two latest Group 1 wins, the results were never in doubt. The stick Baaeed is currently being beaten with is that too many people wish to compare him with Frankel. He isn't on that level and may never be, but he's one very talented racehorse in his own standing and can notch a sixth Group 1 win on the trot here. Not many stand comparison to Baaeed.

Reigning champion Mishriff was very good in this race a year ago and went close in last month's Eclipse at Sandown before a laboured third in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot since. He may attempt to test the stamina of Baaeed now under James Doyle.

Native Trail, the Irish Guineas winner, was close behind him at Sandown and may have more to come at this distance (second start). He's the sole three-year-old in this line-up and the Classic generation makes up four of the last eight winners.

Alenquer was six-lengths second to Mishriff a year ago and beat today's rival High Definition in a Curragh Group 1 in May before finishing last of six in the Eclipse. He could pick up some pieces but it would be a stunner if he's ahead of stablemate Baaeed.

Selection: Baaeed

Next Best: Native Trail

York Ebor Festival Preview - Day 2

York Ebor Festival Preview - Day 2

4.10pm - Sky Bet Stayers Handicap (Heritage Handicap, 2m)

Mark & Charlie Johnston have a trio of contenders here and Soapy Stevens might be their leading player ahead of recent Shergar Cup scorer Themaxwecan and top-weight Thunderous.

Soapy Stevens is a 4YO Harzand gelding and he did well to be fourth at Glorious Goodwood last time given he raced freely. He won his only start at this distance at Chester in May and Franny Norton's partner is a danger to all back up in trip, especially if he settles early on. His old rival Zoffee is capable of a big run dropped in distance.

Emma Lavelle's Master Milliner bids for a hat-trick after scores at Kempton and Goodwood recently and is likely to be in the mix off this 5lb higher mark.

Veterans Red Verdon, Morando and Withhold are well taxed taking on these fresh rivals and maybe Hollie Doyle can land this on PRAIANO for Roger Varian. The Dubawi gelding only has one win in a dozen starts but is often there or thereabouts and given he lacks a gear-change, this extended trip is well worth exploring.

Selection: Praiano

Next Best: Soapy Stevens

 

4.45pm - Celebrate ITM's 200th Ire Voucher Winner Fillies' Handicap (5f)

The William Haggas and Tom Marquand axis has a strong chance here with Pink Crystal. She's a progressive filly and there was lots to like in the way she went about her business at Brighton 12 days ago. She's 2-2 on turf and yet to finish out of the first three in seven career starts. She's only 3lb higher for this, but she's going from Class 4 into a deep Class 2 event and it's going to ask a tough question.

The David Evans-trained Cuban Breeze already has five wins this calendar year and the busy sort should give another good account, while Ed Bethell's hat-trick seeking Sandbeck is a filly in form and worth considering despite this class-rise.

International Girl is up 7lb for her win at this venue last month, Richard Fahey's charge is another to consider, but SOUND OF IONA might be the each-way shout for Jim Goldie. The mare is in the form of her life, with three wins last month at 5f/5½f and she has run well both starts since in defeat. Amie Waugh takes 5lb off here and they could arrive on the scene with a late thrust.

Selection: Sound Of Iona

Next Best: Pink Crystal

 

5.20pm - Sky Bet Nursery (6f)

It's a surprise to find CATHY CAME HOME at double-figure odds here for Karl Burke. The daughter of Expert Eye won at Musselburgh on debut in May over 5f and built on that when eighth in the Albany at Royal Ascot the following month upped to this distance. That was a good renewal of the Fillies' Group 3 and further progress should be forthcoming now sent into a nursery for the first time. An opening mark of 92 is anything but lenient, but Danny Tudhope's mount could be up to it.

The unbeaten Streets of Gold goes for in-form trainer Eve Johnson-Houghton and is considered a player alongside Pontefract-winner Braveheart Boy for Tim Easterby, while the form of Ramazan's success at Haydock last month has been advertised and so Richard Fahey's Kodiac colt must also be on the shortlist.

Mrs U S A opened her account at the third time of asking when landing a Sandown maiden over 5f last month and George Boughey's charge had three next-time-out winners amongst her beaten rivals. This longer trip should be a plus and a mark of 81 is certainly tempting.

Selection: Cathy Came Home

Next Best: Mrs U S A

 

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