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Day Three of he Ebor Festival should have been all about Acapulco, but it ended up being all about Mecca’s Angel. What happened in the Nunthorpe? Well, Acapulco tried to gallop the field into submission, it looked like she was about to pull away, but then the sticky ground got to her and Mecca’s Angel won by two lengths pulling away. It was a brilliant renewal of the Nunthorpe, after a fantastic Lonsdale Cup. Did the right horse win the Nunthorpe? The heart says no, but the head says yes. The fact is, if Acapulco had faster ground, she would have won by a distance, but the groud turned against her and she lost nothing in defeat, losing to a quality sprinter. Apart from that, the Lonsdale Cup was a great race, and the 1:55 race finished in a dead heat, which is always a bit of fun to watch.
But now all eyes turn to the final day of the Ebor Festival and the big race of the meeting, the Ebor Handicap.
2:00 Strensall Stakes
Right now we have 11 runners going to post for the Strensall Stakes. The 1m 1 furlong Group 3 race is a great way to start the final day of the Ebor Ferstival. There are no obvious trends to spot in this race, so it’s going to come down to pure form here, and there are some decent horses lining up for this competitive renewal of the Strensall.
Basem looks the solid choice on paper. Saeed bin Suroor’s horses are going well at the moment, and Basem has been lightly raced this year in comparison to a lot of the field here. It’s also good to see James Doyle on-board, as he’s impressed so far during the week. We know Basem goes well on good-to-soft ground, so the ground at York will not be a problem, as long as we don’t get a monsoon overnight. It’s a very competitive field, and the bookies are struggling to split them, but I think we’ve got one that might just be going under the radar in terms of price.
2:35 Melrose Stakes
A nice Class 2 three-year-old handicap over 1 mile 6 furlongs for us to get our teeth into. Preference in these races is usually to go for an unexposed, progressive type, and there are a few that catch the eye in this field.
Hernandoshideaway has had four starts, and has been in the top two in all his races, winning two of them. Yes, he’s on a high mark, but he really fits the profile that we’re looking for. Outspoken is the other obvious choice, but at the weights, Hernandoshideaway looks the better selection. But it’s a very trappy race, so tread carefully and look for any signs that there’s a gamble on, as it’s these kinds of races that see the money going on some lively outsider.
3:10 Gimcrack Stakes
It’s all about the two year-olds again, and we might just get some pointers for some lively Guineas contenders in this race over 6 furlongs. Right now, it’s a field of nine that go to post, and nearly all of them have a case to be made for selection.
Finnegan looks exciting, but after Acapulco seemed to fade in the ground, we’re going to just avoid Wesley Ward’s other charge in preference for another lightly raced sort, Raucous, who, at the time of writing, is about three-times the price of the favourite, Finnegan. William Haggas has been going well, and there is a nice line of form through Orva and Tasleet. He’s won his two starts, and although he has a bit to find with Burantino, he’s lightly raced, which we like in a two year-old, in comparison to the Goldolphin charge. Back Raucous each-way as these races can be weird, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we found ourselves one to follow next season.
3:45 Ebor Handicap
Not just the feature race of the day, but the feature race of the entire festival, the Ebor, is upon us. Needless to say, this 1 mile 6 furlong 20-runner handicap is an absolute nightmare to solve, with nearly every horse taking part in the race having been trained specifically for it.
Nearly Caught is the selection here. The form from the Northumberland Plate is starting to look like it’s very solid, with Max Dynamite winning the Lonsdale, and Nearly Caught was a neck behind on that day. We know the ground won’t be a problem, and he’s weighted well on the form of the Northumberland Plate. He ran a big race in last year’s Ebor to finish 8th, he’s come on a long way since that run, and he only has to carry 1lb more for that improvement on last year’s Ebor. As you would expect, back Nearly Caught each-way, as it’s going to be 4 places paid and anything could happen in such a big field, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution in the big handicap races. But Nearly Caught is a huge price given how the form is working out, so we’re confident of this selection to put the icing on a good meeting.
4:20 Julia Graves Roses Stakes
9 declared for this 5 furlong dash up the Knavesmire, and it’s good field of two-year-olds that will give us plenty to keep an eye on for next season. But this race is about one horse, and that is Ornate. It’s another William Haggas hot shot, and is priced accordingly at just over the Evens mark right now. But we have to oppose Ornate, purely because he’s far too short for us, so we’re going to take him on with Rouleau, another Goldolphin runner, this time trained by Charlie Appleby with the very talented William Buick on-board. He ran well last time out in the Group 3 Molecomb at Goodwood, and if he can run to that level, he might just have too much for the rest of this field.
Of course, Ornate could bolt in and put himself in Guineas contention, but at the price, we’ll be more than happy to take him on.
4:55 Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Stakes
Yet another big handicap to work out, this time over 1 mile 2 furlongs and it’s another ridiculously wide-open race. Again, we’re going to try and find an unexposed sort that we think is going to be an improver, as is the way in these end of season handicaps. Jakey is the choice for us here. He’s lightly raced, and there’s a line of form with current favourite Roseburg through Elkaayed that had Jakey not needing to find much to turn that tables. He’s price far more generously than Roseburg, so Jakey each-way is our selection in this penultimate race.
5:25 Betfred Apprentice Stakes
If there is a worse way to try and get some money back at the end of a festival, it’s an apprentice handicap. However, it’s not one of the biggest fields of the week, and there is a class act in the field in the shape of Moonraker. Sure, he’s at the top of the handicap by a long way, but for good reason, given that he’s been racing mostly in Group Company this season, and won a Class 2 at Ascot last time out. He finished second in the Roses Stakes at last year’s Ebor Festival, so he goes well on the course, he’s won over the distance at Ascot on his first ever outing, and it was a sticky good-to-soft ground, so he’ll handle that. This will be a good way to finish the week for us.
So, there you are, the final day’s tips for the Ebor Festival. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the write-ups and some insight. If you have, let us know and we’ll do our best to feature more of these during the year, at least for the big meetings, if not a bit more often. Until the next time, remember to come back and check out or daily free sports betting tips, as we cover all the big sporting events, not just the horse racing.