Wednesday 18th August 2021
Ebor Festival Day 1
Author: Jordan Yates
“Welcome to my Day 1 Preview for the 2021 renewal of York’s Ebor Festival. It’s one of my favourite meetings of the year and it takes place at my favourite racecourse, a festival that’s filled with top-class action from start to finish with Group 1’s littered throughout the fixture. As ever, I’ll be sharing my opinions on the majority of the races throughout the week and informing you who I’ll be having a punt on. You really don’t need to have a bet though to enjoy this meeting, it’s a cracker!
Sticking with the topic of punting though, we arrive here in great form with all of the last four punts that were put up on the Facebook Story and Blog itself winning. Create Belief (11/8), Earlswood (9/4), Hukum (10/11) & Sacred (6/1) all doing the business. This meeting can be a cruel mistress to say the least so arriving in-from is always a positive.
Enjoy the week!”
It all kicks off on the Knavesmire at 1:50 with a ferociously competitive handicap over five and a half furlongs. You’ll get some enhanced placed terms here (Sky are doing 7) so I’ve had a couple of darts. The first comes in the form of Twilight Calls for Henry Candy and David Probert, he’s a three-year-old by the smart sprinter Twilight Son and is a lot less exposed than most here. Last seen when finishing fourth at Goodwood last month, he’s won two of his four starts this term and there could well be a lot more to come from him. My second arrow comes in the form of Mark Johnston’s Desert Safari who’s set to be ridden by James Doyle. He’s currently trading at around the 10/1 mark and arrives here off the back of a close-up effort behind Tis Marvellous at Ascot, when going down by just a shoulder in second. He’s won off just a pound lower than his current mark already this term when winning at Goodwood in May, so there’s every chance he could play a meaningful role here.
The first group race of the meeting comes at 2:25 where the Group 3 Acomb Stakes takes centre stage over a distance of seven furlongs. We could well see some classic horses for next term here and I think Hugo Palmer could have the answer to what looks a compelling affair here with Dubawi Legend who’s the mount of James Doyle. He’s a two-year-old colt by Dubawi who was mightily impressive on his debut at Doncaster when quickening away in style to win by five lengths. It remains to be seen quite how strong the form of that particular affair is but the way he put distance between himself and his rivals was taking. Noble Truth and Ehraz pose an obvious threat, and could well prove to be of the top bracket themselves.
The Great Voltigeur Stakes is up next at 3:00, a Group 2 affair over a mile and four furlongs that many see as a stepping stone to the St Leger. Kemari currently heads affairs for Charlie Appleby and William Buick on the back of his Royal Ascot success in the Queens Vase, and is probably the worthy favourite. He’s followed in the betting by High Definition for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore, who was third here in the Dante back in May before disappointing in the Irish Derby when finishing down the field. This is a tough puzzle to solve, as pretty much the whole field here have plausible claims for this. I’ll have a very small sized punt on Sir Lucan here, the seemingly second string for O’Brien. He’s set to be ridden here by Frankie Dettori and was last seen when finishing a fast finishing second at Goodwood in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes, where he was arguably unlucky not to win. The yard weren’t firing on all cylinders at Goodwood either, so for him to run that well was notable. I’ll probably have a small punt on Third Realm as well, the conqueror of Derby and King George winner Adayar was just behind Sir Lucan in that Goodwood race, and I’m still of the impression that we haven’t seen the best of him yet.
The feature contest of the day, and possibly the week, is the Juddmonte International that takes place at 3:35. A Group 1 event that’s ridden over a mile and two and a half furlongs which has an illustrious back catalogue of winners to say the least. I think this year’s renewal of the prestigious affair is all about the John & Thady Gosden trained Mishriff who’s the mount of David Egan. The globetrotting superstar has won over 10 million in prize money, claiming the Saudi Cup and Sheema Classic in the Winter before finishing just shy of two lengths behind Adayar in the King George. It’s very likely he’ll be primed for a crack at this and if anywhere near his best he’s got to be seen as being very tough to beat. As the betting suggests his main rivals look to come in the form of the fillies in Love and Alcohol Free, who are both top performers on their day that have the capability of playing a part. If you’re looking for one at a bigger price the each-way bet in the race for me would be Mohaafeth for William Haggas, who’s currently trading at around 13/2. He was an impressive winner of the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot before finishing third here within Group 2 company the last day. Jim Crowley arguably gave him a bit too much to do the day and under a better judged ride I think there could still be more to come from him.
It’s back into Handicap company for the remaining races on the card, with the 4:10 coming up next which is a Class 2 Handicap over two miles and half a furlong. I’ve had a couple of arrows again here with the first coming in the form of Irish raider Arcadian Sunrise for John Queally. He was last seen when winning over hurdles at the Galway Festival when collecting a nice pot, and arrives here on a lenient looking mark on the level. Jamie Spencer is an eye-catching jockey booking and this seven-year-old is likely to be here not just to make up the numbers. The other one I quite like here is Bodyline for Sir Mark Prescott and Luke Morris. He’s still pretty lightly raced and this assignment will be just his second outing of the season, having finished a half-length second to Wise Eagle on his reappearance. He’s been nudged up a further three pounds for that effort, however, it’s likely he’s still got a bit of improving to do and could showcase that here.
The penultimate race of the day is the 4:45 which is a Fillies’ Handicap over five furlongs. Another extremely competitive affair of which I’ve taken a tentative alliance with the Nigel Tinkler trained Princess Power who’s set to be ridden by Tyler Heard. She hasn’t won for a while now, which obviously isn’t ideal, however, she’ll take her place here running off a mark six pounds lower than her last winning one which came at Doncaster back in June of 2019. She’s also got some decent form at the track too, having finished fourth of nineteen in a big field handicap at the Ebor Meeting a couple of years ago, that was off 87. Which gives her every chance of being involved off 76 today.
Concluding the first day of the 2021 Ebor Festival is the 5.20 which is a Nursery over six furlongs. I like the chances of Bosh here for Richard Hannon and Pat Dobbs. He won over course and distance here earlier in the season when getting the better of Gis A Sub, who’s boosted the form since, and followed that up with a success at Newbury when beating American Star, who’s also won since. The last time he was seen on track was at Naas earlier this month when just being denied in the Ballyhane Stakes by half a length in second, and on his current form this season he’s the one to beat for me here.