Alan Alger: Best bets for day one of the York Ebor Festival
Our man at the course talks you through his picks for all of Wednesday's races, including an enormous each-way shot in the last.
Day one of the York Ebor meeting features two Betway sponsored races, and I’m especially looking forward to handing over the prize for the Betway Great Voltigeur live on ITV just after 3pm.
Here are my best bets for a tricky-looking day one card on the Knavesmire...
1.55 – Sprint Handicap
With an average winning SP in this race of 12/1 over the last eight seasons, and no winning favourite among them, the winner here might be hard to find.
Tax Free won this race for the late Dandy Nicholls as a 10-year-old in 2012, but in all other years it paid to focus on horses aged six or younger.
Three-year-olds also have a poor record, so we can eliminate Afandem and leave ourselves with a shortlist.
The last two winners came from stall five though, interestingly, the previous two came from stall 15. But lower numbers just edge the placings in recent years, so we should look there.
THESME is lightly-raced this season, is five years of age, from a low draw, goes well at York and has Frankie Dettori in the saddle.
Lots of other tipsters have noticed she’s overpriced for this and, while it’s usually best to go against the crowd, Nigel Tinkler’s mare is a confident each-way selection.
2.25 – Tattersalls Acomb Stakes (Group 3)
A classy contest for two-year-olds, which has twice seen winners at 16/1 in the last three seasons.
Last year’s winner Syphax had won on debut in a standard Musselburgh maiden before stepping up to group company on his second start, and value could certainly lie in that type of unexposed horse.
Dee Ex Bee will be popular and is a rightful favourite, but there’s not much value in backing Mark Johnston’s colt.
I’d much rather focus on LANSKY and WELLS FARHH GO each-way.
Both are well thought of in their stables and could be anything having both won on debut.
3.00 – Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes (Group 2)
A great contest that will revolve around likely odds-on favourite Cracksman .
He fits the profile of recent winners of the race but we should take heed of trainer John Gosden's opinion that “he’s a silly price and he shouldn’t be odds-on”.
Of course, he may still win the race, but if Gosden’s words are taken at face value then it may mean there’s decent each-way value in the remaining seven runners.
If all eight horses go to post then I’d want to be on KHALIDI who looks as though he could stay on past beaten horses at the end and at least claim a place.
3.35 – Juddmonte International Stakes (Group 1)
A small but select field worthy of this huge prize.
Any one of three horses could start as favourite, with two three-year-olds – Barney Roy and Churchill – at the head of the market.
But I’d want to chance another in that age group, CLIFFS OF MOHER , who will make good use of the wide York track and shouldn’t get the same trouble he got at Sandown in the Eclipse.
He needs to reverse the placings with another of the market leaders Ulysses , but there’s every possibility he will, granted luck in the running.
It will be a fascinating tactical race and one you shouldn’t miss.
4.15 – Stayers’ Handicap
Morning showers will ensure that runners in this race will need to ‘get’ every yard of this extended two-mile trip.
SUEGIOO is a very interesting outsider who is back down in trip from a seventh in a Goodwood handicap at the start of the month.
He’s also tumbling down the weights, so back him each-way at .
4.50 – Betway Nursery Handicap
A Nursery is a handicap race for two-year-old horses in their first season of racing, and this one is absolutely wide open with a case to be made for at least 80 per cent of the field.
There have been some huge-priced winners of this down the years, including two at 33/1, one 20/1, and three 12/1s in the last decade.
The draw stats prove inconclusive, but it could be said that anywhere in the middle is a disadvantage.
Local trainer Richard Fahey has won three of the last five renewals, while recent winners of the race have usually had around three previous runs in their career (four of the last eight winners actually won this on their fourth start).
I want to chance BRANDY STATION at a mammoth price each-way of .
Running out of a more popular stable, he’d be at least half the price he is today.