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York Ebor Festival day four: Astro can be Ebor star

21 Aug | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
York Ebor Festival day four: Astro can be Ebor star

Course and distance winner get his conditions and has everything in his favour

The best of Channel 4’s racing on Saturday comes from the final day of York’s Ebor Festival and hopefully they get some rain at the course to freshen up the ground.

It’s been very tacky by all accounts and is likely responsible for some of the shock results we’ve had this week.

The feature on Saturday has to be the Ebor handicap and it looks as though the Irish have an extremely strong hand.

Fields Of Athenry is difficult to weigh up but 3yos do get a very generous weight allowance in this race and if he handles the ground he could go well.

Willie Mullins pair Wicklow Brave and in particular Clondaw Warrior should also go well with much in their favour.

However, Clondaw Warrior is 4lbs worse off with Fun Mac for a 1/4 length win at Ascot and on this softer ground Fun Mac has a fair chance of reversing that form.

It’s seemed a big advantage to race prominently this week, though, and if that’s the case on Saturday again it’s going to be extremely hard to keep Astronereus out of the frame.

He was unlucky not to win last time out at Goodwood and gets to run off the same mark here. He’s handled very soft ground in the past and is thought better on a softer surface which makes his exploits on faster ground this season all the more impressive.

York also holds no fears for him having won here two starts ago. His record on ground that is good or worse reads 212412 and his record at this distance reads 12 and he could easily be unbeaten since stepping up to 14f. As long as he can get a good position from his wide draw – high numbers have a good record in this race – then Astronereus is the each way call.

Wonder can live up to hype in Melrose

The Melrose handicap earlier on in the day is effectively the Ebor for 3yos and Luca Cumani normally has a well fancied runner in this.

He has two this year, Al and King Bolete, and although the former seems better fancied in the betting, he comes here after a winning a class 5 handicap and still has plenty to prove.

King Bolete on the other hand, has been running in top handicaps all season, usually shaping as though softer ground and a longer trip would suit. He might just have been overlooked a bit in the betting and rates a fair each way play.

The one with perhaps most potential though is handicap debutant Wonder Laish for the in form William Haggas yard.

Haggas won this race in 2012 and looks to have a great chance of doing so again with a horse who has been well entered up recently but keeps missing out due to fast ground.

On his debut when an eyecatcher over just a mile he was only 4 lengths behind a subsequent Group 3 winner.

He was only narrowly beaten up at 10f on his next start and then showed his true potential on his third start, up at 12f, when winning by 15 lengths.

He didn’t beat much but showed he has a real engine and he’s expected to make up into a pattern class performer before long so has to rate the best bet in this contest.

Easier ground set to suit improving Basem in Strensall Stakes

The Strensall Stakes is an interesting contest since it is run over the rarely used distance of 9f.

Mondialiste is the highest rated in the field but looks flattered by an easy win at Pontefract and doesn’t hold a great chance in this on most of his previous form.

Meanwhile, the reaction to Mahsoob‘s poor effort in the Princess Of Wales Stakes last time out is to drop the horse 3f in trip on softer ground.

It’s possible neither will suit and he too looks worth taking on.

Convey is interesting for Sir Michael Stoute but he looked quite green still at Goodwood last time out and he won’t be able to afford to get behind again.

That leaves Basem as the really solid choice here.

He won two strong Sandown handicaps earlier in the season despite not wanting the ground as firm as it was and then he was a bit unlucky in running in the Golden Mile at Goodwood when 4th on ground that once again would have been firm enough.

He is a full brother to Farhh so this easier ground and longer trip should suit and having been an unlucky loser in a good handicap off 104 he doesn’t have much improvement to make here and he can win at a decent price.

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