The York Ebor Festival enters its’ final day on Saturday, and a seven-race card on the Knavesmire includes not only the eponymously-titled competitive Ebor Handicap, but also the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes.
2016 YORK EBOR FESTIVAL – DAY FOUR SELECTIONS
1:45 - Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Stakes (Handicap) Cl2 1m2f88y
) started off the season with an impressive defeat of Air Of Astana on the all-weather at Chelmsford, and Ed Dunlop’s charge bettered that performance when following up at Epsom in April when beating Pacify despite being 3lbs out of the handicap.
There was better to come from the Dark Angel gelding as he registered the hat-trick of wins when successful at Chester in May, and he shaped as if amiss when finishing a well-beaten fourth behind Imshivalla back at Epsom last time.
Given a break on the back of that outing, he may prefer less quick ground than he’s likely to get here; but he could still have better to come and can progress again under Frankie Dettori to get back on the scoresheet.
2:15 - Betfred Mobile Strensall Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 1m208y CH4
David O’Meara has won this race in each of the past two seasons with CUSTOM CUT
) and Mondialiste, and the former returns for another crack at the race which can see him resume winning ways.
The Notnowcato gelding won twice last term in Group Two company, winning the Bet365 Mile at Sandown and the Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown; and he had performed with plenty of credit inbetween those successes.
He hasn’t won since that Leopardstown success, but he’s posted more creditable efforts including behind Mutakayyef at Ascot in July. Last seen finishing fourth behind Tribal Beat at Leopardstown, he should give another good account back in this grade and can go close for his in-form yard.
Custom Cut can resume winning ways in the Strensall Stakes.
2:50 - Betfred Melrose Stakes (Handicap) Cl2 1m6f CH4
) had looked a progressive sort when winning on her third outing at Newcastle, beating Wave Reviews by a wide margin; but he disappointed on soft ground at Ascot on his next start at Ascot when beating only one rival home behind Primitivo in the King George V Stakes.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Sea The Stars colt bounced back from that lesser effort when faced with a quicker surface to push Dal Harraild close at Goodwood, failing by just a short-head; and there could be better to come from her upped in trip.
She gave the impression at the Sussex track that she would be suited by further, and having had a couple of these behind in that race she can improve again to resume winning ways.
3:25 - Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) Cl1 6f CH4
Blue Point rates the one to beat on the back of his excellent wide-margin success at Doncaster two runs ago, and his subsequent runner-up effort at Goodwood where he wasn’t seen to best effect.
The Godolphin runner is sure to go well, but his price is skinny and he may be worth taking on with the progressive MUBTASIM
(9/2, Paddy Power
) who is unbeaten in two starts in minor company and takes a considerable step up in class following an easy success at Haydock last time.
William Haggas has won this race three times in the last ten years, including twelve months ago with Ajaya, and the Arcano colt is clearly well-regarded given he also holds an entry in the Mill Reef Stakes later in the season.
He’s open to plenty of improvement, and he looked a potentially high-class performer last time when trouncing Town Charter easily by four lengths, winning easily; he could have significant progress to come, and can go close in this contest.
4:00 - Betfred Ebor (Heritage Handicap) Cl2 1m6f CH4
VENT DE FORCE
) looked a stayer going places two seasons ago, winning three times from seven starts which included once over course and distance when beating Adventure Seeker in the Melrose Stakes.
Hughie Morrison’s charge went close next time at Longchamp behind Auvray, beaten just a half-length in the Prix Chaudenay; but he disappointed behind Tac De Boistron on his final start.
Lightly raced since, he made his return to action at Ascot last April with a narrow defeat behind Mizzou in the Sagaro Stakes, and he followed up with an excellent win over Trip To Paris in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown the following month.
He possibly failed to stay next time, and given a break afterwards he wasn’t seen at his best in two subsequent outings behind Max Dynamite in the Londsale Cup here, and Order Of St George in the Irish St Leger.
Possibly in need of the return after being gelding in the interim, when contesting the Coral Marathon at Sandown last month, he finished seventh to Sandro Botticelli; Hughie Morrison’s string are in much better form than they were earlier in the season, and the Hurricane Run gelding could build on that outing.
Already a proven Group performer, he drops back into a handicap and could still have room to manoeuvre off this mark. He’s unbeaten in handicaps, and while this is a hot one to contest, he should give a good account.
Vent De Force can win Saturday's Ebor Handicap at a big price.
4:35 - Julia Graves Roses Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 5f
) hasn’t been seen since beating Dream Of Dreams by a head at Newmarket back in April, but Mark Johnston’s charge can make a winning return to action.
The Invincible Spirit colt is a well-related type, hailing from an excellent sprint family and also won on debut when running out a wide-margin winner over Stringybark Creek at Wolverhampton in March prior to his success next time.
This is a step up in class, and he should appreciate the quicker ground here having perhaps just found the slightly softer ground at Newmarket against him last time. Assuming the rain keeps away, he can progress again and should make his mark in this race given the form of his win last time looks the strongest on offer with three subsequent winners coming out of the race since.
Sutter County can uphold his 100% win record by going in at York on Saturday.
5:05 - Betfred Apprentice Stakes (Handicap) Cl2 5f
EAST STREET REVUE
) has improved for the application of blinkers and encountering quicker ground, scoring back-to-back successes at Hamilton and Newmarket in June, and finding the frame in all three starts since.
Tim Easterby’s charge possibly just found the six furlongs beyond him when fourth to Summer Chorus at Newmarket seven days ago, beaten less than one length having tried to make all.
The drop back to the minimum distance may help the Pastoral Pursuits gelding get back to winning ways here from just 3lbs higher in the weights, and he can post a big run.
2016 YORK EBOR FESTIVAL – DAY FOUR SELECTIONS