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2019 Ebor Festival tips - Three horses to watch in the Group Twos at York

Raffle Prize and Daahyeh look set to clash again after their showdown at the July Meeting.

Our expert takes a look through the entries in the three Group Twos during the Ebor Festival and outlined three horses to watch at York next week.

The Group Two contests during York’s Ebor Festival may play second fiddle to races like the Juddmonte International and the Nunthorpe. They are, however, certainly worth watching extremely closely, as you might unearth a clue or two for three upcoming Classics.

Winners and placers in the Great Voltigeur Stakes often go on to feature in the St Leger, which takes place at Doncaster during September. Both the Lowther and Gimcrack Stakes may be over six furlongs, but many of the victorious two-year-olds go on to take their place in either the 1000 or 2000 Guineas the following spring.

No betting markets are available for this trio of prestigious races just yet. We do have a long list of entrants to sift through though, so our expert has cast his eye through the list of possible runners to highlight one name punters should follow in each of York’s Group Twos.

2019 Ebor Festival Group Two Tips

21/8/19 3:00pm York Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) 1m4f

Sitting happily behind Japan in the ante-post betting for this year’s St Leger is Logician, who will put his unbeaten record on the line if he takes part in this year’s Great Voltigeur. Dashing Willoughby will drop back into his own age group to oppose Logician at York, having acquitted himself well against his elders in the Tattersalls Stakes and Goodwood Cup.

Six of the top eight horses in the current St Leger betting are trained by Aidan O’Brien and the master of Ballydoyle often sends one of his brightest Classic hopes to contest the Great Voltigeur Stakes. Constantinople and Sir Dragonet feature in the entries at York, but both seem a little immature and have some growing up to do. BROOME, on the other hand, looks close to being the finished article and he’s the one to watch in this year’s Great Voltigeur.

Broome and jockey, Donnacha O’Brien had an absolute mare in the Irish Derby. O’Brien’s mount took a false-step coming out of the stalls and had to bide his time out the back. As it turned out, Donnacha bided for a little too long, allowing Sovereign to open an unassailable lead, leaving Broome to trail over the line a distant sixth.

Before that debacle, Broome had been progressing like a possible St Leger winner. A couple of smart victories over an inadequate ten-furlong trip were followed by a narrow defeat in the Derby, where O’Brien’s colt did his best work in the final couple of furlongs. Broome has been given time to recover after that shocking performance at the Curragh and he could claim victory at York before moving on to the St Leger.

22/8/19 1:55pm Sky Bet Lowther Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies) 6f

While both of these impressive stakes winners are worth watching again, Ken Condon looks set to send CELTIC BEAUTY over to Britain again, following a smart triumph on Irish soil and she could give the market leaders something to think about.

Following a length-defeat to Aidan O'Brien's impressive filly Etoile, Celtic Beauty sprang from the woodwork to follow Daahyeh home in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot. Condon's filly then carried a much shorter price into the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at the July Festival, but Billy Lee's mount couldn't make any inroads from off the pace and trailed over the line last.

Celtic Beauty then made light-work of the task she faced in a maiden last time out, claiming an overdue victory without really coming out of second gear. I think the track here at York will suit this promising youngster and Condon wouldn't bring her back to Britain if he didn't think she was capable of winning.

Celtic Beauty (right) following the impressive Daahyeh (left) home at Royal Ascot.

23/8/19 3:00pm Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) 6f

Armory is the only Gimcrack entrant sitting prominently in the betting for next year’s 2000 Guineas, and I’d be surprise to see Aidan O’Brien drop his colt back to six furlongs, having won nicely over seven on his two most recent starts. This does, however, present one two-year-old the chance to throw their hat into the Classic ring and there are several talented entrants who have the ability to do just that.

Golden Horde and Threat could renew rivalries again, after Clive Cox’s charge edged out Threat in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood. Pierre Lapin won as easily as you’d like on his career debut and he’d be an intriguing entry. However, the one I’ll be keen to see strut their stuff in the Gimcrack is SPARTAN FIGHTER.

Declan Carroll’s colt looked quite green on his stable debut and a troublesome passage meant Spartan Fighter could finish no better than fourth. A clash with a promising sort of Simon Crisford’s by the name of A'Ali followed at Ripon, where Danny Tudhope’s mount proved he had progressed well between his first and second runs to claim a narrow victory.

A’Ali has gone on to boost that maiden significantly by claiming two Grouped prizes at Ascot and Deauville. Carroll felt Ascot would come a little soon for his colt, instead sending him here to York for a winner’s race, which Spartan Fighter won without breaking too much of a sweat.

Ground conditions should be perfect for a horse who would be suited by juicy turf and Spartan Fighter has some valuable course form in the bag. This will be a steep step up in grade to what he’s faced so far, but I’m hopeful Spartan Fighter will take everything in his stride and prove his quality during the Ebor Festival. 

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2019 Ebor Festival tips - Three horses to watch in the Group Twos at York

Our expert takes a look through the entries in the three Group Twos during the Ebor Festival and outlined three horses to watch at York next week from Wednesday 21st August

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