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2019 Ebor Handicap ante-post tips – Three contenders to back in Europe’s richest handicap

Baghdad (left), seen here winning at Royal Ascot, is one of Jon's ante-post selections in the Ebor.

We’ve taken a look through the ante-post betting for Europe’s richest handicap and highlighted three contenders for punters to watch out for at York.

The fourth and final day of York’s Ebor Festival is headlined by the namesake race of the meeting, the historic Ebor Handicap. 

First staged at York way back in 1843 and some of the sport’s finest stayers have claimed victory in this valuable contest.  Greats like Brown Jack and Lilly Agnes stand out on the roll of honour, while famous names from the National Hunt arena – most notably two-time Champion Hurdler, Sea Pigeon - have also claimed victory in the Ebor.

This year, the Ebor has taken on extra prescience after sponsors boosted the prize pot up to a staggering £1m, making it the most-lucrative handicap on European soil. York have also commissioned the building of extended stalls, allowing 22 horses the chance to battle it out for the incredible £600k first prize.

Our expert has taken a look through the vast ante-post betting for this year's Ebor Handicap and highlighted three runners he feels are worthy of a sizeable ante-post punt.

2019 Ebor Handicap Ante-Post Tips

Mark Johnston hasn’t tasted Ebor success since Quick Ransom triumphed at York in 1992. After breaking the record for the number of winners in a single month, Johnston will send a large, in-form battalion of handicappers to try and end his wait for a second Ebor. While King’s Advice boasts obvious chances, I think Johnston’s best shot at pocketing the bountiful first price could lie with BAGHDAD.

Johnston’s charge boasts an impeccable record in handicaps. All three of his most recent victories have come in Class Two handicaps, including back-to-back Royal Ascot triumphs in the King George V and the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes. Since the second of those Royal winners, Baghdad has tried his hand in higher quality company, losing out by just four lengths in the Tattersalls Stakes before a solid third in the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood.

Four-year-old’s may not have the best recent record in the Ebor, but in the last decade there has been one four-year-old winner and four runner-up’s of the same age, so you cannot count any younger horse out on account of his age. Baghdad is an accomplished handicapper, with winning course experience, and drops down in class after a couple of solid runs in Grouped company. He looks perfectly suited to a race like the Ebor.

Hannon caused a stir by entering Raymond Tusk into the 2018 Coral-Eclipse, on the back of just two career runs. Although he couldn’t make an impact in that Group One, Raymond Tusk proved himself worthy of such a lofty entry by claiming victory in the Listed Glasgow Stakes and finishing a close second in the Geoffrey Freer. Hannon’s charge then rounded off his three-year-old campaign by staying on nicely for sixth in the St Leger, before a comfortable Group Two triumph out in Italy.

Raymond Tusk kicked off 2019 with a good second behind Ascot and Goodwood Cup runner-up Dee Ex Bee, before an impressive third behind Crystal Ocean in the Al Rayyan Stakes, where he was giving the two horses ahead of him two pounds at the weights. Hannon’s charge hasn’t been seen since finishing seventh in the Ascot Gold Cup, but he has run well on the back of a break before and he will be much more comfortable over this trip. 

Andrew Balding then stepped his six-year-old up into Listed company in the Coral Marathon, where Cleonte ran nicely to place third behind Falcon Eight and Mekong. When Oisin Murphy realised he didn’t have enough pace to reel in the top two, he went very lightly on Cleonte in the final furlong, allowing his mount to cruise over the line just four lengths behind the winners. 

Balding’s six-year-old has some excellent handicap form to bolster his chances, winning the Shergar Cup Stayers by a streak last year before staying on for third in the Cesarewitch. As things stand, Cleonte will need seven horses to come out ahead of him to make the cut in this year’s Ebor. A wide draw would be a big boost to his chances too, but if Cleonte can sneak into this handicap at the bottom of the weights, he has the quality and experience to give the market leaders something to think about.

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2019 Ebor Handicap ante-post tips – Three contenders to back in Europe’s richest handicap

We’ve taken a look through the ante-post betting for Europe’s richest handicap and highlighted three contenders for punters to watch out for at York on Saturday 24th August

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