2021 Ebor Handicap Ante-Post Preview – Sun Can Shine On 16/1 Sonny

Johnny Murtagh's Sonnyboyliston looks an attractive proposition in the EborJohnny Murtagh's Sonnyboyliston looks an attractive proposition in the Ebor

The Ebor is one of the most competitive, and valuable, handicaps of the entire year. A field of 22 look set to take their chance at York in just over a fortnight’s time, and in anticipation of what promises to be an enthralling renewal of the race, our ante-post expert has taken an in-depth look at the current Ebor market – identifying a selection currently available at an attractive 16/1!

Sky Bet Ebor Handicap (1m6f, Saturday August 21st, 3:35pm)

Live The Dream heads the market for this year’s Ebor, with Saeed bin Suroor’s charge recording form figures of 2311211 in his career to date. He looked a potential Group operator when scoring at Newmarket last time, yet he has been pushed up seven pounds for that run and quite what that Newmarket form amounts to is questionable (close-up sixth and seventh home both well held since).

Ilaraab found Group 2 company too strong in the Hardwicke Stakes last time, yet he had been on a six-race winning sequence prior to that – including two wins at York.

He will hold obvious claims back in handicap company at a track he clearly loves, yet a mark of 111 looks high enough.

Zoe in the shake-up?

Princess Zoe was one of the stories of 2020 – winning five of her seven starts, including the Group 1 Prix du Cadran. Tony Mullins’ mare put up a career-best on the figures when runner-up in the Ascot Gold Cup latest, and connections will be hoping for an unsettled forecast on the build-up to the Ebor.

She wouldn’t be dismissed out of hand even with a mark of 114 to burden, as regular pilot Joey Sheridan should be able to knock that mark down slightly with his claim.

Saldier a solid player

Saldier impressively took the Galway Hurdle last week, pushing his hurdles mark up to 162 in the process. That certainly makes a flat rating of 103 look workable, and the Ebor was nominated as a potential target after that Galway success.

Saldier would look a big player if running here, especially if the ground were to come up softer than the Good To Firm encountered at Ascot on his last flat run. The 14/1 available looks a little skinny now though, and therefore he is tentatively passed over.

At slightly bigger odds of 16/1 – the first selection advised is SONNYBOYLISTON.

This gelding by Power enjoyed a fine 2020 and has shown improved form so far this season, impressively landing a Listed race at Limerick on his penultimate start.

It was his run prior to that at Chester, however, which really caught the eye. Sonnyboyliston finished a fine third there behind the classy duo of Japan and Trueshan – both winners since.

Sonnyboyliston finished mid-field in the Group 3 Silver Cup Stakes over the Ebor course and distance last time out, and that looked a fine educational ride with York in mind.

He is set to run off a mark of 108 in the Ebor – the same rating held by Fujaira Prince when landing last year’s renewal.

Sonnyboyliston currently holds attractive form figures of 1311 in handicaps, and after his last handicap victory was rated 112. He gets in here running off four pounds lower despite showing stronger form in the interim, suggesting that he could still be attractively handicapped.

Trainer Johnny Murtagh very rarely makes the journey over to England for nothing, and that statement is noticeably pertinent when it comes to handicaps, with Johnny Murtagh 8-22 (36%, +31.50) with his runners in GB handicaps. When it comes to placed horses (top 4), that is boosted to an impressive 15-22 (68%) suggesting that the 16/1 currently available about Sonnyboyliston makes a good deal of each-way appeal.

Ebor Ante-Post Selection