Golden Horn, Acapulco and Balios lead the big Ebor questions

The four-day Ebor Festival at York is rapidly approaching and with a multitude of prestigious races across the card, there is plenty for punters to get their teeth into.

Here are three questions that they may want to consider before piling into any bets:

How close can Gleneagles get to Golden Horn in the Juddmonte International?

There is a growing belief that the Juddmonte International could be the best race of the 2015 Flat season, pitting the Epsom Derby and 2,000 Guineas winners in competition at a distance in between.

Golden Horn is attempting to emulate the achievements of Sea The Stars six years ago by adding both the Coral Eclipse and this 1m2f Group 1 at York to his Epsom triumph.

He is rated 8lb higher than anything else in the field and there are expectations that this slight drop in trip from Epsom may actually work in his favour.

Golden Horn is 4/6 to win the Juddmonte International, although new Ladbrokes customers can profit from an exclusive price of 5/1.

The same cannot be said of Gleneagles as he steps up 2f from his 2,000 Guineas victory, while there are additional doubts as to whether the York ground will ride as quickly as he would prefer.

Therefore Gleneagles may even struggle to finish in the first two, leaving the highly exciting Time Test to pose the biggest challenge to the odds-on favourite.

Roger Charlton’s entrant was a comfortable winner of a Group 3 contest at Royal Ascot and has done nothing wrong in staying unbeaten this season.

Can any horse give the best part of two stone to Royal Ascot winner Acapulco in the Nunthorpe Stakes?

It was fairly obvious before they even went into the starting stalls for the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot that Acapulco looked so far ahead of her fellow two-year-olds in terms of size. She almost looked a year older than her rivals.

Wesley Ward’s filly was always well in command and ended up running out a routine winner of the Group 2 showdown.

She meets both the boys and older horses in the Nunthorpe, but she is handsomely rewarded for her supposed upward task by the handicapper, getting both a weight-for-age and sex allowance. The result is that Acapulco is receiving the best part of two stone in weight from the majority of the field.

Fillies have won the last three runnings of the Nunthorpe in which they were represented and given the sheer size of Acapulco she will be exceedingly tough to beat in the circumstances.

Acapulco is 6/4 to land the Nunthorpe.

Will Balios break the curse of those encountering a penalty in the Great Voltigeur?

The penalty for winning a Group 2 race earlier in the same season is a weight hike of 3lb in the Great Voltigeur. This may not sound like much, but six horses in the last decade have attempted to defy this rise at odds of 9/2 or shorter and all have failed.

Next to attempt to achieve this feat is Balios, who is penalised for landing the King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot in June. Balios is 4/1 to win the Great Voltigeur.

David Simcock’s horse will be bidding to use this as a springboard towards winning the St Leger, with three horses successful in this particular double since 2000.

Entries are thin on the ground for this 1m4f Group 2, with the main threat being current St Leger favourite Storm The Stars, who has not been out of the first three all season, including when third in the Derby.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.