Irish raiders have had a disproportionately fine record in the Ebor in recent years. After the entries for York’s famous staying handicap were announced, we highlight a couple of the more appealing runners who could make the journey across the Irish Sea.
In the past 11 runnings, 20 Irish-trained runners have taken their chance in the Knavesmire heritage handicap and their connections have been handsomely rewarded for their sportsmanship thanks to three winners and four placed horses during that period.
Given the Irish representation comprised just nine per cent of the total runners since 2002, their challengers are clearly worth a second glance.
Eight of the last 11 victors had official ratings between 92 and 102 – including each of the last five – and with this filter applied, many of the more illustrious charges from the yards of Aidan O’Brien and Dermot Weld are ruled out, leading to some more left-field selections.
Tony Martin’s Ted Veale (16/1) has carved out his career for the most part as a hurdler, with victory in the Vincent O’Brien County hurdle at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival a notable high point, but along the way he has proved himself adept on the level, claiming two wins from three runs in the sphere.
The last of his flat victories came by four lengths on his first attempt at 1m4f and as a national hunt type he’d be likely to improve for a couple more furlongs at York. Currently rated 93 on the level, taking the Ebor would be some way to warm up for a novice chasing career come the autumn.
Meanwhile, with the likes of Pale Mimosa and Unaccompanied likely to carry too high a weight if turning up on the Knavesmire, Olympiad (16/1) rates the most interesting of the potential runners from Dermot Weld’s Rosewell House stable.
Disappointing when well down the field despite plenty of market support in last season’s Cesarewitch, he continued that miserable thread when last of 17 in the Chester Cup upon his reappearance this term.
However, he had previously won a 2m handicap off 89 at York on his penultimate run of 2012, in a performance which compelled his trainer to suggest that stakes races would ultimately prove to be his level.
Interestingly Weld also said that the best of the son of Galileo would only be seen when he reached five-years-old and after one too-bad-to-be true run this term it’d be foolish to write off a return to form, especially for the pupil of such a masterful handler.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date.