King of Stats: The Ebor puzzle doesn’t get any easier

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As the Ebor Festival begins to wind down, all that’s left to do is to solve the puzzle of the race the meeting is named after. Easy peasy.

We are taking a statistical approach to the Ebor Handicap, looking at the recent history of the race to uncover the potential winners, one or two at very tasty prices.

As always, there are some recent trends that allow us to remove a good chunk of the field without much guilt.

For this 20-runner middle distance extravaganza, the last 10 races have shown the following:

–          10/10 had won no more than four handicaps

–          9/10 had run in no more than nine handicaps

–          9/10 had won previously over 1m4f

From this we can safely say that we are looking for an improving, unexposed type to spring a surprise on the handicapper.

The market is headed by Pallasator, who as well as being an obscenely short price (7/2), is set to carry top-weight alongside Whiplash Willie (25/1). And with just two horses to carry the maximum load even making the placings in the last decade, we can exclude them from our shortlist.

And with eight of the last nine winners being officially rated between 94 and 101, both Clever Cookie (7/1) and Bold Sniper (14/1)are given the boot.

Now this is where some selective exclusions have to come, with none of the remaining eight perfectly fitting the profile of recent Ebor winners.

The trio of Nearly Caught (20/1), Retirement Plan (16/1) and Mighty Yar (8/1) all finished in the first two last time out, something eight of the last 10 victors in the race had done.

But with all three normally preferring to race prominently, something only one winner in 10 years did, they are given the boot, as we continue our search in the form of a held-up winner.

We revert back to our previous note on looking for an unexposed horse for the race, with Dare to Achieve (16/1). While the William Haggas-trained four-year-old only has a handful of runs, his mark looks to have been ruined by a Listed win at Hamilton in May, and is disregarded here.

Verdict

We are left with four that meet the most of the criteria, so some personal preference will come into things.

Both Wadi Al Hattawi (9/1)and Great Hall (16/1)have a fair shout, and are in a position to improve, but with the former never having won over the 1m6f distance, and the latter coming up a bit short off his current mark, they both fall at the final hurdle.

TED VEALE (16/1) is best known for his exploits over the obstacles, a winner of the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, and has only run five times on the flat. Tellingly though, his most recent run on the level was in this race 12 months ago, when he finished a very respectable fourth. With claimer Sean Corby taking off 7lbs he is effectively 6lbs better off, and could go well at a nice price.

At an even bigger price ELIDOR (25/1) looks well worth siding with. A third place finish in the Listed Buckhound Stakes at Ascot three starts ago was followed by two nice performances since. Coming out of stall 19 – 11 of the last 13 winners have been drawn in the seven highest berths – looks in a prime position to strike under former Champion Jockey Paul Hanagan.

All odds and markets correct as of date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.