Kingston Hill among our best bets for day one at York

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The stage is set and York Racecourse is ready for its biggest meeting of the year. With the Ebor Festival set to get underway, all we now need to do is find some winners.

The last couple of weeks may have been a nightmare on the horse racing tips front here at Ladbrokes News, but we are determined to get back on track on day one.

It would be easy to put up an odds-on shot Australia in the Juddmonte International, but we are hopeful these selections will bolster your balance in a more substantial way.

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NAP –Kingston Hill – Great Voltigeur Stakes 15:05

A perfect opportunity for last year’s Racing Post Trophy victor to open his account for the campaign, having had conditions against him in all three runs this season.

He has though run well in those contests – an excellent second in the Derby being the highlight.

This sort of trip was talked of as his best all over the winter, and his Epsom performance enhances that.

A bit of rain would strengthen his position at the head of the betting further, although genuine good ground will be of no problem to Roger Varian’s colt.

He’s arguably the only horse who is a proven Group 1 campaigner in this field, and sits 9lbs clear of his nearest rival in the official ratings.

He will take all the beating.

NB – Prince Gagarin – Acomb Stakes 14:30

If recent runnings are anything to go by, there is no need to delve much further than the few at the top of the market for this one, with 17 of the last 20 victors coming from the first three in the market.

A half-brother to 2009 winner Elusive Pimpernel, Prince Gagarin should put in a bold bid on the Knavesmire.

He finished a length behind Chesham Stakes fourth Nafaqa on his debut, before going on to take his maiden in good style.

The booking of Ryan Moore again can only be a positive, with arguably the best jockey in the business posting a 29% strike rate on Ed Dunlop’s juveniles.

Improvement will be needed on this step up in class, but at the prices, it’s hard to rule him out.

Lively Longshot – Blaine – Symphony Group Stakes 13:55

Tipping up a horse that finished 22nd out of 23 runners last time out may seem like a joke selection but hear me out…

Firstly, there is no denying that race, the Stewards’ Cup, is fiendishly difficult and competitive.

Secondly, it is Blaine’s record on his trio of visits to York that stand out.

A very useful two-year-old, Kevin Ryan’s colt claimed his maiden on the Knavesmire in 2012, before following up in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes.

Nothing went right last year, but he returned to form in May when finishing 3rd of 20 in a competitive handicap here.

He has run just once over the minimum 5f, running out a respectable 1 3/4l fifth, so is clearly unexposed at the trip.

Often an all or nothing performer, he comes with plenty of risk, but with a handler who knows how to win this (he saddled Bogart to victory 12 months ago), he’s and each way bet worth having.

All odds and markets correct as of the 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.