The Ebor Festival gets underway with a mouth-watering renewal of the Juddmonte International on Wednesday, as Ghaiyyath, Kameko, Magical and Lord North all face-off on the Knavesmire.
There’s a case to be made for each of the four main contenders in the feature race of the afternoon, while an undercard which includes the Great Voltigeur and the Acomb Stakes also whets the appetite.
It’s all set up to be a fantastic first day at York, and we’re on hand to get stuck into all of the headline action in our Ebor Festival Betting Tips.
RACE OF THE DAY – JUDDMONTE INTERNATIONAL – YORK, 15:15
Can anyone stop Ghaiyyath? That’s the question we’re asking ahead of the Juddmonte. Sure, Kameko, Magical and Lord North are all bona fide Group 1 winners, but we think the Godolphin favourite might just be a class above.
Charlie Appleby’s inmate has gone from a talking horse to a scoring horse this season following two front-running victories in the Coronation Cup and the Coral-Eclipse, the latter when putting Enable to the sword.
That’s better than any other form on offer here, and if he’s allowed to dictate the race from the front again on a track which looks as though it should suit the five-year-old, then the four contenders could be in trouble.
Of his main rivals, Lord North looks most likely to throw down a challenge after an extremely impressive success in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, although this should be much tougher.
John Gosden’s improver keeps on…well…improving, and it’ll be interesting to see what he can muster without regular jockey Frankie Dettori, who opted to ride Palace Pier and Mishriff at Deauville over the weekend.
Magical always runs his race but usually lacks that extra bit of star quality in a contest like this, while 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko has yet to impress beyond a mile and will hope for more luck in-running here.
NEXT BEST – GREAT VOLTIGEUR – YORK, 14:45
Aidan O’Brien hinted at the start of the season that it would take two runs to show Mogul to best effect, and so it proved as the Galileo colt surprised everyone bar his all-knowing trainer to win the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.
That was much more like it from the Derby-sixth, who holds obvious claims here despite York’s flatter track. If the track does prove his undoing, then the likes of Pyledriver, Roberto Escobarr and Darain will take their chance.
The former won the King Edward at Royal Ascot and needs to bounce back from a disappointing performance in the Derby under a penalty, while the latter cost 3.5m guineas and is unbeaten so far but needs to take a big step up.
The middle horse in that trio landed a hot contest at Haydock and should also be considered, although outsider Berkshire Rocco could also be worth a shout at the current prices.
Andrew Balding’s inmate has twice been a runner-up this season to two smart types in Santiago and English King, and after a two-month break, there’s every chance he’ll be there or thereabouts if he can improve again.
ONE TO WATCH – ACOMB STAKES – YORK, 14:15
Another crop of promising two-year-olds go to post in the Acomb Stakes, where debut scorer Cloudbridge could be difficult to stop for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby.
The Hard Spun colt looked visually impressive when he won at Leicester in a race which has already produced another subsequent winner in River Alwen, and he sets the standard here.
Royal Scimitar accounted for three next-time-out winners on his debut, including Line Of Departure, who has entered the winner’s enclosure twice since, and will lay down the challenge.
Clive Cox and Adam Kirby usually represent a potent combination, and they’ll be hoping the step up in trip can bring about further improvement over 7f on the Knavesmire.
WEDNESDAY 19TH AUGUST, EBOR FESTIVAL 1 DAY SCHEDULE
13:45 York – Sky Bet And Symphony Group Handicap
14:15 York – Acomb Stakes (Group 3)
14:45 York– Great Voltigeur Stakes (Group 2)
15:15 York – Juddmonte International (Group 1)
15:45 York – Sky Bet Handicap
16:20 York – Fillies’ Sprint Handicap
16:50 York – Sky Bet Nursery Handicap
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication