The Juddmonte International may be the obvious attraction on the opening day of York’s Ebor Festival, but there are also three other televised races on Channel 4 for punters to get their teeth into.
The Great Voltigeur Stakes looks the most intriguing with Telescope out to re-prove his worth after a disappointing season that has seen injury rule him out of the Derby and then fall short at Haydock last time.
There are question marks over many of those fancied with Ladyship having a first crack at 5f, Barnet Fair not guaranteed a passage through to the front and Goldream not looking particularly well drawn in seven.
Bogart will be a threat if showing the same early pace as when his saddle unfortunately slipped last time, but preference is for Above Standard, especially given that he is unbeaten over the trip and the fact the first five home last year all came from a stall of 10 or higher.
Improvement can realistically be expected from all six of these, but The Grey Gatsby looked to have plenty more in the tank last time and won a decent maiden from which the second and third have triumphed since.
The same depth cannot be seen from the maiden claimed by First Flight, which means Il Paparazzi may present the main danger having won by five lengths last time and holding Group 1 entries.
The result pretty much hinges on how Telescope runs and whether a return to competition against his own age group brings a return to winning ways after finishing second against older horses last time when sent off a warm odds-on favourite.
Aidan O’Brien’s sole entrant Foundry is an interesting adversary, especially based on breeding where both his parents are Group 1 winners. He could not have been any more impressive on debut, but this is a big step up.
Secret Number looks the main threat as he was completely luckless in running on a first start at this trip of 1m4f last time when shut out at least twice and must be thereabouts if getting a clear path.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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