York Ebor Festival – Day 3 Bets – The Top Three

York Ebor Day 3

Although there is definitely a chance to turn this around, The Top Three has been in good form during the York Ebor meeting.

Despite missing Warm Heart thanks to early morning price reasons, all three horses from yesterday’s column made money as Relief Rally won the Lowther Stakes and both Northern Express and One Evening placed at each-way prices.

Today is a tough day, but hopefully, I’ve found a few to be on the correct side of.


Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes (3:00 York) – Haatem @ 7/1 General – 1pt EW

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This year’s Gimcrack Stakes is a tough puzzle to work out as already we have experienced juveniles facing new, unexposed rivals at the York Ebor Festival.

Plenty have the chance to make a massive step up in Group 2 company today, but I’m sticking with the six-time-raced Haatem at 8/1.

Although there’s the chance that Richard Hannon’s colt by Phoenix Of Spain could still be feeling the effects of his Group 2 Vintage Stakes victory at Goodwood on good-to-soft ground, his form in the book is miles clear of the rivals.

Last time out, he beat Iberian, a horse connections think highly of, over seven furlongs when seemingly doing enough once he hit the front.

Prior to then, he was a good second in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes behind Aidan O’Brien’s future Guineas horse City Of Troy and he produced a good performance in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes behind the likes of River Tiber and Bucanero Fuerte.

Although he has to shoulder a three-pound penalty today, Haatem should be a solid play in a field full of unknowns.


Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes (3:35 York) – Aesop’s Fables @ 28/1 with BetVictor – 1pt EW

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Call me mad and wishing for a bit too much, but there’s a chance that Aesop’s Fables could return to his best and spring a surprise in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes this afternoon.

There is precedent from this season to suggest that these once highly-touted Aidan O’Brien horses can turn things around on the biggest stage, after all, he was successful in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot with Age Of Kings who went off as big as 22/1.

As for today’s hopeful in the Nunthorpe, I’ve been patiently waiting for this three-year-old by No Nay Never to be tried at five furlongs on good ground and for a while, I thought Ballydoyle might find a lower-level race to ease him into things.

But no, connections have bravely selected the Group 1 Nunthorpe.

On the face of it, he does have to improve, but he has the ability to do that over this trip as five-and-a-half furlongs is the shortest distance he has ever tried.

His first run at the trip occurred during his two-length Navan victory on debut, and the second was in April 2023 when he breezed beautifully into the Listed Committed Stakes but found the heavy ground too tough of a task.

Furthermore, on his last start in the Listed Carnarvon Stakes over six furlongs, he ran well to finish behind Shaquille and ahead of Noble Style which looks to be good form based on what the former has done in two Group 1s since.

Backing Aesop’s Fables today does require bravery, but I would hate to not trust him on his first start at five furlongs on decent conditions, so for that reason, he makes the list for the third day of the York Ebor meeting.


Class 2 Mile Handicap (5:15 York) – Silver Sword @ 7/1 with Unibet – 1pt EW

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The final race of the day is a competitive three-year-old handicap with 12 runners in the field, but it’s Dylan Cunha’s Silver Sword that gets the nod.

By Charm Spirit, Silver Sword has been the flag bearer horse for the Cunha team over the last 12 months and burst onto the scene this season with a victory at Southwell over a mile back in April.

Connections then stepped the three-year-old up in trip for the Lester Piggott Handicap on Derby Day at Epsom where he produced another good performance, however, the winner Torito just out-stayed him with his impressive stamina.

Later in the month of June, he went over Pontefract for a one-mile three-year-old handicap in the Sky Bet Sunday Series and although it wasn’t a vintage race, he bolted up under jockey Greg Cheyne off a mark of 86.

If you put a line through his last run at Goodwood where the combination of soft ground and 10 furlongs didn’t suit him, the gallant grey could still be well-handicapped off 93.

In a line-up like this, the potential unknown ability of some rivals would be worrying – notably the well-supported Tafreej who is on an upward trajectory – but Silver Sword remains unexposed at a mile on good ground, and for that reason, I won’t be deserting him today.

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