It’s the best Festival of the Summer as the stars head up North to York for the Ebor Festival. Day One has plenty in store, with the highlight the Juddmonte International. A race won by a pantheon of greats down the years, and this year may see another star win the biggest prize on the Knavesmire. There’s plenty of handicaps to get stuck into as well, so let’s take a look at Day One’s selections.
NAP: Juddmonte International Stakes (Group One) – Paddington@ 8/13 (William Hill, BetVictor)
Paddington is all the rage this year, and I’m still convinced he hasn’t faced a stern test yet. But that’s about to change as he faces some tough rivals who hold quality cards. Mostahdaf has had another break after stepping down in trip to win the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Good-to-Firm ground; Nashwa is back on preferred ground after disappointing in the Nassau; and The Foxes is back at the scene of his Dante win, and off the back of a loss over in America.
It may look easy, but it’s anything but for Paddington. There may be a worry for the ground as he has never run on it, but the way Paddington is produced in a race suits firm ground runners at York, as they are very hard to catch when out in front (just ask Quickthorn).
In behind, The Foxes makes most appeal. His Dante win was likeable, he was very tough to fend off a determined White Birch, and it was clear that Epsom didn’t suit him. He just couldn’t make up the ground in the Belmont Derby, but he’s back on home turf and can certainly run a big race. I’d have the two on a reverse forecast.
Continue To Push
Next Best Bet: Great Voltiguer Stakes (Group Two) – Continuous @ 9/4 (General)
It’s hard to have an each-way bet in the other two group races at York because of the small field sizes. But for the lack in size makes up in the quality. I’m surprised Gregory comes to this race after his win over further in the Queen’s Vase, which he carries a penalty for.
I much rather prefer Continuous, who I thought would be Derby winner, but has steadily improved throughout the season. Whilst King Of Steel showed his class at Ascot, Continuous wasn’t disgraced in second and has had a good break since. He came close in the Dante, so the track will suit.
Fast Through The Forest
Handicap Best: Sky Bet and Symphony Group (Heritage H’cap) – Jm Jungle @ 8/1 (William Hill, BetVictor, Boylesports)
If there is one rule when betting on handicaps at York it’s this. Always back Northern trainers. Northern trainers target these handicaps from April. And it works. Only Tony Carroll and Dean Ivory have broken through the Northern barricade in the last ten runnings of the race.
And Jm Jungle is a horse who has been consistent throughout the season. On what could be a very good week for John Quinn and Jason Hart, Jm Jungle’s form figures this season has read 3324211. He faces another 5lb rise after his last win, which he can handle fine as he did with his last win. Another plus is he’s near the far side rail, but a small negative is he’s not near pace. But Jm Jungle can continue his progression and scalp his biggest win here.
Another tip at York is back Tim Easterby in sprints. And he has a class outfit in Manila Scouse, who is becoming a typical York sprinter. Despite never winning on firm ground, his breeding suggests he is ground versatile. After his success in the racing league she comes here in fine fettle and can continue an upward progression in a big York sprint handicap at 10/1 (General).