Wednesday Racing Tips: Ebor Festival Day 16 min read
The Juddmonte International is one of the highlights of the racing year and ten top-class horses will go to post for the feature race at York today. The market is headed for this clash of the generations by the brilliant 5-year-old King George winner Poet’s Word at 7/4 and three-year-old Roaring Lion 5/2.
The vote, in the race of the season to date, is for Eclipse Stakes winner Roaring Lion (3.35) who has his optimum conditions of 10f and fast ground. The only three-year-old colts’ to win this Gp 1 contest in the last decade have been Derby winners’ Sea The Stars (2009) and Australia (2014) but I feel Roaring Lion – third at Epsom in June – can add his name to the illustrious roll of honour.
Roaring Lion’s Dante win over C&D and his hard-fought Sandown success mark him down as a 10f specialist and he will have the race run to suit with Irish Derby winner Latrobe likely to ensure it is a true test.
Aidan O’Brien’s Guineas winner Saxon Warrior only has a neck to make up on the selection on Sandown running and his supporters will tell you he had run only a week previously in the Irish Derby. That said I expect Roaring Lion to confirm the form.
The first Group race on the card is the 7f Acomb Stakes for juveniles. Phoenix Of Spain (2.25) shaped with considerable promise when behind Persian Moon – who reopposes today – at Sandown on debut and he confirmed that promise when running away with a modest Wolverhampton maiden last month. The selection is 6/1 and he is the each way recommendation.
Cross Counter (3.00) has already been gelded and is the only one of today’s nine-runner Gt Voltigeur field who does not hold an engagement in the St Leger as the final classic is only open to thee-year-old colts’ and fillies.
Charlie Appleby’s gelding (7/4) made the transition from top-class handicapper to pattern performer when scoring in course record time in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood earlier in the month. Today’s underfoot conditions look ideal and he receives 5lbs from O’Brien’s Kew Gardens who won the Gp 1 Grand Prix de Paris last time. On a line through Mark Johnston’s Dee Ex Bee the Irish challenger has a bit to find at the weights.
Genetics and Hochfeld are in a long shortlist for the two-mile handicap but the each way vote goes to Speedo Boy (4.15) who impressed trying this trip for the first time when scoring at Ascot last time. James Doyle keeps the ride and he gets the each way vote at 8/1 (five places).
Kevin Ryan fits cheekpieces on Rathbone (4.50) for the first time in the concluding 6f nursery and the hope is that the headgear will work the oracle for this maiden. The selection is 8lbs better off with Hesslewood for the length he was beaten over C&D on his penultimate start and at 10/1 he is another each way (five places) selection.
Phoenix Of Spain
Gordon Elliot’s First Bombardment (2.05) should have run out an easy winner at Ayr last week, but he was all dressed up with nowhere to go. He has a decent draw in stall 11 today and is taken to make amends at Carlisle with Jamie Codd coming over from Ireland for the ride.
Elliot can follow up in the concluding 1m 6f handicap with Falak (5.55) who is blinkered for the first time having needed plenty of stoking up to win over hurdles in Ireland earlier in the month. Four Kingdoms and Ingelby Hollow lead a strong home challenge, but Elliot has his string in excellent form of late and Falak looked a decent staying prospect for Roger Varian earlier in his career.
At Worcester this evening a chance is taken on the first-time tongue-tie working the oracle for Western Storm (8.00) who travelled and jumped well before going out like a light at Uttoxeter last time. He obviously has a problem with his breathing, but he is 4lbs lower below and I hope the tongue-tie is the answer.