The Betfred Ebor is the big betting race of the day and having backed Mighty Yar (3.50) antepost I am glad he has scraped into the race at the foot of the weights. Frankie Dettori, successful in the race two years ago, with Willing Foe takes the ride for Lady Cecil who saddled the winner 12 months ago.
The selection was a 20/1 shot at BetVictor when betting opened on the race but the lightly-raced grey is now into 8/1 and everything looks in his favour for a big run. I would be disappointed if he didn’t reward each way support in a terrific renewal.
William Haggas has never saddled the winner of the race but his Dare To Achieve is a big danger although the draw in stall 15 could have been kinder. The stable always thought a fair amount of the colt last season and he won a listed contest at Hamilton on his reappearance. He looks to have been laid out for the race.
Pallasator has been the favourite for the race since winning a valuable Ascot handicap over 12f last month under ten stone. He only carries a 4lb penalty for that success and holds Group entries later in the season.
Regular pilot Luke Morris keeps the ride despite the gelding having been sold to Qatar Racing. He looks a Group horse in a handicap but has the worst of the draw to overcome and Luke Moris face a difficult task whether he tries to get across early or tack across, sit and suffer and make his run in the long home straight. He has drifted out to 4s and if he goes much bigger than that he must be worth a saver but it is the Mighty Yar each way for me.
The Melrose is often described as the Ebor for three-year-olds and, in the same colours as Voltigeur winner Postponed, top-weight Connecticut (2.40) gets the vote for Luca Cumani despite having been raised 10lbs for winning a modest Newmarket event over 12f last time.
As a son of New Approach fast ground is ideal and whilst he is not guaranteed to stay this 1m 6f trip he looks a progressive type who might be a bit better than a handicapper going forward. Sir Michael Stoute’s Rocket Ship is on a hat-trick and is another to consider. At the foot of the weights Mantou could easily leave his previous form behind now that he is asked to tackle a trip.
Baitha Alga must carry a 3lb penalty for his win in the Norfolk at Royal Ascot and he is just overlooked in favour of Beacon (3.15) who looked to be crying out for an extra furlong when beaten in the Molecamb at Goodwood last month.
At Goodwood, Heavy Metal (2.55) must go close in the 32Red Stakes given he is only 3lb higher than when just failing to win the valuable Mile handicap at the Glorious meeting having scored at Ascot previously. The selection remains well treated on his juvenile form, has a good draw and Joe Fanning again takes the mount.
Commanche Run won the St Leger at Doncaster giving Lester Piggott the last of his eight wins in the classic and the horse won the March Stakes en route to classic glory. There are three fascinating three-year-olds in this year’s renewal and I would be surprised if the winner didn’t come from the classic generation.
Kings Fete and Forever No are highly progressive colts but I am a big fan of Alex My Boy (4.40) and hope it is another Johnston/Fanning winner on the card. The colt has won his last two in handicap company and looks ready for a step up in class. He is currently 25/1 for the Leger a race his trainer has never saddled the winner of.
There is a top class card at Windsor this evening where I like the look of Certificate (6.15) in the mile handicap for Roger Varian. The selection broke his maiden over C&D on his third start last time, has the plum draw in one and will appreciate the drying ground (currently good god/firm pls).
The Group 3 Winter Stakes is the highlight and it is fascinating to see Silvestre De Souza back on board True Story for the first time since the combination won the Feilden Stakes back in the spring. Al Kazeem is on something of a recovery mission having disappointed on his sole start since returning from stud duties. He may feel he has drawn the short straw somewhat and is overlooked in favour of the globetrotting Grandeur reunited with William Buick for the first time since the 2013 Arlington Million.
I like the booking of Cam Hardie for Phaenomena (4.45) at Goodwood on Sunday; the selection was all at sea on soft ground last time but can return to winning ways in a competitive handicap.
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