14:30 York (7f Group 3)
This fascinating race features 10 two year olds with lots of potential. It’s the kind of contest we could look back at in the future and be wowed at some of the horses lining up. There could be a few special ones in here. Eight of the 10 runners ran their last race in a maiden so there’s huge untapped potential on show.
The likely favourite is the Aidan O’Brien trained Lieutenant General. This horse has more experience than most of his field but did lose a Naas maiden at odds of 1/3 last month. Following that run he finished third in Group 3 before finally winning his maiden at Leopardstown two weeks ago. There’s just a suspicion that he may not be top-class and the fact he’s never run on soft going before is a concern. He’s worth avoiding at the prices.
With the betting quite tight in this race and not much separating the runners on form it’s worth looking further down the odds. One horse who looks interesting is Dream Mover. Trained by Marco Botti he finished fourth on his opening start at Doncaster in July before winning convincingly on the soft at Nottingham three weeks later. He’ll encounter similar conditions here and with that experience under his belt and decent odds alongside him he should be backed in the Place market at 11/5.
15:05 York (1m 4f Group 2)
The Great Voltigeur Stakes is the key trial for next month’s St Leger and as usual it’s thrown up an excellent field. Three of the seven runners lining up are trained by Aidan O’Brien and it’s one of his less fancied animals that could prove to be real value.
188 Bet have Aloft as 8/1 sixth favourite out of the seven runners but that may be doing him a disservice. A winner of a Newmarket maiden back in October of last year, that day he beat the favourite for this race Storm The Stars and hasn’t really done anything wrong since. Three weeks after that maiden win he ran in key Derby trial the Racing Post Trophy finishing second to Elm Park. Conditions were testing that day and Aloft thrived on them. Kept back for Royal Ascot this season he won the Queen’s Vase over two miles in June and comes into this race in excellent form. He’ll handle the ground, he’ll get the trip and his experience will hold him in excellent stead. At 8/1 he looks an interesting bet.
Storm The Stars deserves to go off favourite in this race after a superb season that’s seen him finish third in the Epsom Derby and second in the Irish Derby. Most of his runs this year though have come in less testing conditions and at nearly three times the price in the 188 Bet market Aloft looks more of a value bet.
15:40 York (1m 2f Group 1)
The headline race of the four day festival. It’s just a shame that at the time of writing there’s confusion over who lines up. Rain overnight at York has put the participation of 2000 Guineas winner Gleneagles in doubt and if the 9/2 joint second favourite gets withdrawn it will change the complexion of the race and betting. A winner of his last eight starts, we haven’t seen Gleneagles since Royal Ascot in June and he’ll be running over a trip longer than he’s ever faced before if he turns up on Wednesday. As he’s by 2001 English Derby winner Galileo he should enjoy the extra distance but a lack of a run at it is concerning along with the challenging ground.
Golden Horn has been the star of the season and 188 Bet make him 8/13 to add another victory to his increasingly glittering CV. Winner of the Dante, English Derby and Eclipse he should be too strong here at a distance where he thrives. You’ll recall trainer John Gosden pulled him out of the King George last month due to the soft conditions so any additional rain could hamper his chances. At 8/13 he’s short enough so this is a watching brief with regard to Golden Horn.
The one horse who looks way overpriced is The Grey Gatsby at 11/1. The Kevin Ryan trained four year old has been one of the world’s best horses in the last year with wins in the French Derby, Irish Champion Stakes and Dante. The Grey Gatsby also finished second in this race last year to Australia at 12/1 and his 2015 form has been consistently very good. An unlucky second in the Prince Of Wales Stakes to Free Eagle was sandwiched in between runner-up spots to Sollow and Golden Horn. He has won on Good To Soft at York and if conditions get more testing he’ll have a real chance at far-too-big odds of 11/1. If Gleneagles stays in the race The Grey Gatsby is worth backing in the Place market at 11/10 otherwise back him to win.
Yorkshire Ebor Festival Day 1 Top Bets
- 14:30 York – Dream Mover to Place (11/5)
- 15:05 York – Aloft to Win (8/1)
- 15:40 York – The Grey Gatsby to Place (11/10)