York Ebor 2018

Day 4 – Saturday 25th August


The Strensall Stakes is a Group 3 flat horse race in Great Britain open to horses aged three years or older. It is run at Yorkover a distance of 1 mile and 177 yards (1,771 metres)

The event is named after Strensall, a village located several miles to the north of York, and was formerly restricted to fillies, before being opened to male horses and extended to its present distance in 1987. It was promoted to Group 3 status in 2003.

  • Frankie Dettori has won this race 8 times since 1990

Lord Glitters has been in excellent form this season – he is yet to taste victory in four runs but has been competing at the highest level, finishing just a half-length behind Accidental Agent when second in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes and put in another strong run when third in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood earlier this month. Today sees a drop back in to Group 3 company and given what he has achieved so far this season he deserves to be the favourite for this race.  

That said, I tipped Mustashry for this race last season last season and, having had just the one run this year (a convincing victory at Listed level in July) he arrives here fresher than his rivals and it appears that this race has been the summer target for the Sir Michael Stoute runner for quite some time so I am happy to back him again for the follow-up.

A mention must also go to Seniority, who was pulled out of a race earlier in the week to take his chance here instead, and Zaaki who is ridden by Frankie Dettori who has won this race eight times since 1990. Both have each-way chances and are respected accordingly.

Mustashry 4/1 (PP)

2:25PM SKY BET MELROSE HANDICAP STAKES (CLASS 2) (Heritage Handicap) 1m 6f

Corgi has been in excellent form this season, posting results of 23122 with the best of those runs coming in the King George V stakes at Ascot where he finished second to Baghdad but ahead of subsequent Group 3 winner Cross Counter (4th), the re-opposing Making Miracles (7th) and three other rivals who have since won twice. The only time he has failed to finish in the top 3 of any race was on debut so with Jim Crowley retaining the ride and ground conditions again in his favour I’m expecting another solid performance here today.

Berkshire Blue and Blue Laureate were only separated by a head in the Shergar Cup Classic at Ascot earlier this month and both can be expected to be thereabouts at the finish again today, while Supernova arrives looking for his hat-trick and although has a step up in both class and trip to contend with he has looked like there is more to offer so shouldn’t be discounted.

Corgi 7/1 e/w (sky – 5 places)


The City of York Stakes is a Group 3 flat horse race open to horses aged three years or older, run at York over a distance of 7 furlongs (1,408 metres). The race was upgraded to Group 3 level from the 2016 running, having previously been a run as a Listed race.

Suedois finished third in this race last season and warmed up for this race with an excellent second in the Group 2 Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last month, being caught right on the line by Sir Dancealot. He has made the frame in five from seven over today’s trip and is unlikely to be too far away again today.

Gordon Lord Byron won this race in 2012 and although is now ten years old he proved he could still cut it at this sort of level when just a length behind the winner in a Group 3 race at The Curragh earlier this month. He doesn’t win too often nowadays (just one victory in the last two years) but has been a hugely consistent runner throughout his career so can never be completely ruled out.

Expert Eye bounced right back to form with a commanding victory in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Ascot in June, forging clear to finish almost five lengths ahead of his closest rival, and followed up with a solid third in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood earlier this month, finishing ahead of the likes of Lord Glitters, Gustav Klimt and Beat The Bank. The drop back from a mile to today’s seven-furlong trip is a positive and he looks the one they all have to beat.

Expert Eye 5/4 (sky)

3:40PM SKY BET EBOR HANDICAP STAKES (CLASS 2) (Heritage Handicap) 1m 6f

The Ebor Handicap is a flat handicap horse race open to horses aged three years or older and is run at York over a distance of 1 mile 5 furlongs and 188 yards (2,787 metres). Named after the shortened form of Eboracum, the Roman name for York, and first run in 1843, it was originally known as the Great Ebor Handicap and was initially contested over 2 miles, but its distance was later cut by 2 furlongs, and is currently the most valuable flat handicap in Europe.

Given that there are around twenty runners competing in such a competitive race, it is no surprise to see that seven of the last ten renewals have produced winners at odds of 12/1 or higher, with four of those coming at 20/1 or higher.

The early favourite is Stratum who was last seen winning the JLT Cup at Newbury in July, staying on strongly to win by three lengths and beating three subsequent winners in the process. He has a couple of entries at Group level later in the season so a big run can be expected, yet in such a competitive race I feel the odds offer little by way of value and as such I’m happy to look elsewhere. It is worth noting that Willie Mullins also runs Whiskey Sour who has winning form on both the flat and over hurdles. He has done all his winning on soft ground but would have to be considered if the rain arrives.

Any horse with a 50% career winning strike rate deserves a look and although all of Teodoro’s victories have come over shorter trips than he encounters here, his trainer Tom Dascombe is in great form and knows what it takes to train the winner of a big-field handicap so Teodoro is respected accordingly.

Sea The Lion is unbeaten in three this season and is now rated 104 from a starting point of 83 in May. All three of these victories have come over twelve furlongs but in each of the last two he has needed every yard to be able to eke out the win so the step up in trip could see further improvement and as such he is not ruled out for place purposes.

Nakeeta returns to defend his crown having won this race last season and although 4lbs higher this time around he returns to a trip that he has had three wins and a place from five runs and a course that he obviously performs well at, having made the frame in three from four runs. He finished almost four lengths behind Stratum when they last met but re-opposes with both course and distance in his favour this time around so should make a bold bid to win this race again and can be expected to be in the mix at the very least so is the selection for the feature race of the day.

Nakeeta 11/1 e/w (PP – 6 places)


Vintage Brut 5/1 e/w (PP)

4:50pm SKY BET HANDICAP (CLASS 2) 1m 2½f

Communique 13/2 e/w (PP – 5 places)


Roundhay Park 9/2 (B365)

Day 3 – Friday 24th August


Sir Michael Stoute has won this race twice since 2010 and looks to have a great chance of another victory here with the early market leader Melting Dew. He is yet to win in five prior attempts over this trip but has been beaten by a neck, a nose and a neck in three of these and was only a half-length behind the winner when second over fourteen furlongs at Goodwood last time out. He is again partnered with Ryan Moore and another big run looks likely, although a 5lbs rise will undoubtedly make things tougher.

First Nation finished behind Kelly’s Dino when fourth of five at Ascot last time out but that was his first run in nine months so is better judged on his last run of 2017 when beating six subsequent winners (including Melting Dew and yesterday’s Sky Bet Handicap winner Here And Now) in the Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket. With the benefit of a recent run under his belt he should have blown away any cobwebs and with his stable continuing in excellent form its unlikely he will be too far away at the finish.

Pacify isn’t the most prolific of winners but has been in excellent form at York over the summer, following up on a 2nd placed finish over course and distance in June with a four-length romp over rivals, again over course and distance, in July (with the re-opposing Mister Belvedere in second and Mukhayyam ten lengths behind in fifth). He put in a decent run when fifth over a longer trip at Goodwood earlier this month but the drop back to twelve furlongs is seen as a big positive, so with a 50% strike rate for making the frame on turf and a return to a track and a trip that he has excelled at in recent months, he has to be worth an each-way shout at current odds.

Pacify 12/1 e/w (sky – 4 places) 


The Lonsdale Cup is a Group 2 flat horse race open to horses aged three years or older and  is run at York over a distance of 2 miles and 56 yards (3,270 metres),

The event used to be called the Lonsdale Stakes, and for a period its original distance was 1 mile, 7 furlongs and 198 yards (1.9875 miles or 3198m). It was classed as a Listed race for several years, and it was promoted to Group 3 level in 1998. The race was renamed the Lonsdale Cup and given Group 2 status in 2004 and was extended by 78 yards in 2007 to its current distance.

  • Frankie Dettori has won this race 3 times since 2010 

Stradivarius is unbeaten this season and all being well will win today to earn the £1 million bonus offered for the first time this year. Having already won a qualifying race, followed by the Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup, today’s Lonsdale Cup is the final piece in the puzzle and he is quite simply the best horse in this race based on form and official ratings.

Red Verdon has had to play bridesmaid on four occasions at Group level so far this season and although has been performing admirably well and holding his form magnificently, he looks set to occupy the runner-up spot again today.

Max Dynamite won this race in 2015 and on that basis alone looks to have a chance of at least getting involved, although has only managed two career wins from sixteen on the flat and has already finished behind Stradivarius on a couple of occasions this season and it is difficult to see him turning that form around – a similar comment that also applies to Idaho.

Stradivarius 2/5 (BV)


The Gimcrack Stakes is a Group 2 flat horse race open to two-year-old colts and geldings, run at York over a distance of 6 furlongs (1,207 metres).

The event is named after Gimcrack, a successful racehorse in the 18th century. Gimcrack won twenty-seven times in a career of thirty-six races, but none of his victories were achieved at York.

The Gimcrack Stakes was established in 1846 and it was originally open to horses of either gender, although was restricted to male horses in 1987.

The Irish Rover was only a length behind Advertise in the Phoenix Stakes a couple of weeks ago but was flattered by the distance and had earlier finished behind both Cosmic Law and Shine So Bright in the Coventry Stakes. With only one win from five runs and the Aidan O’Brien stable only just starting to turn the corner following a bug in the yard I think The Irish Rover could prove vulnerable here.

Richard Fahey won this race last season and runs both Space Traveller and Cosmic Law in attempt to win it again this year. Cosmic Law has come up short in a couple of Group 2 races over the summer so preference of the two would be for the progressive Space Traveller who puts his unbeaten record on the line following two impressive victories at Doncaster and Hamilton respectively. Today sees a big step up in class but on the evidence of the aforementioned wins he looks capable of competing at a higher level so he deserves to take his chance.

Legends Of War has twice won over six furlongs but only just held on at odds of ¼ in a three runner race when last seen and couldn’t make his presence felt in the Group 2 Arqana July Stakes at Newmarket prior to that so would need to improve to take this race.

Archie Watson and Andrew Balding both have their stables firing in winners and both Showout and Shine So Bright are respected. On the face of it, Showout appears to have the better form having won his last two, however Shine So Bright put in a respectable run when fifth in the Coventry Stakes and was only a length away from Land Force when third in the Richmond Stakes last time out. He is progressing nicely despite not winning since debut and this looks a winnable race so he is taken to emerge with the win.

Shine So Bright 4/1 (B365)


The Nunthorpe Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race open to horses aged two years or older, run at York over a distance of 5 furlongs (1,006 metres). The event is named after Nunthorpe, an area of York, and was sponsored by William Hill from 1976 to 1989, during which time it was known as the William Hill Sprint Championship. It has had several different sponsors since then, with Coolmore Stud sponsoring the race since 2007.

The Nunthorpe Stakes became part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series in 2011 with the winner of the race now earning an automatic invitation to compete in the same year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. It is one of a limited number of races in which two-year-old horses can compete against their elders and is also the only Group 1 race in Great Britain open to two-year-old geldings. 

Trainer Michael Dods won back-to-back renewals of this race in 2015 and 2016 with Mecca’s Angel and has another in with a decent chance today as previous Group 3 winner Mabs Cross, who has won five from nine over this trip, lines up for the Darlington-based trainer. She wasn’t far behind both Blue Point and Battaash when third in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and although looks more likely to be booked for minor honours she could make her presence felt and looks the most likely to capitalise on any under-performance from the market principals.

Blue Point beat Battaash in the King’s Stand Stakes but disappointed in the July Cup at Newmarket when last seen and although has winning form at the course and has won over the minimum trip I feel he is at his absolute best over six furlongs.

Battaash could only manage fourth in this race last season but put the disappointment of finishing second in the Kings Stand Stakes behind him with a four-length demolition of his rivals in the King George Qatar Stakes at Goodwood earlier this month, beating a number of those re-opposing today in the process. A similar run today would see him extremely tough to beat and for that reason he has to be the selection despite the short odds.

Battaash 8/11 (PP)


A race that could bring about a few future winners, however the market suggests the winner will come from either Richard Hannon’s Beat Le Bon and Mark Johnston’s Sky Defender. Beat Le Bon put in a hugely encouraging debut performance at Newbury last month, finishing just a head second to Momkin (who races again today in the 14:15 at Ffos Las) and six lengths clear of third, and is highly regarded by the stable.

Sky Defender put in a similarly impressive debut run, finishing a half-length second to Duke Of Hazzard (who has since finished second at Listed level) and almost three lengths ahead of another highly regarded Richard Hannon runner Fox Power.

Both are in the notebook to follow moving forward but slight preference of the two for today’s race is Sky Defender.

Sky Defender 9/4 (PP) 


Corrosive, Mystic Flight and Borodin all offer decent each way options in a competitive-looking finale, however I am opting for Urban Aspect to end the day with a winner for in-form trainer Andrew Balding. He wouldn’t want to see too much rain but has won his last two both over distances of around a mile, finishing five lengths clear of his closest rival last time out. After just the three runs there is a chance that this step up un class could come too soon, however there is also the chance that he will take it in his stride en-route to even better races towards the back end of the season or in to next season

Urban Aspect 5/1 (sky)* paying 5 places for anyone who wants to play each way

Day 2 – Thursday 23rd August


The Lowther Stakes is a Group 2 flat horse race in Great Britain open to two-year-old fillies. It is run at York over a distance of 6 furlongs (1,207 metres). The present version is named in memory of Hugh Lowther (1857–1944), the 5th Earl of Lonsdale, and was established in 1946.

Fairyland won her first two races, the second being a Listed contest at The Curragh where she beat stablemates and subsequent Group winners Van Beethoven and Land Force, before running on late to finish a solid third in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot (with the re-opposing Angels Hideaway in fourth and Group 1 Prix Morny winner Pretty Polyanna in fifth). That form suggests that the market looks about right and the Aidan O’Brien filly should be a worthy favourite, however John Gosden runs Angels Hideaway who was just over a length behind Fairyland when they last met and improved to win a Group 3 contest in impressive fashion at Ascot last month (with The Mackem Bullet back in third). Both rated 105, if both run to their best it is likely to be a fantastic battle to the line and it is difficult to be confident in splitting the two for win purposes.

Both Queen Jo Jo and Firelight arrive here on the back of last time out victories but of more interest is Flawless Jewel who won a five-furlong sprint at Pontefract by an incredible sixteen lengths last month. There wasn’t much depth to the race (both runners that have raced since finished last in their respective next races) and this is an undoubted step up in class, however the manner of victory suggests that she deserves to take her chance and could surprise a few so for that reason is a tentative each way selection with the winner most likely to come from the two at the head of the market.

Flawless Jewel 10/1 e/w (coral – 3 places)


  • Kevin Ryan won this race in 2011 & 2012 (runs Celebrity Dancer & Secret Venture)
  • William Haggas won this race in 2013, 2014 & 2015 (runs Fanaar)
  • Richard Hannon won this race in 2016 & 2017 (has 4 runners today)

Oberyn Martell finished an excellent second to subsequent Listed winner Victory Command on debut and followed this with victory in a hot novice race at Sandown, where all five who finished behind (including Don Armado and Firelight) have gone on to win at least once since. He proved he could stay six furlongs by winning at Salisbury on penultimate run and although only fourth of six last time out he wasn’t given a hard race so should arrive here fresh, raring to go and can reverse the form with Kodyanna who emerged victorious last time out.

Jfoul arrives here looking for his hat-trick but both victories came over seven furlongs and two prior runs over course and distance proved unsuccessful so he comes with risks attached, while Concierge also has back-to-back victories to his name but both of these came over the minimum trip and today sees a big step up in class so a placed effort is probably the best he can hope for.

Oberyn Martell 18/1 e/w (sky – 5 places) 


Many of these have already raced against each other on at least one occasion this season and for me this makes things a little tougher as it can be a case of ‘whose turn is it this time’. Seniority, Poets Society and Original Choice occupied the first three places in a competitive handicap race at Goodwood at the start of the month and all three would have to be given solid chances with similar runs today, however I am opting for Afaak who beat seven subsequent winners when winning over course and distance in May and will appreciate the return to a mile trip following a reasonable fourth over ten furlongs last time out. All three career wins have come over today’s trip and he’s proved himself flexible in terms of ground conditions so looks to have a strong chance of giving Charlie Hills a trip to the winners’ enclosure here today.

Afaak 15/2 e/w (PP – 5 places)

3:35PM DARLEY YORKSHIRE OAKS (Group 1) 1m 3f 188y

The Yorkshire Oaks is a Group 1 flat horse race open to fillies and mares aged three years or older, run at York over a distance of 1 mile 3 furlongs and 188 yards (2,385 metres). Established in 1849, it was originally restricted to fillies aged three although was opened to older fillies and mares in 1991. The race has been sponsored by Darley Stud since 2006 and the inaugural running was won by Ellen Middleton, owned by the 2nd Earl of Zetland.

  • Both Sir Michael Stoute and Aidan O’Brien have won this race 4 times since 2000
  • John Gosden has won three of the last nine renewals

Coronet is John Gosden’s sole runner in this years’ renewal and he would have to be considered in with an outside chance given his course form (one win & one placed effort from two runs on the Knavesmire). The four-year-old filly is a dual Group 2 winner but has now contested eight Group 1 races and although has made the frame in 50% of these she is yet to get her nose in front at the highest level and I fear she is destined for minor honours again today.

Laurens is an extremely tough filly and is probably one of my favourite flat horses in training at the moment. She has five wins (three at Group 1 level) and two seconds from her seven career runs, travelling strongly and consistently showing true battling qualities, giving absolutely everything when she runs. She will likely lead from the front and she stays the extra distance she will be tough to pass, but I fear she may set the race up for a strong, fast finisher and for that reason I have to go against Laurens and follow the William Haggas runner Sea Of Class.

Sea Of Class saw off Oaks winner Forever Together and the re-opposing Aidan O’Brien duo Bye Bye Baby and Magic Wand when winning the Irish Oaks last time out, getting up on the line under a supremely confident and quite fantastic hands and heels ride by James Doyle. That brought up her hat-trick, proved she stays this trip, gave her a first Group 1 success and showed just how much raw talent she has – a similar run today would give her a fantastic chance of another victory today.

Sea Of Class 11/8 (sky)


The Galtres Stakes is a Listed flat horse race open to fillies and mares aged three years or older, run at York over a distance of 1 mile 3 furlongs and 188 yards (2,385 metres), Since 2014 the race has carried the name of Sir Henry Cecil, a former British flat racing Champion Trainer who died in 2013. 

  • Luca Cumani won this race 8 times between 1990 & 1999
  • Frankie Dettori has won this race 6 times since 1990
  • William Haggas won this race in 2013 & 2014

Sun Maiden blew her rivals away at Salisbury on turf debut, winning with ease and finishing twelve lengths ahead of second. She was next pitched in to Group company and ran well enough to finish a respectable third in the Ribblesdale, beating a couple of subsequent winners but not quite showing the same flair of her previous race, and looked in trouble a long way out before finishing a tailed off last of four in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood when last seen. Today sees a drop in to Listed level which could aid her cause, although she is yet to convince she wants this trip and on the basis of her last run looks a risky proposition from a betting perspective here.

Luca Cumani has his stable in fine form and has an excellent record with his runners in this race so Alwaysandforever, who has already placed twice in Listed races this season, wouldn’t be winning out of turn if she could just eke out a little more improvement.

William Haggas runs What A Home and Snow Wind in an effort to boost his recent record in this race. Snow Wind arrives having won her last two in commanding fashion but today sees a big step up in class. What A Home looked a smart prospect last season, winning twice over a similar trip to what she encounters here, and has placed at both Group 3 and Listed level so far this season. Both victories came on soft or good-to-soft ground but her placed efforts this season both came on fast ground so she would be my preference of the two William Haggas runners but in truth I feel they are all playing for minor honours here as Lah Ti Dah has all the makings of a future Group 1 winner.

Lah Ti Dar has only been seen on a racecourse twice but has won both times in impressive fashion, winning the Pretty Polly Stakes by over three lengths when last seen. She is again partnered with Frankie Dettori and if fully fit following three months off the track should have too much class for her rivals today.

Lah Ti Dah evens (B365)


  • David O’Meara has won three of the last 6 renewals of this race

Lincoln Rocks is David O’Meara’s sole runner here and given his record in this race it would be foolish not to consider the five-year-old for a repeat of last years’ winning performance. She hasn’t been in the best of form this season but has been running in tougher races than this so arrives here down in class off a 2lbs lower mark than for that course and distance victory last season.

Move Swiftly has won three of her four career runs and was an impressive winner at Goodwood last time out, meeting trouble in running before finishing strongly and coming away in the final furlong. She won over seven furlongs on debut so shouldn’t mind the step back from a mile and rates as the most likely winner albeit is a little short in the market for what I consider to be a tough looking handicap.

Victory Wave has won her last two, both over today’s trip, with one coming on fast ground and one on good-to-soft. She showed good battling qualities to get back up once headed at Newmarket last time out and has only gone up 3lbs so could still make the frame with further progress on the cards.

Of the remainder, Starlight Romance has winning form over course and distance and was only half a length behind Get Knotted when second last time out and is entitled to be in the mix again, while Betty F should find this easier than the Group 3 race she contested last time out and beat a subsequent winner when successful on penultimate run at Doncaster so could also get involved.

Lincoln Rocks 16/1 e/w (PP – 4 places)

Day 1 – Wednesday 22nd August


  • 6 of the last 9 winners have won at odds of 11/1 or higher
  • 7 of the last 9 winners arrived here on the back of a loss last time out, although the last 2 winners won prior to winning this race

A fiendishly difficult opening to the 2018 Ebor Festival sees 20 scheduled to go to post, including 2016 winner Boom The Groom. The Tony Carroll trained seven-year-old hasn’t won since but as a result is now 12lbs below that last winning mark and has shown signs in his last few runs that he could still be competitive in a race of this nature.

Tanasoq won four on the bounce across May/June and put a somewhat underwhelming performance at Ascot in July thoroughly behind him with a solid second to a subsequent winner when last seen. He will need to improve again to win today but a top four finish wouldn’t be out of the question.

Culturati won twice towards the back end of 2015 but had to wait until the summer of 2017 to bring up his hat-trick and has only raced once since, finishing last of seven here on the Knavesmire last month. He attempts the minimum trip for the first time today but should benefit for his first run in over a year and is an interesting runner for a stable and jockey in top form.

Tiz Marvellous beat a number of today’s rivals when they met in the Shergar Cup Dash a couple of weeks ago (Gracious John 2nd, Line Of Reason 3rd, El Astronaute 4th & Watchable 5th) but hasn’t been the most consistent as he finished twenty-fifth of twenty-six just a week previously so comes with risks attached in his follow-up attempt.

Kevin Ryan won this race in 2013 & 2014 and looks to have as good a chance as any with his runner Tommy Taylor who is a dual course winner (both career victories having come at York) and won a Listed contest over six furlongs here in September 2017. This will be his first run over the minimum trip but he has been racing prominently over further so far this season so could be asked to try and grab the lead and see if the others can catch him. This isn’t a race to get too involved in but at the prices and given Kevin Ryan’s record in the race I am happy to have a small each way squeak on Tommy Taylor.

Tommy Taylor 10/1 e/w (coral – 5 places) 


The Acomb Stakes is a Group 3 flat horse race open to two-year-old horses, run over a distance of 7 furlongs (1,408 metres). It was given Listed status in 1998 before being promoted to Group 3 level in 2006, and is named after Acomb, an area of York located to the north-west of the racecourse.

  • James Doyle rode the winner in 2012 & 2013
  • 4 of the last 5 winners of this race have done so at odds of 10/1 or higher
  • 9 of the last 10 winners won last time out, 4 of which had only had one prior run

The eye is immediately drawn to Watan who was an impressive winner on debut at Goodwood, beating what looks to be a decent yardstick in Dirty Rascal, with a couple of other promising youngsters in behind. He encounters an extra furlong today but finished his race off strongly so shouldn’t have an issue seeing out the trip and looks to have a good chance of giving his trainer Richard Hannon a victory here.

Broome stepped up on debut to win at Galway last time out and after just the two runs is perfectly entitled to improve further. That said, his victory came over a mile on soft ground and his stable have struggled for winners in recent weeks so there is enough of a question mark for me to think he may find a couple too good here today.

This is a big step up in class for James Street but he has won his last two, finishing strongly on both occasions, and should be open to further improvement now stepping up to seven furlongs so is no forlorn hope for a place, while Swissterious bolted up over seven furlongs at Doncaster on good-to-firm ground last time out and could also outrun his odds.

Persian Moon beat Phoenix Of Spain (4th) when second at Sandown at the beginning of July and has won twice since, showing a good attitude and great battling qualities to get back up over course and distance last time out having been headed by the eventual runner-up Hot Team (who went on to win next time out). He has improved for each of his four career runs to date so should be more than capable of doing so again today and his experience both at the course and over the trip should stand him in good stead so he gets a narrow vote to beat the favourite and come out on top today.

Persian Moon 5/1 (sky)


The Great Voltigeur Stakes is a Group 2 flat horse race open to three-year-old colts and geldings, run over a distance of 1 mile 3 furlongs and 188 yards (2,385 metres).

The event was established in 1950 and is named after Voltigeur, the Yorkshire-trained winner of the Derby and St Leger in 1850. It now serves as a trial for the following month’s St Leger, and thirteen horses have achieved victory in both races.

  • Sir Michael Stoute has won this race 7 times
  • John Gosden has won this race 4 times since 2007
  • Frankie Dettori has ridden the winner 5 times

Kew Gardens was an impressive winner of the Queens Vase at Royal Ascot, staying on strongly to beat stablemates Southern France and Nelson by almost five lengths, and followed up by winning the Group 1 Gd Prix Paris at Longchamp last month (again beating Nelson). On that form he looks a worthy favourite however the recent form of Aidan O’Brien’s runners (just 4 winners from 42 runners in the last 2 weeks) is a big concern and an overall record of just 2 winners from 32 runners since the beginning of 2016 at York is also off-putting so I’m happy to look elsewhere.

Cross Counter put in a good run to finish fourth of eighteen in the King George V Stakes at Royal ascot and followed up by beating three subsequent winners in the Woodford Reserve (again at Ascot) in July. He was last seen beating a select field in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and has improved for each of these runs so it would be no surprise to see him improve again and take this race, especially with both trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey William Buick in excellent recent form.

Tim Easterby won the Acomb Stakes with Wells Farhh Go last season and although he disappointed in his first two runs this season he bounced right back to form when winning the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy Stakes at Newmarket last month. With this victory he has proved he can stay this sort of trip and also proved he handles faster ground so with a course record of two wins from three he rates as the main danger to the selection.

Old Persian has won three from five this season, including The Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot (the re-opposing Wells Farhh Go finished 6th in this race), but put in an underwhelming performance when only mid-division in the Irish Derby. It is easy to forgive this run considering it came just eight days after his Royal Ascot victory, and he has been given a short break since, so he looks a decent option for anyone looking at an each-way angle in the race.

Sevenna Star looked an exciting prospect earlier in the season, winning on re-appearance by fourteen lengths and following up with a Group 3 victory at Sandown in April, however was a big disappointment in the Derby and hasn’t been seen since. He is yet to convince that he stays this trip and appears to be better with a bit of cut in the ground but as John Gosden boasts such a strong record at the course he cannot be completely written off, especially if the first-time tongue strap ekes out some improvement.

Of the remainder, The Pentagon is one of a number of promising Aidan O’Brien runners that haven’t quite managed to shine as yet but wouldn’t need to find too much improvement to make his presence felt and could run in to a place if any of the market principles falter.

Cross Counter 13/8 (B365)


The International Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race open to horses aged three years or older, run over a distance of 1 mile, 2 furlongs and 56 yards (2,063 metres).

It was first run in 1972 and was originally called the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup. The present sponsor, Juddmonte Farms, started supporting the race in 1989 and the race is now familiarly known as the Juddmonte International.

  • Sir Michael Stoute has won this race 6 times
  • Frankie Dettori has ridden the winner 5 times
  • Aidan O’Brien has won 4 of the last 10 renewals
  • Owners S Magnier & M Tabor have won this race 5 times

Poets Word bids to give Sir Michael Stoute his seventh winner of this race and given that he is the highest rated horse in the race and is unbeaten in three since returning from Meydan (including beating Cracksman in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot), a similar run to either of his last two Group 1 victories would make him extremely tough to beat.

As alluded to in an earlier preview, John Gosden has an excellent record at the course and his runner Roaring Lion beat Saxon Warrior in the Coral Eclipse, taking his record to two from two over a ten-furlong trip. The winning margin was only a neck but he looked to have more in the tank if needed so, despite Saxon Warrior being a top-class runner, I would expect Roaring Lion to confirm the form and put up the strongest challenge to Poets Word.

Thundering Blue boasts a course record of two wins and one second from three runs on the Knavesmire and all five career wins have come over today’s trip. He may be the outsider of the field and be up against some top-class horses here but he is a really likeable sort and never gives up so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him out-run his odds.

Frankel colt Without Parole lost his unbeaten record when only seventh of eight in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and although is re-united with Frankie Dettori (who was banned for the Sussex Stakes) he is untested at this trip and arrives here on a bit of a retrieval mission. It is too soon to be writing him off but I feel this is his toughest race to date and as such will do well to get involved.

Latrobe is yet to finish outside the first two in five career runs and arrives in top form having won the Irish Derby when last seen (with Saxon Warrior in 3rd). An official rating of 115 suggests he would need to improve again to emerge victorious here and both career victories have come over twelve furlongs rather than the ten that he encounters today but his consistency speaks for itself and he is another who cannot be dismissed for place purposes at the least.

Poets Word looks the most likely winner here but if for any reason he falters then Roaring Lion looks a live danger and Latrobe has already shown he is a battler and is capable of defying bigger odds. I couldn’t put anyone off backing Poets Word but I think that 20/1 for Latrobe is too big a price with three places on offer and as such will be playing the Irish Derby winner each way.

Latrobe 20/1 e/w (PP)


Another tough handicap to decipher with many who could be considered in with a chance. The obvious starting point is the early favourite Genetics who has won three of his last four and arrives here for a stable in fine form. That said, he steps up in class and also has an extra half-mile to contend with today so the odds look to be on the short side for such a competitive race.

Speedo Boy, Davys Dilemma and Stormin Tom all arrive on the back of respective victories last time out, while Here And Now represents last seasons’ winning trainer and jockey combo, and all have to be considered in with chances.

I’m opting for Northwest Frontier who is three from three over today’s trip (including one here at York) and has the beating of both Stormin Tom and Here And Now on recent form. He found twenty furlongs too far at Goodwood last time out so will appreciate the step back to two miles and has done all his winning on fast ground so looks to have everything in his favour for a big run today.

Northwest Frontier 10/1 e/w (laddys – 4 places)


  • Richard Fahey has won 3 of the last 6 renewals
  • The last 4 winners all arrived on the back of victories last time out

Richard Fahey has won 3 of the last 6 renewals of this race and runs three in attempt to improve on this already impressive record. Eljayyef is the form pick of the trio having won his last two, but both victories have come over the minimum trip and he was no match for the winner on only prior run over six furlongs, while Gabrial The Wire is the choice of Paul Hanagan and is perhaps open to further improvement now venturing away from Chester. Absolute Dream is seemingly the outsider of the three but has placed twice in two prior runs on the Knavesmire so could yet improve and spring a surprise.

I Am A Dreamer is two from two over course and distance and was a respectable enough ten lengths behind Calyx in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot but hasn’t really progressed since and was behind a number of today’s rivals when only tenth at Goodwood last time out (a race won by Don Armado). His earlier runs at the track would put him right in the mix but I fear there are others with stronger cases than him today.

The Great Heir had been progressing nicely and stepped up to six furlongs with an impressive four length victory on penultimate run, before a somewhat lacklustre performance when only ninth in the aforementioned race won by Don Armando. That wasn’t his true running and a better performance is expected today, although whether he can reverse the form with the early favourite remains to be seen.

Ginger Nut was a 16/1 winner of the Weatherby’s Super Sprint Stakes at Newbury in July, a race that has produced six subsequent winners, and was only a head away from victory when stepped up to six furlongs last time out – being beaten by Princess Power who notched up her hat-trick of victories in the process. He has had seven runs already this season but has been running consistently well (two wins and three placed efforts in his last five runs) and is therefore a tentative selection in a tricky finale.

Ginger Nut 10/1 e/w (Whill – 5 places)