Lots of the biggest names in flat racing will be heading to York this week for the flagship meeting on the Knavesnmire, The Ebor Festival, running from Wednesday 19th through Saturday 22nd August.
Sadly, Enable wont be among those names as he is being rested for the September Stakes at Kempton. Nor too will Frankie Dettori who, after running in France last weekend, is subject to current UK quarantine laws.
Finally, there will be no crowd in attendance but, as the snooker proved last week, a lack of crowd does not necessarily impact the brilliance on show.
To that end, we’ve picked out our favourites to win at the 2020 Ebor Festival.
Wednesday 19 August
15.35: Juddmonte International (Group One)
Six runners should go on Wednesday’s big one, the Group 1 Juddmonte International and five of these are proven winners at the top level. For us though, the pick of the bunch is the magnificent Ghaiyyath.
Ghaiyyath, who beat the absent Enable in the Eclipse at Sandown last month, was a worthy winner of the Coronation Cup at Newmarket in June and is enjoying an outstanding season. This though could prove to be his toughest test yet given the absolute quality of this field.
An early season Novibet horse to watch, Kameko, winner of the 2,000 Guineas, also goes here as does Prince Of Wales’s Stakes winner Lord North as does the, err, magical Magical. Ryan Moore’s mount runs for Aidan O’Brien who’s charges have scooped this prize three times in seven years so don’t ignore the claims of little wizard.
As for Kameko, the significantly reduced field should mean he should avoid getting locked in as happened in his disappointing run at Goodwood, while Rose Of Kildare has his work cut out for sure but cannot be ruled out.
Thursday 20 August
15:35: Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1)
Love, the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner no less, will aim to be all you need in Thursday’s big one. Six runners have been declared for the Yorkshire Oaks.
That truth could well play out too as she has been this season’s stand out filly by some distance.
Enable should have provided the challenge but will be giving this one a miss so we need to look further afield to see where a possible fight might come from.
Frankly Darling, winner of the Ribblesdale and Franconia has shown his capabilities but can he be backed to stop Love? I’m not so sure.
Friday 21 August
15.35: Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1)
It’s hard not to imagine the majority of the money floating behind returning champion and standout runner Battaash. And why shouldn’t it?
Charles Hill’s five year old was one of the highlights of last year’s Ebor meeting, winning the Nunthorpe in devastating style and is a great shout to repeat the feat.
Battaash came in 4th in his first two Nunthorpe attempts in 2017 and 2018 before posting a winning performance last year, romping home by 3.75 lengths.
Duel victories over five furlongs this year in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood where he tore up the track record, were both superb and another dominant front-running display is expected.
Aali and Art Power will provide the challenge if there is to be one.
Saturday 22 August
15:40: Ebor Handicap (Heritage Handicap)
Fujaira Prince heads the 43 entries for Saturday’s final day of the Ebor Festival at York racecourse and the Ebor Handicap. The Roger Varian trained racer was a winner of the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot in June.
Alan King’s Trueshan took the honours at York last month and will be well backed look to make it two wins on the trot, while Deja will also be bidding for a second success in as many months.
Then there is Pablo Escobarr, who will be looking to capitalise on his win in the Group 3 Glorious Stakes at Goodwood last month and it’s here where our money will be going.
Escobarr has a win and a 2nd from two starts at the track and can be encouraged to stretch that record.