Teasing the tail…

York Ebor Festival Reflections

It’s not often that a summer racing festival lives up to pre-meeting expectations. However, York always seems to deliver – year on year.

There were plenty of good performances and stories, and the narratives’ flow continued through the four days.

This flat season has been a bit of a slow burner, with the classic generation only providing one real star performer in Alpha Centauri.

That all changed this week as the three best performances all came from the 3-year-olds.

The Lion Roars Again

The first came from Roaring Lion, who followed up his Coral Eclipse win with an even better performance to land the Juddmonte International, beating King George winner Poet’s Word by 3 ¼ lengths.

Granted, the runner-up didn’t get the best of runs, three out and had to be switched. He would have finished closer with a clearer passage, but take nothing away from the winner, he was the best horse on the day.

There was yet another disappointing effort from 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior, who could only finish 4th. A return to a mile and more positive tactics are needed if the Aidan O’Brien horse is to rescue a season that promised so much back in May.

Irish Derby winner Latrobe was a surprise runner, given that the 1m 4f had looked a minimum distance for the son of Camelot at the Curragh. He was sweating before the race, and any chance he had was probably lost before they left the stalls. The feeling that this year’s Irish Derby was a poor renewal was reinforced by his effort.

The second highlight of the week came on Thursday from Sea of Class. The Irish Oaks heroine once again showed an excellent turn of speed in winning the Yorkshire Oaks. She quickly put the race to bed, but she doesn’t do much when she hits the front. Her 2 ¼ length margin of victory looked like it would be more when she went clear inside the final furlong.

The William Haggas trained filly is getting better with each race, and is now one of the leading fancies for the Arc, although she would have to be supplemented for the Longchamp race.

The runner-up Coronet, and third placed Eziyra, both ran their races. But Magic Wand put in another disappointing effort in finishing 5th. If one was to be charitable, you could say she probably just needed the run after her illness. It looks like she may have found her level.

One place behind Magic Wand was the French Oaks winner Laurens, who had been well fancied by her trainer before the race. She was a bit keen and caught out wide, which probably didn’t help her final stages of the race. Still in contention coming to two out, but her stamina gave way a furlong from home.

It was her first start since June, but her trainer said before the race that he was happy with her fitness. For me, she just didn’t stay the trip, and a drop back to 1m 2f would see her in a better light.

The race after the Yorkshire Oaks saw the return of the John Gosden trained Lah Ti Dar. The filly had been off the track with an illness since winning the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket back at the Guineas Meeting. Her illness meant she was forced to miss the Oaks and Royal Ascot.

The filly couldn’t have been more impressive in winning the Listed Galtres Stakes by ten lengths. Taking up the running two furlongs from home, she simply galloped clear of her six rivals. The good to firm ground wasn’t a problem and if projections are right, that she will be even better filly with a bit of cut in the ground, then her improvement probably hasn’t finished yet.

A sister to So Mi Dah, La Ti Dar already looks like she will rate higher than her smart sibling.

The St Leger is now the target for the daughter of Dubawi. A best priced 7/2 with William Hill for the final classic of the season, those odds look generous to me.

York Eyecatcher

Culturati, trained by Charlie Appleby, caught the eye in the 5 ½ f handicap that started the Ebor meeting off. The 5-year-old came into the race the least experienced of the field, having only had the five starts, and winning three of them. In the circumstances, he did well to finish 4th. The gelding probably found the trip a bit on the short side on a sharp track like York, as he’s won over 7f in the past, and is 2 wins from 2 runs over 6f.

The ground wasn’t too quick on the day, which was in his favour as two of his three career wins have come with soft in the going description. He’s clearly had his training issues, but there could be more to come from him.

Something for The Weekend

Sandown Trainer Stats

After last week’s top-class racing at York. This week’s fare is of a lower quality. The best of the action looks to be at Sandown, which hosts a two-day card on Friday & Saturday.

I have delved into the stats to see if any trainers have targeted this two-day fixture in the past. Here are a handful of trainers whose runners will be worth noting:


  • Richard Fahey
  • 3 winners from 7 runners
  • Strike rate 43%
  • SP Profit +3.13
  • A/E 1.74 4
  • Placed 4
  • Place Strike Rate 57% 


  • Nursery Handicaps
  • 2 winners from 4 runners
  • Strike rate 50%
  • SP Profit +3.25
  • A/E 1.98
  • Placed 3
  • Place Strike Rate 75%


  • Mick Channon
  • 3 winners from 9 runners
  • Strike rate 33%
  • SP Profit +25.5
  • A/E 3.45
  • Placed 4
  • Place Strike Rate 44%


  • Sir Michael Stoute
  • 2 winners from 7 runners
  • Strike rate 29%
  • SP Profit +4.5
  • A/E 2
  • Placed 2
  • Placed Strike rate 29%


  • Runners having their 1st run at Sandown
  • 2 winners from 4 runners
  • Strike rate 50%
  • SP Profit +7.5
  • A/E 3.23
  • Placed 2
  • Placed Strike rate 50% 

All runners:

  • Simon Crisford
  • 2 winners from 2 runners
  • Strike rate 100%
  • SP Profit + 10.5
  • A/E 6.06


  • David Menuisier
  • 1 winner from 3 runners
  • Strike rate 335%
  • SP Profit +3.5
  • A/E 2.86
  • Placed 2
  • Placed Strike rate 67%


  • Charlie Appleby
  • 2 winners from 5 runners
  • Strike rate 40%
  • SP Profit +0.13
  • A/E 1.8
  • Place 3
  • Placed Strike rate 60%


  • 2 Year Olds
  • 2 winners from 4 runners
  • Strike rate 50%
  • SP Profit +1.13
  • A/E 2
  • Placed 3
  • Placed Strike rate 75% 


Good luck with this week’s punting.

Until next week.
All the best,

John Burke
for The Race Advisor

John Burke

I have a MA in International Politics and having spent a number of years working in political campaigning but I eventually I realised that politics was not the world where I wanted to work I had been interested in horse racing since the late 1980s but in the early years I was merely just betting and watching racing like most people as a bit of fun and a hobby, then the hobby becomes a passion and that’s what happened to me with horse racing. I soon realised that to make money from my hobby I had to learn as much as I could about the sport and betting in general. The whole process took time but after a number of successful years of betting, I decided in 2011 to take the plunge, gave up my full time day job and decided to bet on horse racing as a part time business and I haven’t looked back since. I like to specialise in the better class of races and I love to solve the puzzles posed by big field handicaps the latter races often provide punters with great value betting opportunities. Whilst most of my time is spent reviewing previous races I like to keep things as simple as possible as even the biggest field handicaps can usually be pruned down to half a dozen strong contenders with the right sort of approach.
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