This week’s article focuses on the horse racing festival, the Ebor Festival. The “Royal Ascot of the North” usually delivers a great four days racing and this year was no exception. The meeting may have started with more rain than was expected but there were three drying days and by Saturday the racing was taking place on going on the quick side of good as indeed it should be.
For those of you like your micro angles, remember to check out my other blogs that will be published, tomorrow and Thursday. This week, I have a Sir Michael Stoute one for you and also two Sandown angle’s that will hopefully provide you with a runner or two this Friday & Saturday. This weekend’s racing doesn’t look great and I haven’t done a big race trends preview this week.
Cracksman Aims For Four-Year Old Career
Before we get onto the good stuff, I will take a look at last week’s best performance and to be honest, it was a tough decision on which one to focus on given the wins by Enable in the Yorkshire Oaks and Ulysses in the Juddmonte International but for me, the performance of the week has to be Cracksman winning the Great Voltigeur on Day 1. The three-year-old has only had five starts and he is a rapidly improving colt and stamped himself the best three-year-old colt in Europe with this win.
This was only his 5th career start and he has won three times, as well as finishing 3rd & 2nd in the Epsom & Irish Derby’s. This was his best run so far, not just to Racing Post Ratings (RPR’s), but also visually too. He quickened up nicely to lead three furlongs out and soon drew clear of his rivals and galloping on strongly to the line. He was 6 lengths clear of the 2nd Venice Beach with Mirage Dancer a further 6 lengths back in 3rd.
Normally you would be thinking of a tilt at the St Léger for a winner of the Voltigeur but not for Cracksman. Sadly it underlines that the status of the last classic of the season has declined in the breeding world.
His trainer John Gosden has always since the son of Frankel as a 4-year-old in the making. It’s possible that he could head for Chantilly for one of the Arc trials next month although a tilt at the Arc itself looks unlikely this year.
Given he is improving with racing and also gets the four-year-old colts allowance and we have seen what happened to Almanzour who stayed in training as four-year-old but has now been retired after a lifeless run last time, so maybe connections will roll the dice after all and at present he looks the main challenger to his stablemate Enable.
This Weeks Eyecatcher’s
Four of this week’s eyecatcher’s come from the Ebor Festival with one from Newmarket.
Wednesday August 23rd
Hoof It – Michael Easterby – The 10-year-old returned to form last year and showed even at the age of 10 that he hadn’t lost his enthusiasm for racing when finishing 6th in the Goodwood Stewards Cup. He was also staying on well to finish a 2 ¼ length 6th in this 5 ½ f Class 2 handicap. He might be a slightly better horse at 6f these days and the rain that fell before racing probably wasn’t in his favour as he is only 1 win from 18 runs on going softer than good. Likely that races such as the Portland Handicap and Ayr Gold Cup will be on his agenda next month. Whatever his fate in those contests there is still a handicap in him His stablemate Hoofalong also ran well enough to be worth noting for the autumn. He was a bit slow away at the start which didn’t help his chance but still ran well enough to finish 7th here. Like Hoof It the 7-year-old would prefer a sounder surface and he back down to his last winning mark.
Thursday August 24th
Big Baz – William Muir – The seven-year-old won two listed races back in the autumn of 2015. Last year he only ran twice, well beaten on both occasions. He hadn’t shown much in his three starts this season either but ran a much better race in this 1m Class 2 handicap. He didn’t make the best of starts here either which didn’t help his cause but he was finishing his race of really well to take 6th in a race where not many got into the race from the rear. This was a very encouraging performance with autumn in mind. The trainer has had a quiet summer but his horses are running well of late. A mile and good or softer ground suits on turf and he also like’s the synthetics with 4 winners from 10 runs 7 placed. He seems to go well in the latter part of the year being 5 winners from 9 runs 56% +47.25 8 placed 89% when racing between September to December. He has now dropped to a winnable mark if he builds on this promising run.
Friday August 25th
Commander Han – Kevin Ryan – The first of two juveniles in this weeks tracker horses. The trainer’s horses are really making up for lost time after suffering from the herpes virus earlier in the season. The colt is clearly held in regard by his trainer to be pitched into this valuable Class 2 maiden. Opening up 16/1 on the course he was well punted to make a winning debut and was sent off just 9/1. He totally fluffed the start which cost him any chance he had but this was a race full of promise as he stayed on nicely to finish 9th. He should stay a mile at three and probably be most effective with some ease in the ground. Given the market support for him, he should leave this form well behind on his next start. I am sure connections will be hoping they have 100+ horse on their hands.
Saturday August 26th
Mayleaf Shine – Iain Jardine – The fitting of the hood has now produced two good performances from the filly. At Musselburgh she didn’t get the best of runs but was just touched off for 2nd on soft ground. She didn’t run quite to that form here but nonetheless, she was once again doing her best work at the finish to grab 4th. The three-year-old also did best of those racing close to the stands side with the three finishing ahead of her all racing more to the favoured far side. I think she can be competitive off her present mark in a strongly run 5f and on softer ground than she faced here. The hood has helped her settle better and although she didn’t seem to stay 6f on her one start over that trip when trained In Ireland, that was in Group 3 race and I wouldn’t rule her out over an extra furlong.
Betty F – Jeremy Noseda – I was very impressed with the juvenile as she made a winning racecourse debut. The daughter of Frankel was sent off at odds of just 5/2 which indicated how well regarded she is. The trainer got the filly’s dam to win three times both on turf and all weather and there is a good chance that the daughter could be even better than her dam. She clearly appreciated the quick ground and despite being slightly green in the early stages of this 6f maiden. She showed a nice change of pace inside the final furlong to get to the front in the final strides and won with a fair bit in hand. An extra furlong will suit her and she could stay a mile as a three-year-old. She has entries in the Group 2 Rockefel Stakes (7f) and the Group 1 Cheveley Park(6f). Whilst it wouldn’t be wise to get too carried away with the bare form but she will rate higher with racing and looks decent filly in the making. She would be interesting one for a nursery at somewhere like Doncaster if she gets a sound surface
All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable week’s punting.