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There’s four days of top-class action starting on Wednesday from the Knavesmire on ITV Racing. York racecourse will be buzzing with packed stands for the Ebor Festival.
We start off with a sprint handicap over 5f and Tim Easterby’s Copper Knight bounced back to form with a really good run at Doncaster last time when second to Tenaya Canyon. He likes this fast track and is a five-time winner on it, is very versatile regarding the ground conditions and is still on an attractive handicap mark. There’s lots in his favour for the opening race of the 2021 Ebor Festival.
It was a really taking debut performance by Hugo Palmer’s Dubawi Legend who bolted up at Doncaster by five lengths. He was very well backed on the day and didn’t disappoint. Jockey James Doyle also rode one of today’s rivals, Noble Truth to victory last time but sticks with Dubawi Legend and is in a very strong position to judge the form of both.
Richard Hannon’s Ehraz looks the main danger is the danger as he came forward from his first run when second to Noble Truth at Newmarket last month to then win a 6f Maiden Stakes at Ascot comfortably a fortnight later.
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The 1m 4f Great Voltigeur Stakes is the first graded race on the card and has been a decent trial for next month’s St Leger at Doncaster in the past. Aidan O’Brien fires three darts at the board with Ryan Moore likely to get the leg up on High Definition.
He ran very well in the 1m 2f Dante Stakes at this venue last May when third behind subsequent Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris winner, Hurricane Lane. High Definition disappointed in the Irish Derby when sent off favourite, but can bounce back now and gets the nod over this longer trip.
The feature race of the day is the Group 1 Juddmonte Stakes over 1m 2f which throws up a fascinating clash between the three-year-olds and the older horses.
Alcohol Free steps up in trip to 10 furlongs for the first time and the big question is, will she stay after two impressive performances when winning at Royal Ascot and Goodwood over a mile. Last season’s
Futurity Stakes winner Mac Swiney subsequently won the Irish 2,000 Guineas, beating stable companion Poetic Flare and has to be respected.
John Gosden’s Mishriff is coming to the boil nicely and finished in front of Love in the King George VI Stakes at Ascot. There’s no pacemaker in the field for Love who was very impressive on debut at Royal Ascot, but was then third at Ascot, beaten by Epsom Derby winner Adayar with Mishriff in second. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of last season’s dual Classic winner though this season and I hope she can show us that level of form again now.
Irish challenger Arcadian Sunrise is an interesting runner for John Queally. He has not had that much experience of Flat racing, having mainly run over hurdles, but was a decent third in a Curragh handicap behind Dalton Highway, before winning a nice pot over timber at the Galway Festival.
He is unexposed over this trip on the level and there could be more to come.
The Ed Walker-trained filly beat my selection in the first race, Copper Knight, at Doncaster last time. Saffie Osbourne rides again and with her 5lb negating the winning penalty, the three-year-old Tenaya Canyon can prove she is still on the up by going close again.
A dual winner already this season, trainer Richard Hannon sent him to Ireland for the very valuable Ballyhane Stakes at Naas where he was second to a really smart horse called Sacred Bridge, trained by Ger Lyons. If Bosh runs to that level again now, he should go very close in the finale on day one.
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