Talking Horses: Ghaiyyath is worthy favourite as Ebor Festival begins

Talking Horses: Ghaiyyath is worthy favourite as Ebor Festival begins


ust five runners go to post for the Juddmonte International Stakes, the Group One feature of the first day at York’s Ebor Festival. The fact that the 2,000 Guineas winner, Kameko, is the outsider of the four with a realistic chance suggests that in terms of quality, it is still very much up to scratch.

Kameko was trapped in a typical Goodwood pocket all the way up the straight in the Sussex Stakes last time and is most unlikely to suffer similar traffic problems today. He could also find some improvement for the step up to a mile-and-a-quarter as he bids to become the fifth three-year-old winner in the last seven renewals.

But he will need to find plenty to run down Ghaiyyath (3.15). Charlie Appleby’s five-year-old has come of age this year with commanding front-running successes in the Coronation Cup and Eclipse Stakes. His huge stride and ability to sustain fast fractions throughout will make him exceptionally difficult to beat as he bids for a third Group One in as many months.

York 1.45 The Phoenix Thoroughbreds operation said that it was quitting British racing with immediate effect due to “unfair” press coverage last week, but it has had seven runners in Britain since and its colours could be back in the winner’s enclosure here thanks to Magic J. Ed Vaughan’s colt was too free in front at Ascot last time out but is blinkered for the first time today and has a big chance on his winning form at Sandown in July.

York 2.15 Seven of the eight runners in the Acomb Stakes arrive on the back of a win. Cloudbridge is the likely favourite, having easily landed a novice event at Leicester on his debut, when the market had suggested he would need the experience. A price of around 7-4 looks short given the depth of competition, however, and Clive Cox’s Royal Scimitar makes more appeal at around 5-1. Three of the next four who followed him home in a Newbury novice in July were winners next time out.

York 2.45 Mogul, sixth in the Derby, improved to take the Gordon Stakes last time against several rivals who were also in the Classic line-up at Epsom. He faces some new opponents here including the unbeaten Darain – the world’s most expensive yearling in 2018 – and Roberto Escobarr, an easy course winner over 10 furlongs last month. William Haggas’s colt is bred to improve over today’s trip and looks a much better bet at around 7-1 than Mogul at almost a third of his price.

Quick guide

Greg Wood’s Wednesday’s tips

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Stratford-on-Avon 1.35 Courtandbould 2.05 Biscay Bay 2.35 Roar 3.05 Monsieur D’Arque 3.35 North Star Oscar 4.10 No Regrets 4.45 Queen Adelaide 5.20 Mon Palois 5.50 Keyboard Joan

York 1.45 Magic J 2.15 Royal Scimitar 2.45 Roberto Escobarr (nb) 3.15 Ghaiyyath 3.45 Monsieur Lambrays (nap) 4.20 Dandy’s Beano 4.50 Pure Dreamer

Bath 3.25 Dark Illusion 3.55 Coronation Cottage 4.30 Moonraker 5.00 Bold Decision 5.30 Harbour Vision 6.00 Wrath Of Hector 6.30 Mr Top Hat 7.00 Johni Boxi 7.30 Voice Of Dubawi

York 3.45 The lightly-raced Make My Day is the likely favourite after a comfortable win over 12 furlongs here on his debut for Ralph Beckett last month. He looked likely to get today’s extra half-mile but it is not a given, whereas the more experienced Monsieur Lambrays has already notched a victory over track and trip.