Now a half-million pound race (worth £1 million next year) the Ebor remains one of the biggest races in Europe and with that one of the most competitive.
The mile-and-three-quarter test is one of the quickest paced, enfeebling staying races on the calendar but the challenge of finding the winner is taken up and we have six against the field for you to mull over:
Roger Charlton has already landed one of the other major staying handicaps with Withhold in the Northumberland Plate and stands a more than reasonable chance of adding this title to his list of seasonal honours with Blakeney Point.
Despite finishing fourth, fifth and fourth in his three runs this term he has been gradually improving and although he’s had 22 runs thus far he looks about ready to reach his peak.
Trainer Jim Goldie landed York’s other major summer handicap the John Smith’s Cup with Euchen Glen back in July and has sneaked this in-form six-year-old into the handicap for the Ebor with every chance of winning it.
A fine winner over this trip at the Glorious meeting he is another who has improved with age and stays all day, meaning he will be doing his best work when plenty of others have already given up the ghost.
The admirable Danny Tudhope takes the ride and he knows his way around York, help from the saddle being crucial in a race of his nature.
There was a nervous wait for Irish based National Hunt superstar Willie Mullins to see if the ante-post favourite would get a run, but get a run he does.
It’s hard to argue with the layers who rate him a major chance in this despite the competitive nature of the race, his win at Newbury last time little more than a procession leading to floods of money for him to win this as far back as July.
That win was achieved over an extended two miles however and the extra pace required here could yet find him out, though as a lightly raced type there is little doubt that there is more to come from him and in Robert Winston he is another runner with a course specialist jockey on board.
This is a most interesting entrant from Tom Dascombe’s yard and a rarity in that he is now a Group winner going back into handicap company.
The four-year-old son of Teofilo has done nothing but improve, as he is entitled to do at this stage of his career, having had a loosener at Haydock before routing his field over a mile-and-a-half down at Newbury in June.
He was sent off favourite for the Old Newton Cup on his home turf but struggled slightly that day before rocketing back to form back at Haydock again in the Group 3 Rose of Lancaster Stakes, winning by over three lengths.
Given that two of his best performances were over a mile-and-a-half it’s a fair assumption that he will be able to stay the extra two furlongs saving ground from a good draw and rates an outstanding chance at a good price.
TIME TO STUDY
We can simply never rule out one of Mark Johnston’s runners in these big handicaps and so Time To Study has to get a mention despite being on a 7-race losing run this season. He’s run 6th in the Northumberland Plate and second to Torcedor this season which should tell you he’s no forlorn hope.
Another four-year-old with his best days yet to come, John Gosden’s Frankel colt was earmarked for Group success but hasn’t quite managed to land one at that level as yet.
He remains capable though and should stay, so off a mark of 112 he’s not out of this and we’ve seen already this week the capabilities of Frankie Dettori around this track.
It’s easy to see why Roger Charlton’s Blakeney Point has been punted, though as the betting suggests he has it all to do to beat Willie Mullins’ Stratum who remains of great interest.
Taking a punt at a bigger price though, it would be no surprise to see 1m4f handicap and 1m2f Group 3 winner TEODORO hit the front quite early under Richard Kingscote and he’ll be harder to peg back than most think. He’s young, improving, loves this going and could be one to find extra for going up in trip.