The £500,000 Ebor Handicap is truly one of the highlights of this entire racing season. We get to see 22 high-class runners going hell for leather around a mile and three quarters of the Knavesmire in an event featuring so many horses who will have been trained right to the minute.
With that in mind, narrowing this field down to six has been some task, but this half-dozen are the ones we reckon have most in their favour:
Away He Goes
Ismail Mohammed’s gelding is officially a couple of pounds well in here, and his most recent form is very strong indeed.
A certain stayer, the five-year-old was third to subsequent runaway Gold Cup winner Subjectivist in Dubai before finishing fifth to Hukum over this course and distance and then chasing home Trueshan in the Goodwood Cup.
Back in a handicap, things could get tough but he’s got the class and the ability to carry this weight.
There’s not one single way to win an Ebor, so while it’s great to find a potentially well-handicapped sort we know that solid Class 2 handicap form over a certain distance cannot be ignored.
With that in mind, it’s not a surprise that Charlie Appleby’s Global Storm carries Godolphin’s first colours instead of ante-post favourite Live Your Dream who is now not guaranteed a run.
Global Storm warmed up in Dubai, then finished second at Newmarket, third at Royal Ascot then second again last time in a good race back at HQ.
He’s basically now in a race with the handicapper, in as much as he’s getting better with every run but keeps being bumped up in the weights. He stays this trip, will love the ground and will handle the hustle and bustle of a big race handicap.
Yorkshire’s very own William Haggas is desperate to win an Ebor and he may never get a better chance. In stunning form of late, the yard runs four horses in the race with Hamish definitely the best of them.
Not without his problems in the past, the five-year-old won twice over this course and distance in 2019 before being beaten only a neck by Trueshan.
His only run last year was a solid fourth in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot (Group 2) and now having returned to full fitness once again has been prepared for the race of his life.
He’s definitely better than his mark of 108, loves the race conditions and has an outstanding chance of ending his trainer’s Ebor drought.
Another lightly-raced type due to injury is John & Thady Gosden’s Humanitarian, a one-time Derby runner who represents a yard that knows precisely how to ready an Ebor candidate.
Having reached a mark of 107 after the 2019 Derby, it’s fair to say that as a five-year-old he’s expected to be a deal better than that and his sole run of 2020 was a win over 1½ miles.
He’s in here off 106, now wears a good and should be capable of a big run.
The next best of the Haggas runners for us is York winner Ilaraab. Other than finishing 7th on debut and 8th last time on very soft ground behind Wonderful Tonight, Ilaraab is unbeaten having racked up six wins in a row.
The last of those wins was over a mile-and-a-half here at the Dante meeting when he took his field apart, and there’s little doubt that this has been the plan for some time.
As long as he stays the trip, which is a slight doubt, he remains very high on the list.
Johnny Murtagh has done very well with his English raiders this season and once again he and canny jockey Ben Coen have a big chance with Sonnyboyliston.
A couple of handicap wins over 1m2f last season were backed up with a mile-and-a-half Listed success this term, with his 4½-length sixth to Hukum last time showing at least a tolerance for this particular course and distance.
A cracking race once again. Both Ilaraab and Away He Goes remain of strong interest, while Godolphin’s Global Storm is rock solid both at this level and over the distance.
The most fascinating horse for certain though is HAMISH. Laid out for this race and with his trainer having always had it in mind for him after two course and distance wins as a three-year-old, Hamish is likely to have been prepared for a career peak even after a long break and achieving that would land him the huge £300,000 first prize.