Day three of the Ebor Festival welcomes the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes to York Racecourse. Ran over five furlongs, this year’s race has sixteen runners and is open to horses two years and older.
Will strong contender and favourite, sprinting superstar Battaash claim another Group 1 prize under Jim Crowley? Or will it be Charles Appleby’s stable star Blue Point that will return to the winner’s circle? How about Michael Dods four-year-old Mabs Cross? William Haggas is a big supporter of the Ebor Festival and runs Muthmir who is another name to keep an eye on. Half-brother to sale topper Marsha, Julie Camacho-trained Judicial is another big name among entries who is set to make his debut at Group 1 level.
Mabs Cross is certainly a talking point in the betting market. The daughter of Dutch Art has a consistent form and on the filly’s last outing she finished third in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh last month. However, the Ebor Festival will be the filly’s first time running at York.
Jim Crowley is set to ride the favourite, Charles Appleby’s superstar Battaash in the Group 1 challenge and he will be the horse everyone is striding out to beat. The son of Dark Angel has an impressive form and has finished 121 on his last three outings after having his wind done last November. The four-year-old last ran at York this time last year but had trouble loading when finishing fourth in the same contest. With the huge improvement in his form, he will take all the beating.
Fan of the Festival, William Haggas stable is represented by the ever-green Muthmir. The son of Invincible Spirit has a consistent form to date and he has finished in the top five on all of his starts in 2018 but he is now eight years of age and Haggas commented in a recent interview with Racebets:
Judicial is the older half-brother to Elite-owned Marsha, who toppled the odds-on Lady Aurelia in a photo-finish to land York’s sprint feature last year, with Battaash fourth after proving difficult to load.
The six-year-old will be reunited with Luke Morris on Friday, who rode Marsha at York for Sir Mark Prescott.
Aidan O’Brien runs four in Sioux Nation, Declarationofpeace, Washington DC and Battle of Jericho.
It will be all eyes on Battaash for the Nunthorpe Stakes.
Sky Bet Handicap
The Sky Bet Handicap kicks off day three of the four-day racing Festival. With a full field of twenty runners going to post, this one mile and four furlongs challenge could be anybody’s race. Yet there is some stand out names that are certainly worth discussing prior to making moves on the betting market.
Sir Michael Stoute’s inmate Melting Dew is set to be ridden by Ryan Moore. The four-year-old has been going from strength to strength and although he has to contend with a five-pound rise which asks even more of the four-year-old it seems he may just be up to rising to the challenge.
Charlie Appleby-trained First Nation is another strong contender in the race. The son of Dubawi improved over the season in some competitive handicaps and connections will be hopeful the four-year-old will have come on since his last appearance on the track.
Ben Curtis takes the ride aboard Karl Burke-trained Kelly’s Dino. The five-year-old won when last seen in the JGR Handicap at Ascot at the end of last month.
Others to watch include Ralph Beckett’s Pacify and Tim Easterby-trained Mukhayyam.
Selection: Kelly’s Dino
Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes
The second race to grace the York track on Friday is the Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes. A competitive field of eight runners go to post in the two and a half mile furlongs challenge and it is set to be an exciting and strong race.
The name on everyone’s lips surrounding the Lonsdale Cup Stakes is Stradivarius. John Gosden’s crack stayer has a seriously impressive form and with Frankie Dettori doing the steering, the four-year-old will be hard to beat. His form this season is currently 111 and having won Cup races at York, Ascot and Goodwood this season connections will be hopeful the son of Sea The Stars will be out to make it four in a row and in the process pick up a £1 million bonus.
Another contender is Ed Dunlop’s stable star Red Verdon who will be ridden by Jim Crowley. The five-year-old has placed second on his last four outings and will be going all out to beat the favourite.
Ballydoyle’s only representative Idaho will be ridden by stable jockey Ryan Moore and is another to keep an eye on in the betting market for each wy players. The five-year-old finished in third place to Stradivarius at Goodwood last month.
Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes
The Group 2 Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes hosts a field of nine runners and is open to colts and geldings who are two years of age. Ran over six furlongs it welcomes some interesting competitors.
Ryan Moore partners the favourite, The Irish Rover. The son of No Nay Never is a big player in the race and on his last outing finished third in the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh. Connections will be hopeful the rising star will continue to improve enough to take the title at the York track.
Shine So Bright is another player in this and William Buick takes the ride on the Andrew Balding-trained colt. The progeny of Oasis Dream looks set to run another big race after his last outing witnessed the two-year-old finish in third place to a strong field in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood.
Oisin Murphy is having a fantastic week at the Festival and has already won the Juddmonte International aboard Roaring Lion. The Irish man will mount Legends Of War who is trained by John Gosden for this Group 2 challenge. Connections of the son of Scat Daddy will be eager to see an improvement in the colt that allows him to nab the spoils.
Other names to watch out for include Richard Fahey’s Space Traveller and Charles Hills Chuck Willis.
Selection: Legends Of War