Saturday Preview – Can King Johnston Win The Ebor?

The Ebor takes centre-stage on Saturday as 22 horses will compete to win the prestigious handicap. King’s Advice has been the remarkable handicap improver all year and it’ll be intriguing to see if he can put the cherry on top of what’s already been a great season. Land Of Oz is the other big improver and looks the one to beat in the Melrose, while Speak In Colours can gain compensation in the City Of York Stakes.


Strensall Stakes

A quality field of six go to post for this Group 3 where the disappointing Bangkok tries to get his career back on track but I don’t see him being good enough to take this.

The classy Wissahickon was a red-hot favourite on all-weather finals day at Lingfield but came up well-short behind Matterhorn. We haven’t seen him in action since then but he was a good winner of the Cambridgeshire on his last start on the turf and can regain the winning thread.

The other horse with a clear chance on form is Zaaki who was poor in the Lennox but previous to that won the Diomed Stakes and finished second in the Summer Mile.

Selection: Wissahickon

Melrose Handicap

This handicap for three-year-olds looks very difficult to pick apart but with the Sir Mark Prescott team in such good form, Land Of Oz must be high on everyone’s list. He’s progressed from a lowly mark of 58 and he can continue to progress.

Land Of Oz

Eminence has only won once in eight starts but has got some strong form in the book including a third place in the King George V Stakes. He’ll need the rub of the green if he’s to win this but Aidan always seems to get more from these runners.

William Haggas runs the thrice-raced Hamish who’s rating of 92 looks on the high side based on what he’s achieved so I’ll look elsewhere.

Selection: Land Of Oz

City Of York Stakes

Laurens is one of the most likeable horses in training and gained her first Group 1 one the season in Deauville last month. She is a credit to her connections and is the one they all need to beat.

The Wokingham winner Cape Byron found things tough in the July Cup but if he reproduces his /ascot run then he could feature. Speak In Colours was a big eye-catcher in the Lennox Stakes where he didn’t get the smoothest of passages and is my idea of the winner.

Le Brivido has been very disappointing since joining the Ballydoyle team and although I don’t see him winning, an eye should be kept on him.

Selection: Speak In Colours

Ebor Handicap

This historic handicap is one of the best races of the season and could be won by one of the most progressive horses of the season King’s Advice. Since joining Mark Johnston he’s won eight of his nine starts and just continues to improve. The draw of 19 could have been better and I find it hard to see him winning the Ebor.

The lightly-raced Withhold returned from injury to land the Marsh Cup at Newbury and although he’s got the class to win this I think he’ll struggle to give weight away to all his rivals.

Baghdad has been a model of consistency this season and ran well in a Group 3 at Goodwood most recently. I think he’ll run well but a mark of 109 may be on the high side.


The horse I like in the race is Barsanti who hasn’t won for over a year but has started to drop to a nice mark. Roger Varian’s inmate has form figures of “1212” at York and with the addition of first-time blinkers, I think he’ll get his head in front.

Selection: Barsanti


Celebration Mile

This looks like a great renewal of the Celebration Mile with all six runners holding claims. Skardu ran two fine races in the Irish and English Guineas. He followed them up with a fourth-place finish in the St James’s Palace Stakes. This is a strong piece of form and he should be hard to beat.

Duke Of Hazzard has been pretty heavily campaigned this season and continues to progress with wins in listed and group company on his last two starts.

Duke Of Hazzard

Richard Hannon’s Beat Le Bon was a good winner of the Golden Mile on his last start and off a mark of 110 he should be right there at the finish.

Andrew Balding’s Happy Power put up a career-best to finish under two lengths behind Too Darn Hot in the Sussex Stakes. If he reproduces that ran then he could trouble the principals.

Selection: Skardu

Prestige Stakes

Any one of the nine runners could win this contest. Boomer showed the benefit of her debut run when easily taking her maiden at Newbury, The daughter of Kingman is an exciting prospect and is one to follow.

Shadn put a poor run in the Queen Mary behind her in the Rose Bowl and although she’s a nice type, I think there may be better horses in here.

Vividly is another that falls into the could be anything bracket having won her maiden in taking fashion at Goodwood. this is a big step up in class but on pedigree, she should be at home over seven furlongs.

Selection: Boomer


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