Horse racing tips for the best bets on Wednesday Day 1 of the York Ebor Festival.
The 4-day Ebor Festival gets underway on Wednesday with the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes and the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes taking centre-stage.
Dealing with the Group 2 Great Voltigeur first, a competitive field of 10 have lined up for this 1m4f contest. Heading the betting is the Derby runner-up KINGSTON HILL (6/4 William Hill). Roger Varian’s son of Mastercraftsman had a progressive two-year-old season, culminating in a victory in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster. He has continued to show good form now a year older, finishing second to Australia at Epsom and then running on into fourth in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown. His latest run at Sandown was noteworthy considering the way he stayed on strongly over a trip widely regarded to be short of his optimum. Back at 1m4f he is expected to fare far better and, as he has at least 11lbs over his rivals on official ratings, he is justifiably the favourite and will take a lot of beating.
Perhaps the biggest danger could well come from one of the least exposed runners in the field – Granddukeoftuscany. Having finished sixth on his first racecourse start this colt went on to destroy a maiden field at Tipperary by 19 lengths. The form of that contest has been boosted since, with the runner-up going on to win again, and Aiden O’Brien’s first string is certainly open to huge amounts of improvement. However, he will need to improve some 20/30lbs to reach the level shown consistently by the selection.
Moving on to the first Group 1 of the meeting and, unoriginal as it sounds, it could well be another three-year-old taking the prize with AUSTRALIA (8/13 Betfred) looking to cement his dominance over this shorter distance. A colt with a impressive cruising speed, he did well to finish a close third in a strongly run 2,000 Guineas, and then followed that up with a comfortable win in the Derby. The 1m4f at Epsom seemed to suit but connections are confident that the shorter trip on offer will bring out further improvement as the colt will be able to use his natural speed to better effect. With the benefit of his weight-for-age allowance, and the potential for greater improvement, Australia will prove difficult to beat and is yet another worthy favourite, albeit at odds which don't particularly appeal.
With only a small field of six runners an attempt to find the e/w value becomes a little less worthwhile with the bookmakers only paying two places. Nonetheless, Mukhadram should certainly enter the frame with a typical front-running ride from Paul Hanagan. A solid, consistent and difficult to pass horse, Mukhadram may well have been tested just a little too far in the King George over 12f and with a return to 10f, the trip which saw him claim the Eclipse, he looks to have a good chance to finish in the placings. The small field should play to his strengths as he could well end up with an easy lead and, with the stable in flying form of late, he should not be underestimated.
3.05 – KINGSTON HILL (WIN)(NAP) (6/4 William Hill)
3.40 – AUSTRALIA (WIN) (8/13 Betfred)
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