York Ebor Festival - Great Voltigeur & Juddmonte International Preview.
3.00 Great Voltigeur Stakes 1m 4f (Group 2)
An outstanding week of racing lies ahead at one of my all time favourite tracks, the York Ebor Festival this year gets underway this week and i'll start my previews off with none other than the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes.
It's headed by a horse that i've been a huge fan of this year in Cracksman for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. He's been improving with each run when third in the Derby at Epsom and followed up when an extremely unlucky second in the Irish Derby behind Capri. The O'Brien mob did a job on him that day as he had to be angled out wide by Pat Smullen where he still ran on powerfully and was only just beat on the line by Capri.
I think today is the day for Cracksman, he's certainly the form horse in the race and is going to take a world of beating here. I'd potentially go as far as he's my NAP of the meeting to be honest. Out of the others here there's a few decent each way alternatives including a horse i've been keenly following this term in Mirage Dancer. I saw him make his debut last year at Doncaster and he's progressed quite nicely this term when behind Cliffs Of Moher at Chester's May Festival and Benbatl at Royal Ascot. He's still a lot to find on Cracksman though but looks a nice each way prospect.
3.35 Juddmonte International Stakes 1m 2f (Group 1)
The feature race of Day One is the Juddmonte International Stakes and it's yet again proved to be a cracking renewal. It was won last year by the mighty Postponed and could be in the hands of another superstar this time around.
This year's renewal see's Barney Roy at the top of the market for Richard Hannon on the back of his close up second placed finish in the Eclipse at Sandown and his victory in the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. I'm a huge fan of this horse and believe he is a real star. He was really keen at Sandown when just beaten by Ulysses who he'll face off with again here but I firmly believe he'll appreciate York a lot better and will reverse the form.
Churchill steps up in trip and is on somewhat of a recovery mission following his defeat to Barney Roy at Royal Ascot when an odds on shot. If showing his Guineas double form he's some force himself and will be hard to contain. His stablemate Cliffs Of Moher also goes here, he was sent off favourite for the Eclipse but met trouble in running in what was a messy contest and finished back in fourth. He ran a strong race when second at Epsom in the Derby and could just outrun his odds here of around 6/1.
The each way bet of the race for me though here has to be Shutter Speed for John Gosden and Frankie. She was hyped up for big things at the start of the season when beating superstar stablemate Enable at Newbury before going on to win the Musidora Stakes here at the Dante Meeting in conditions that were far from ideal for her. She hasn't been seen since her fourth placed effort in the Group 1 Prix De Diane and I think she's a lot better than run which wasn't at all a bad run itself. She's trading at a general 10/1 for this and I think she can run a big race at them odds.
I will be siding with Barney Roy here though to reverse the form over Ulysses and confirm his status over Churchill again. I think he has the potential to be a superstar and on a track like this where it will really suit him he should put a bold showing in for another Group 1 success.