Jordan Yates' York Ebor Festival 2018 Preview. (Nunthorpe Verdict)
The penultimate day of the York Ebor Festival and it's of course Day Three which means the feature contest is none other than the Nunthorpe Stakes, a Group 1 contest over five furlongs and widely renowned as one of the greatest sprints on the planet. Last year's renewal is one I won't personally forget anytime soon with Marsha lowering the colours of Lady Aurelia when getting up on the line following a premature celebration by Frankie. For me personally, it really was a nightmare on the Knavesmire. A fantastic spectacle though.
This year's renewal see's the horse who was well fancied last year seek redemption following his fourth placed finish after playing up at the start and that's of course Battaash for Charlie Hills. Widely regarded as one of the best sprinters in the world Battaash lived up to his lofty reputation the last day with a devastating display at Glorious Goodwood when dismantling a field with minimal effort. If turning up in the same kind of form here he'll surely be a very tough nut to crack and this is reflected in his price of 4/6. Jim Crowley once again takes the ride.
The horse that has actually beat Battaash once already the season in the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot is Charlie Applebys Blue Point and he reopposes again here. He was however disappointing when last seen when finishing seventh in the July Cup at Newmarket despite going off the 5/2 market leader. He'll need to recapture that Ascot form again if he is to give this hot favourite something to think about, he can be found in the market around the 4/1 mark and William Buick takes the ride.
Its a rather sizeable gap to the rest of the field now with Mabs Cross for Michael Dods next up at around the 14/1 mark. She's had a fine campaign consistently posting solid efforts in top company throughout. Last year's winning jockey and owner combination in Luke Morris and Elite Racing team up again here in the form of Julie Camacho's Judicial. He comes here off the back of two victories including a Group 3 the last day, you can find him trading at a general 18/1. Caspian Prince (20/1) returns to these shores for Michael Appleby following two placed efforts in Ireland and he's just followed in the market by York regular Mr Lupton (22/1) for Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan.
The two horses that made up the places behind Battaash the last day at Goodwood line up again here in Muthmir for William Haggas and the ever reliable Take Cover for David Griffiths. They both can be found in the betting around the 25/1 mark. Closely following them around the 25/1 mark is Havana Grey for Karl Burke, a talented sort on his day and got back into the winners enclosure on her penultimate start over in Ireland in Group 2 company. Aiden O'Brien has three representatives here and these come in the form of Sioux Nation (25/1) the mount of Ryan Moore, Battle Of Jericho (33/1) who's partner comes in the form of Frankie Dettori and Declarationofpeace (100/1) with Michael Hussey. Heartache for Clive Cox comes here not quite looking the force of last season and that can be reflected in her 40/1 price. The two that make up the field are Alpha Delphini for Bryan Smart and Abel Handy for Declan Carroll who are 50/1 and 100/1 respectively.
VERDICT: I can't see much stopping Battaash here and I think he'll win but he's no price so as there's some huge prices knocking about iv'e had a go at trying to find a bit of value with two each way picks. The first of these come in the form of SIOUX NATION for Aiden O'Brien. He's a horse that they thought a lot of at the start of the campaign but several below par efforts have seen him go off the boil. I still believe there is something in his locker though and if things go his way here he's got more than enough ability to sneak into the frame. The other one is HAVANA GREY for Karl Burke. He's proved that there's still an engine there when winning the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh a couple of starts back. He was a bit disappointing the last day when sixth at Goodwood behind Battaash however if turning up in the form of that run at the Curragh I'd be more than happy to chance him at the prices.
SIOUX NATION (25/1) (E/W) - HAVANA GREY (25/1) (E/W)