Things to Consider Before Placing Your Ebor Festival bets

York opens its doors on Wednesday for one of the most celebrated and excited events in the calendar as the Ebor Festival gets underway. Highlights of the four-day event include the Group 1 Juddmonte International, the Nunthorpe Stakes, the Great Voltigeur, the Yorkshire Oaks and of course the Ebor Handicap. A total prize pot of £4.4 million has been stumped up for the festival and it has attracted some of the leading horses from across the UK and beyond. It will be one of the biggest betting events of the year and there are certain stats and trends that punters might like to keep in mind before placing wagers, so we have rounded up some key points to take into consideration:

Calibre is crucial in the Juddmonte

The Juddmonte is the standout race of the festival, with a £540,000 prize purse and leading runners Barney Roy, Churchill, Ulysses and Shutter Speed on the card. Thirteen of the last 15 winners of this race had already won at Group 1 level, and 12 of 15 went off at odds of 9/2 or shorter. That suggests that experience is imperative here and the favourites typically perform strongly. Four of the last 15 winners were from the Aiden O’Brien and stable and he trains the second favourite, Churchill, who is 11/4 in the racing odds and looks a great shout after winning two Group 1 races already this year.

 

Going should be good

Showers are expected in York on Wednesday, which will soften the track, but for the majority of the festival dry, sunny conditions are anticipated. Horses that respond well to good or good to firm going are likely to thrive at the Ebor this week.

No American-trained horse has ever won the Nunthorpe

That spells bad news for favourite Lady Aurelia, who is 13/8 with Sun Bets. She will be travelling over the Atlantic for the second time this year and that could take its toll on her. The last time a non-European horse won this race was in 2012 when Australian runner Ortensia seized glory, so history is against Lady Aurelia. Battaash, the 7/4 second favourite, has a great chance, coming into the Nunthorpe on the back of a three-race winning streak. A third of the previous 15 Nunthorpe winners had won their previous race, while two-thirds were previous Group race winners. The classy Battaash ticks all the boxes, and Marsha (10/1) looks a good each-way shot after habitually placing throughout the season.

Sir Michael Stoute rules the Great Voltigeur

The legendary trainer has won this race no fewer than seven times, most recently in 2013. This year he is responsible for the second favourite, Mirage Dancer, a promising three-year-old bay colt who recently placed in the Hampton Court Stakes at Ascot. At odds of 6/1 Mirage Dancer looks a great each way option as he has always been there or thereabouts in his fledgling career and Stoute knows how to get the job done in this race. Thirteen previous winners of the Great Voltigeur have gone on to win the St Leger, so it is an extremely prestigious race and one worth keeping a close eye on.

Haggas loves York

William Haggas is easily the most successful trainer at this track, with a record of 42 wins and 79 places from 178 rides. That is a win rate of 23.6% and a place record of 44.4%, putting him well ahead of the second most successful trainer, Richard Fahey. It is worth following Haggas’ runners closely at the Ebor Festival as he knows the course inside out and relishes a battle on it.

Ebor Handicap suits five-year-olds

Fourteen of the last 15 winners were aged six or less. Last year six-year-old Heartbreak City claimed victory, but younger horses have been the dominant force over the past decade. Eleven of the last 15 winners have been aged four or five, so that could be something to consider, while 12 of the last 15 have come from a double-figure stall. There is a huge number of runners in this race, so that could help you rule out a large chunk. Eight of the last 15 favourites have finished out of the places, and there has been just one winning favourite since 1999, so backing a longer shot could pay dividends. The four-year-old Wild Hacked fits the bill at 20/1 as he has enjoyed a strong career and is in great shape.

Author bio

Martin Green is an experienced tipster and horse racing correspondent.

5.25 Nottingham, Tuesday, August 15

Our Kid was a first-time-out winner in a small novice auction race over 5 furlongs at Wolverhampton in May and, although disappointing on both turf starts over 6 furlongs since being gelded, the son of Elnadim has the potential to do better now that he’s switched to nursery company. Trainer Richard Fahey has a healthy 14-58 (24%) strike rate with his juveniles at Nottingham over the last five seasons and Our Kid is reunited with winning jockey Tony Hamilton, so an improved performance wouldn’t be a complete surprise.

It’s fair to say that Our Kid hardly leaps off the page as a readymade winner-in-waiting, but that should be reflected in his price and he’s in good hands to make the most of his ability. Looking on the bright side, Richard Fahey is showing a profit of 39.58 points in nursery handicaps over the last five seasons, so perhaps Our Kid can add to his winning tally.

Selection: Nottingham 5.25 Our Kid to win 14/1

Top jockeys of 2017

With many of the season’s big races come and gone, the contest to be Champion Jockey has become a one-horse race, with Silvestre de Sousa streets head of his rivals.

The Brazilian already has 142 winners to his name – 10 more than when he scooped the top prize back in 2015 – with many more rides before the end of the season.

The 36-year-old played down his chances of regaining the title from Jim Crowley at the start of proceedings but has an excellent strike rate of 21.42%.

He is in red-hot form at present, with 11 wins from 32 outings in the week to August 6 including three at Glorious Goodwood, and has also been kind to those who like to bet each-way, with a 42.38 place percentage.

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Luke Morris has to be applauded for his work rate, with an incredible 860 runs this term and 111 winners.

It is due to the volume of work he gets through that he is second on the list of winners as he has a strike rate of just 12.91%.

Joe Fanning has ridden 98 winners with a win percentage of 17.92 but has a battle on his hands to take third place, with Adam Kirby sitting on 94 winners and Crowley on 92.

Ryan Moore has been Champion Jockey on three occasions but will not make it four this year and he is in sixth place at present.

However his win percentage of 23.18 is way ahead of any other jockey who races regularly in the UK.

Frankie Dettori is slightly ahead in that category but the Italian legend has only raced 161 times to Moore’s 358.

It is not just about the number of wins but the quality of races involved and Moore has guided Winter to glory in the Group One Nassau Stakes while partnering Churchill to success in both the 2000 Guineas and Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh.

He was on board Highland Reel to claim the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and on the same animal when taking Epsom’s Coronation Cup and is clearly someone who can handle the pressure.

Dettori only has 38 winners but those include a couple of Group One victories with the superb Enable.

The filly won both the Oaks and Royal Ascot’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes while he also guided Lancelot Du Lac to glory in the Qatar Stewards’ Cup Handicap at Goodwood.

Crowley won 148 races in the 2016 campaign and will not match that number this year but he also has some top-class wins on his CV.

The Englishman rode Ulysses to victory in the Eclipse Stakes, beating Barney Roy in the process, while he tasted further Group One success with Here Comes When in Goodwood’s Sussex Stakes.

William Buick has been in the winner’s circle 66 times from 308 attempts and continues to have success in the biggest races, guiding Ribchester to Group One success in both the Queen Anne Stakes and Lockinge Stakes while he lost out by a neck on board the same horse in the Sussex Stakes.

Mention must also go to Italian Andrea Atzeni who has an excellent success rate of 21.19% and took the Goodwood Cup with Stradivarius.

Goodwood 2.25, Wednesday, August 2

glorious goodwoodAlthough still not fully exposed, On To Victory has improved since being gelded last October. Following a facile, 8-length win in a 0-95 contest at Salisbury two starts ago, the Rock Of Gibraltar gelding failed by just a neck and short head to defy a 6lb penalty in a similar race at Newbury eights days later. In fact, Eve Johnson Houghton’s three-year-old was probably the ‘moral’ victor on that occasion because, not only was the ground as fast as he’d want it, but the muddling pace was against him, too.

The handicapper has inevitably had his say, such that On To Victory steps up into 0-105 company off a 4lb higher mark than at Newbury. However, it’s difficult to argue that the weight rise isn’t justified and, back on slightly slower ground with a more generous pace to run at, On To Victory looks a decent bet to resume winning ways.

Goodwood 2.25 On To Victory to win (8/1 with Bet Stars, Paddy Power, Boylesports and Betfair Sportsbook)

Summer of Racing

There is still plenty of top racing to get stuck into during the rest of 2017 and it will be to the north of England that attention turns later in August.

York’s prestigious Ebor Meeting gets under way on Wednesday, August 23, with the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes the undoubted centrepiece of the four-day meeting.

Run over a mile-and-a-quarter on the Knavesmire, it attracts some of the best Flat horses around and could well see Churchill, Barney Roy and Ulysses go head to head.

Barney Roy heads the ante-post market at 11/4 and Richard Hannon will be looking for some payback after losing by a nose to Ulysses (3/1) in the Coral-Eclipse.

A repeats of his display in taking the St James’s Palace Stakes would go down well for connections but Churchill (9/1) might also have say in proceedings especially if he can bounce back to winning ways at Glorious Goodwood.

Another Group One contest, the Yorkshire Oaks, brings together many of the leading three-year-old fillies over a mile-and-a-half.

King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Enable has been slated for an outing and is as short as 1/3 to claim the spoils.

However, Aidan O’Brien’s Coronation Stakes winner Winter, currently on offer at 12/1, might have a say in proceedings.

A few familiar faces may well line up in the Irish Champions Stakes on September 9, with Cliffs of Moher (6/1) and Jack Hobbs (10/1) thought to be in the frame for a Leopardstown run out.

The former was runner-up to Wings Of Eagles in the Derby but fourth in the Coral-Eclipse while Jack Hobbs has fluffed his lines twice since winning a Group One in Dubai back in March.

Doncaster’s Group One St Leger takes place on September 16 and the world’s oldest Classic might well see a rematch between Aidan O’Brien’s Irish Derby winner Capri (3/1) and Cracksman (6/1), who was just beaten a neck on that occasion.

Scottish racing will be to the fore in late September, with the six-furlong Ayr Gold Cup one of the season’s most sought-after sprint handicaps.

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Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire Meeting follows soon after which includes the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes but as Halloween approaches, it will be back to Ascot for British Champions Day on Saturday, October 21.

There is something for everyone, with sprints and longer distance contests and, while it is too early to safely say which stars might grace the Group One Champion Stakes, Almanzor has been priced at 8/1 to defend his crown at the Berkshire track.

The four-year-old has not been seen since claiming the spoils under Christophe Soumillon but it is sure to be a tough task with the quality on show.

National Hunt racing will take prominence later in the year, with the prestigious Ladbrokes Gold Cup at Newbury always popular for jump racing fans, while Kempton’s King George VI Chase over the festive period might well see the likes of Thistlecrack (3/1), Sizing John (4/1) and Douvan (6/1) do battle once again.

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