The big race of the Saturday racecard at York, as the final day of the Ebor Festival goes to post, the eponymously-titled Ebor Handicap headlines Saturday’s fixture on the Knavesmire.
The hugely competitive handicap is one of the highlights of the Flat racing season, and another big field will go to post for the 4.00pm contest. A field of 21 runners will go to post following the late defection of ante-post favourite Ivan Grozny, and the runners will have eyes on winners’ pot exceeding £170,000.
With such a competitive contest in prospect, we’ve taken two against the field who we think will run a big race in the famous and valuable handicap contest.
Classy stayer Vent De Force is proven in Group company and drops back into a handicap. VENT DE FORCE
) looked a stayer going places two seasons ago, winning three times from seven starts which included once over course and distance when beating Adventure Seeker in the Melrose Stakes.
Hughie Morrison’s charge went close next time at Longchamp behind Auvray, beaten just a half-length in the Prix Chaudenay; but he disappointed behind Tac De Boistron on his final start.
Lightly raced since, he made his return to action at Ascot last April with a narrow defeat behind Mizzou in the Sagaro Stakes, and he followed up with an excellent win over Trip To Paris in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown the following month.
He possibly failed to stay next time, and given a break afterwards he wasn’t seen at his best in two subsequent outings behind Max Dynamite in the Londsale Cup here, and Order Of St George in the Irish St Leger.
Possibly in need of the return after being gelding in the interim, when contesting the Coral Marathon at Sandown last month, he finished seventh to Sandro Botticelli; Hughie Morrison’s string are in much better form than they were earlier in the season, and the Hurricane Run gelding could build on that outing.
A proven Group performer, he drops back into a handicap and could still have room to manoeuvre off this mark. He’s unbeaten in handicaps, and while this is a hot one to contest, he should give a good account.
She Is No Lady (nearest) can run a bit race in Saturday's Ebor Handicap.
With rain falling on the Friday at York, any further precipitation will only enhance the chances of progressive stayer SHE IS NO LADY
) who has been improving since registering back-to-back successes last term at Carlisle and Newmarket.
Not seen to best effect in either start following the latter of those wins when sixth at Ascot behind Wonder Laish; and fifth to Mustard in the Old Rowley Handicap at Newmarket on his final start; Ralph Beckett’s charge has looked a much improved sort this time around, going down by only a neck behind Tioga Pass at Goodwood prior to resuming winning ways on the all-weather at Chelmsford when beating Serena Grae.
The Lope De Vega filly went very close against Sandro Botticelli in the Coral Marathon when last seen, producing a strong late run to go down by just a short-head behind John Ryan’s charge where the smart Pallasator was back in fourth.
There appears no real reason why she can’t be competitive in this contest, and probably still well-treated despite being raised 6lbs for that narrow defeat last time, she could still be ahead of the assessor if finding further progress.
She may prefer further rain to fall, but she is effective on good ground, and no surprise if she were to post a big run in this competitive contest.
2016 EBOR HANDICAP SELECTIONS