Neil Morrice shares all of his best bets and tips for Friday’s racing coming your way from the York Ebor Festival, Newbury, Salisbury and Wolverhampton.
Check out Neil's video preview for day 3 of York's Ebor Festival below:
YORK EBOR FESTIVAL – DAY 3
Race 1 Sky Bet Handicap
No2 JUAN DE MONTALBAN
Trainer: Kevin Philippart De Foy – Jockey: Jack Mitchell
Although saddled with plenty of weight, JUAN DE MONTALBAN has the profile of a horse that could have plenty more to offer. He’s now with his third trainer but only having a 13th race, and he’s looked better than ever in hacking up in two of his last three starts at Ascot. He smoothly accounted for multiple scorer The Whipmaster three weeks ago and is a strong stayer with an impressive turn of foot.
The one that stands out for a saver is the lightly weighted PARTY ISLAND, who in chasing down a hat-trick must not be underestimated for his astute trainer. Lightly-campaigned dual-purpose horse CORMIER also holds pretensions for a frame finish and can earn.
Race 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup (Group 2)
Trainer: Hughie Morrison – Jockey: Tom Marquand
Staying superstar STRADIVARIUS soldiers on and will bring the house down if adding to his workmanlike Yorkshire Cup triumph here back in May. The eight-year-old made new kid on the block Kyprios fight for the spoils in the Goodwood Cup and should make a good fist of landing this race in back-to-back years.
TRUESHAN was not far behind the old champ in Sussex and will relish any softening of the ground, which is entirely possible granted a threatening forecast in this part of Yorkshire. The record-breaking Northumberland Plate winner failed to menace on his only previous visit to the Knavesmire, but has built up his reputation since that 2020 blip.
While COLTRANE isn’t completely out of it he may struggle, and the one with scope for progression fresh from a dominating triumph in France is QUICKTHORN. The five-year-old is moving nicely through the Group gears, having landed a Group 3 at Sandown before making all in the Prix Maurice de Nieul (Group 2) at Longchamp. While happier in the soft, he acts on all surfaces and can emerge with a victory here as the new stable star at Morrison’s Summerdown base.
Race 3 Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes (Group 2)
No1 ROYAL SCOTSMAN (Nap)
Trainer: Paul Cole – Jockey: Jim Crowley
Baaeed’s jockey Jim Crowley knows better than most about the sensation of speed. From Baaeed it comes in his end-of-race acceleration, but on ROYAL SCOTSMAN it manifests itself throughout the shorter contest. The son of Gleneagles failed to get the required cover from which to preserve his finishing kick when third in the Coventry Stakes, but in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood he enjoyed a lovely tow into the race before making his turn of foot count in the final furlong.
With the unbeaten pair NOBLE STYLE and MARSHMAN in opposition, this is a tougher assignment, and the former looked the part in making it 2 from 2 at Newmarket. Carrying the Godolphin silks as a beautifully-bred son on Kingman he looks a force to be reckoned with, but in spite of having to give his foe 3lb ROYAL SCOTSMAN can take out the valuable prize to have his veteran trainer dreaming of past glories. He is the best bet on the card.
Race 4 COOLMORE WOOTTON BASSETT NUNTHORPE STAKES (Group 1)
No11 HIGHFIELD PRINCESS (Each Way)
Trainer: John Quinn – Jockey: Jason Hart
While this does not stand up as one of the highest quality Nunthorpes of recent times it gives punters the chance to invest in talented sprinters that can’t tick every box. One such candidate is HIGHFIELD PRINCESS, out to pull off a historic Group 1 doubleheader less than two weeks after her dominating display in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville. The Night Of Thunder mare took the bull by the horns to repel all challengers in that six and a half furlongs prize but now reverts to five.
She has only once run over the distance but there’s a versatility to the five-year-old that makes me think she can beat the two in front of her in the betting, ROYAL ACLAIM and THE PLATINUM QUEEN. The former is jumping from Listed into a Group 1 and needs to show from only three career starts that she’s ready for that, while two-year-old The Platinum Queen enjoys all the allowances and could be very hard to peg back. The handful of juveniles that have contested this historic prize have put together a good overall record, which augers well for her chances.
Race 5 Assured Data Protection EBF Fillies’ Handicap
Trainer: Roger Varian – Jockey: Andrea Atzeni
If a three-year-old is to land the trickiest race on the card then it is likely to be SHAMPION, who was impressive in going well clear of previous scorer Oriole at Windsor. The daughter of Shamardal can end the impressive sequence of AMANZOE, who looks to make this a fifth triumph from her last six starts for trainer of the moment William Haggas, but a bigger threat may emerge from STATE OCCASION, whose maturity manifested itself when she parried a strong party of younger foes at Goodwood.
Race 6 British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden Stakes
No13 SALT LAKE CITY
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien – Jockey: Ryan Moore
Galileo colt SALT LAKE CITY has a fast pedigree being out of a mare by champion sprinter Kyllachy. He made an eye-taking introduction at the Curragh and can outpoint DESERT ORDER, a Dubawi colt who was denied in a close photo at Sandown. YACOWLEF finished third in a Goodwood maiden that is working out, and could also take home a cheque.
Race 7 Sky Bet Mile Handicap
Plenty of the top stables field strong candidates for a red hot finale, but siding with local trainer Ed Bethell’s dual entry of EXMINSTER and POINT LYNAS can pay dividends. Bethell’s horses have run well through the week here, and EXMINSTER showed a liking for the course when beating GOLDEN VOICE in a tight finish back in May.
Although his subsequent efforts have been underwhelming, he could bounce back, and he’ll be a fancy price. POINT LYNAS has progressed from race to race and gamely converted on his latest outing at Redcar. The Iffraaj gelding will also be ignored in the betting. Should the race fall to a more obvious candidate then BAY OF HONOUR and OPERATING are ones to include.
Race 1 No8 SASSY BELLE (Nap)
Trainer: Ed Walker – Jockey: Saffie Osborne
SASSY BELLE is well tuned after a couple of near misses at this track and Windsor. Her second to Trillium here has been made to look very good, and she should now open her account.
Race 2 No3 ROSE PRICK (Each Way)
Trainer: Ed Walker – Jockey: Saffie Osborne
Another good opportunity for apprentice Osborne is ROSE PRICK. The No Nay Never filly chased home a good yardstick in Mehme at Salisbury and has always looked the type to do better in handicaps.
Race 1 No4 SLY MADAM (Nap)
Trainer: Sheena West – Jockey: Megan McLoughlin
SLY MADAM appears to have turned over a new leaf. The Sixties Icon filly bolted up over course and distance last week and is in great heart for this bid to defy a 5lb penalty.
Race 5 No1 STEVENSON (Each Way)
Trainer: Mick Channon – Jockey: George Bass
STEVENSON ran well to a point on first run back from a gelding operation. Though last of five in that Sandown Class3 he was only beaten five and a half lengths. The ground was faster than ideal, and his prospects will heighten should it rain.
Race 2 No9 TALAMANCA (Nap)
Trainer: Richard Spencer – Jockey: Aidan Keeley
TALAMANCA Is going to be hard to stop in his quest for a quick-fire hat-trick. He’s really turned the corner in cheek-pieces and can defy a 6lb penalty for his ready success at Catterick earlier in the week.