BIG RACE PREVIEW: For many, the race of the week. The historic Ebor Handicap highlights the final day of York. Our Big Race Preview looks at the stats and tries to narrow down the big field.
Haggas Takes Dead Aim At Ebor
There is one place to start in Europe’s richest handicap and that is with the William Haggas trained Hamish. Almost every runner in this stellar field will have been trained with this race in mind however if there is one horse to firmly pin that label to then it has to be this horse. Twice a course and distance winner in two top class handicaps, the second of which he turned into an absolute procession. He appeared only once last season and that was in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot where he finished a very creditable fourth with a former Epsom Derby winner (Anthony Van Dyck) a neck behind in fifth. He has not run since and one suspects his shrewd trainer has been protecting the handicap mark with this race firmly in mind.
When looking at the 10 year trends then Hamish also ticks a number of boxes here with his age, official rating and draw all registering strongly on the scale. The only real query is the ground. Although he won the Melrose Handicap over course and distance on good to firm ground, the rest of his form has been produced with cut in the ground and a drop of rain certainly wouldn’t go amiss for the son of Motivator. In fact he may not run if the forecast showers do not materialise.
What of the rest? A contingency of Irish horses follow Hamish in the betting and these consist of Sonnyboyliston, Mirann and Mt Leinster. Sonnyboyliston has been performing with great credit in listed and Group 3 company this season and he got a sighter over course and distance in July when sixth of ten to the top class Hukum. He has a rock solid profile and fits a number of trends but like Hamish, quick ground would be a concern. Stablemate Mirann brings a progressive profile to the race and he will be stepping up to 14 furlongs for only the second time in his career and that could bring about some further improvement. As for Mt Leinster, then he is trained by a genius and he could have 10lb in hand but can a horse who has largely been plying his trade in national hunt flat races and hurdles races be good enough to beat potential group horses?
Ilaraab and Tribal Craft are two more horses who bring progressive profiles to the race but again the latter may need rain to truly show her best. The former has always looked an ideal type for this race and although he found out a little at Group 2 level last time, he shouldn’t be underestimated even as a stablemate of the fascinating Hamish.
Alternatives: Ilaraab / Mirann (both each-way)
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