Day number two of the Ebor Festival and it features the much anticipated matchup of two of the top fillies in Europe. Snowfall, the dazzling duel Oaks heroine looks to continue to exude her dominance over the mile and a half distance, while her head rival Wonderful Tonight continues her preparation for a shot at the big prize in a few months, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Ground conditions can always play a factor, however these two squaring off will not only be an incredible showdown on the day, but will give some amazing insight into what we have heading into the end of season championship races. Action on the Knavesmire continues to speed up and with a few more days still to come, stay tuned for more!
Thursday – York
Race 1 – GII Sky Bet Lowther Stakes – 6 Furlongs, 2 Year Olds Fillies
9 – Outside World – Is really nice value in this field after two solid efforts in novice company. The distance should suit however I envision this filly stepping up to 7 furlongs for her best at some point. Her sire Iffraaj won two Park Stakes at Doncaster at 7 furlongs but placed at 6 in the July Cup. With all of that being said, her dam Nahoodh won this race during her 2 year old campaign and went on to win a GI Falmouth Stakes over the mile.
1 – Sandrine – Undefeated in 3 career starts, Sandrine backed up her triumph at Royal Ascot with an even more impressive win at Goodwood. She showed a strong turn of foot to kick clear of the field in the late stretch of the GII Duchess Of Cambridge and has now won group races on two very different track conditions. David Probert has been having a sneaky good season so far and he seems to do everything right with this daughter of Bobby’s Kitten.
5 – Illustrating – Ran a nice race last time out to win over soft ground at Goodwood. Does have a win on the firm going which will be closer to what she should see today. Will be 4th up this prep and now takes the jump up to 6 furlongs, a distance that her pedigree says should be ideal. Disappointed in what really was a tough race at Royal Ascot this season. I am willing to overlook that form line and expect her to handle any type of going in this spot.
Race 2 – Goffs UK Premier Yearling Stakes – 7 Furlongs, 2 YOs
9 – Korker – Won convincingly on a drop back to class 5 novice company a few weeks ago at Thirsk. Following two strong efforts over wet ground, trainer Karl Burke took a shot with this galloper in the GII Norfolk Stakes. Despite the fact that the horse was well off the board, he ran a decent race and stayed on despite making that massive jump up in class. I think the trip will suit and the ground shouldn’t be a problem. An extremely live chance here.
6 – Ever Given – A winner of two straight in handicap company over yielding ground, Ever Given proved a good track wouldn’t be much of a problem when running a valiant 4th last time out at Naas. This son of rising stallion Kodi Bear made a slight cut back in distance a few starts ago and it paid off. Despite the value of the race itself, this is not that big of a step up in class for him and he should be one of the more fancied runners in the field.
11 – Monsieur Jumbo – Has put together a couple good efforts especially on debut at Ayr, just missing a neck. Seemed to relish the firmer going and hasn’t seen that in recent starts. Will get pilot Kevin Stott back in the saddle who rode him in that debut run. Is yet to step up in class which is why the horse is so highly priced on the board but this young gelding by Caravaggio has shown the ability. Now he just needs to show it against better opposition.
Race 3 – Clipper Logistics Handicap – 1 Mile, 3 & Up
14 – La Trinidad – A winner in his last two starts, this runner shortened back to the mile on top of a class jump and handled it extremely well. Stays back at the mile distance for this start and gets jockey Oisin Murphy for the first time. This is not a major jump in class based on what he has been facing in starts this season and seems to be finding his best form.
8 – Fame And Acclaim – Gets the services of Hollie Doyle as this son of Acclamation steps back up to the mile. Has run well in those last two starts and appreciates the drier ground. Should be a live chance at a pretty generous price.
1 – Maydanny – Carries the top weight in the field. This son of Dubawi put together a really nice effort in his last start, albeit coming over a bit of soft ground. Trainer Mark Johnston decided to shorten this runner up for his 2021 prep and outside of getting lost in the shuffle in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot has been outstanding so far.
Race 4 – GI Yorkshire Oaks – 1 1/2 Miles, 3 & Up Fillies and Mares
2 – Wonderful Tonight – A winner of four straight and based on current odds is great value given how close in ability I believe she is with Snowfall. On paper, this could be a two horse race with the older vs the younger fillies going at it. It’s been clear throughout the season that trainer David Menuisier has one goal in mind and that is the Arc. With that being said, she has been outstanding in all of her recent starts and was really tested going 1 3/4 Miles in the Lillie Langtry Stakes last time out at Goodwood. The biggest issue that many have with Wonderful Tonight will be the firm ground. She loves it soft so there are questions but she’s talented enough to answer them.
7 – Snowfall – A dominant winner of both the Epsom and Irish Oaks this season, Snowfall has now been touted as one of the best fillies in Europe and goes into this Group 1 event with her odds reflecting that. Her turn of foot is incredible and what she showed at Epsom was visually unbelievable. One thing with Snowfall is that she also has had her best form come over ground with give in it. From a betting perspective, watch and see what the odds disparity ends up being between her and Wonderful Tonight. If Snowfall is as big of a favorite over Wonderful Tonight as she is right now, take the value on the older filly.
3 – Divinely – She is currently trading at 66/1 in the UK markets and I honestly cannot understand why. Obviously she isn’t the filly that Snowfall is, it’s possible she is in here to help set up the race for Snowfall, but at the same time her efforts have been good enough this season that she is a legitimate runner in here. She was best of the rest behind Snowfall in her dominant win of the Irish Oaks and finished 3rd in the Epsom Oaks as well. I don’t see why she couldn’t run a placing behind the two stars in the field and at the price she’s currently at, it is the best value in the race.
Race 6 – Galtres Stakes – 1 1/2 Miles, 3 & Up Fillies and Mares
2 – Cabaletta – Wasn’t particularly thrilled when this horse moved up in trip last time out and she ended up a long way last. The efforts at this distance have been very impressive without actually finding the winner’s enclosure. Her effort behind Alpinista in the Lancashire Oaks was promising especially after Alpinista went to Germany and took out an extremely competitive Group One. Expect much better this start with the cutback in distance.
4 – Forbearance – An interesting run last time out for this Jessica Harrington trainee jumping up to the 1 3/4 Miles at Leopardstown. This horse can obviously stay at long distances but I think going back to 1 1/2 Miles will be beneficial. Amazingly this runner has never been tested at this distance but has proven form at various staying trips. Hollie Doyle picks up the mount as Shane Foley does not make the trip for this start.
11 – The Portfolio – Owned by her majesty, The Queen, this filly by Deep Impact very competitive Chalice Stakes last time out at Newmarket. The main reason this filly should be a live chance will be the ground. Has raced extremely well once on the turf and getting firmer ground. She stepped up in distance last start and will be just fine staying at this distance. Ryan Moore jumps back aboard after riding her on seasonal debut at Newmarket back in April.