Day 1 – York’s Ebor Festival, Wednesday, 8/18 – By Alex Sausville

It’s festival time again in the UK as racing fans are headed on site to York Racecourse. This historic track hosts the Ebor Festival for the next four days, including three consecutive days of Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In Races. The first of our BC WAYI events features the $16 Million dollar man, Mishriff in the GI Juddmonte International. A winner of the Dubai Sheema Classic and the Saudi Cup, Mishriff is yet to achieve his illustrious Group 1 triumph in the UK and with the scratching of St. Mark’s Basilica, he now becomes the favorite to do so. He will face off with Love, a super filly who finished just behind Mishriff last time out. Another star filly joins the fray with Alcohol Free, the emphatic winner of the GI Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. A star studded field for the 2021 rendition of World Horse Racing’s 2020 “Race Of The Year”. 

 

Wednesday – York

Race 1 – Sky Bet And Symphony Group Handicap – 5 Furlongs, 3 & Up

14 – Live In The Moment – In my opinion this horse is the most in form runner of this field. Put together several strong efforts over course and distance as part of a 2020 campaign that saw him win 5 of 7 starts. Made the first start back this season on the all-weather against open company and ran a respectable race, just caught on the line for 2nd. Love this horse 2nd up for the prep. 

2 – Hurricane Ivor – Never made any impact in the Steward’s Cup at Goodwood, now cuts back in distance where he put together his best effort of the season. Made a massive impression with his run in the Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap and for that reason carries just shy of top weight in the field. Even with the extra weight today this runner stepping out of two tough heritage handicaps should be a live chance. 

17 – Copper Knight – Handled a nice return to the turf when racing in a class 2 handicap as part of the newly founded “Racing League”. Carries ten pounds less from prior starts following that slight bump up to class 2 handicap company. Has proven ability over the course here at York, as well as contesting the GI Nunthorpe two years ago. Was interested in the choice to send this horse to the all weather for two starts that did not go to plan. Happy that he is back on ground that should suit.

 

Race 2 – GIII Acomb Stakes – 7 Furlongs, 2 YOs

4 – Noble Truth – Improved 2nd time out with James Doyle aboard for Godolphin, UAE jock Royston Ffrench came in to ride on debut at Newmarket. This son of Kingman now receives the hands of Godolphin stable jockey William Buick for the first time and seems to be getting a bit better with each start. He’s third up this season and was given a nice freshening between races for this jump to Group 3 company, any maturity this horse still needs to show should be present in this one. 

3 – Imperial Fighter – Won easily on debut in a class 2 maiden, which came over soft ground. Makes the immediate jump up into group stakes company. His effort in maiden company was much tougher than the two favorites in this field who will take money due to their visually impressive triumphs in class 5 novices and maidens. Won first up on soft ground but a son of The Gurkha should have little issue with the firm going. 

 

Race 3 – GII Great Voltigeur Stakes – 1 1/2 Miles, 3 YO C&Gs

6 – Third Realm – Was not disgraced in what would be considered his only bad start of the season, that came in the GI Cazoo Derby. Has proven ability on firm and soft ground and is a stakes caliber horse. Like our Kentucky Derby field, the Epsom Derby itself can be a throwout in form for some runners due to the nature of how the race is run. With that being said, this horse does have a win over Godolphin’s Derby and King George hero in Adayar in the Lingfield Derby Trial. This looks to be a perfect spot for this horse to put together a career best effort. 

1 – Kemari – This impressive Godolphin maiden winner backed up the hype when rolling in the GII Queens Vase during Royal Ascot. He sat a great trip that day behind his stablemate and was able to kick away in the stretch. Should end up as the clear favorite in this field and is deservingly so. Is taking a cutback in distance off of that last win but really the mile and a half should be much more ideal for this son of Dubawi. 

2 – High Definition – The highly touted High Definition bottomed out as the favorite in the GI Irish Derby. I still remember how well I thought this horse ran in the GII Dante Stakes, a usual prep for the Epsom Derby. The form out of that effort has come back very strong with the rise of Hurricane Lane and 2nd place finisher Magallan dropping back to the mile and taking out the GIII Sovereign Stakes just last week. As much as I expect him to rebound, still not willing to put him on top when most likely he will be overbet. 

 

Race 4 – GI Juddmonte International Stakes – 1 5/16 Miles, 3 Year Olds

7 – Alcohol Free – Has continued to improve throughout the season and put together a career best effort to date in the GI Sussex Stakes. The form around all of her Group One efforts has been outstanding and she handled her first time against open company as well as she could. There is some solid form surrounding the International, a race that is often one of the best races on the European calendar, however she has continued to improve with every start and I think she still has a bit more improvement to come.

3 – Love – She was so hyped up early in the season that many people overreacted to her 3rd place finish in the GI King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. I understand it wasn’t her best effort, but she was defeated by two of the best horses in the world at the time and she stepped up in distance against open company for the first time. Being up against this type of competition will be a challenge for her, but she is still one of the best mares in the world and getting back to the mile and a quarter will give her an adequate opportunity to return to the winner’s enclosure. 

2 – Mishriff – The $16 Million dollar man has had trouble taking down a Group 1 race on UK soil. With the scratch of St. Mark’s Basilica, many believe this will be his best chance to do so. Was greatly disrespected in the market for the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and closed extremely well, however was no match for the dominant performance of Adayar. Will be a short price and honestly there is too much value surrounding others in the field to be taking him at 7/4 in the market. He’s a great horse, but by no means does he tower over this field.

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