Day 3 of the Ebor Festival closes out a strong slate of Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In Races with the GI Nunthorpe Stakes for the sprinters. No Battaash this time around but still a full field of talented European sprinters, as well as one US raider making his way back to UK soil. Golden Pal, a Breeders’ Cup winner last year looks to book his ticket to Del Mar this season and takes his dominant turf sprinting form to the Knavesmire. He faces off with star French filly Suesa, who showed her ability when rolling home to take the GII King George Qatar Stakes.
Leading off the stakes action on Friday will be the return of Stradivarius, looking to take out in his 3rd GII Lonsdale Cup. He takes on a field of five with his competitors being the wet track guru in Trueshan, as well as another top class stayer in Spanish Mission. From 5 Furlongs to 2 Miles, the stakes action continues to roll on at the Ebor Festival!
Friday – York
Race 2 – GII Lonsdale Cup Stakes – 2 Miles, 3 & Up
2 – Spanish Mission – Have been waiting for the opportunity when Spanish Mission will get the conditions to suit and can take down the stayers at the top of the division. I believe this is the right spot. As long as the skies do not open up in favor of Trueshan, Spanish Mission will have every opportunity to turn the tables. His lone win this season came at this course back in May and has run admirably this season. I don’t think he’s an upset chance in this spot, I think he is the most likely winner if the ground stays the way it is.
3 – Stradivarius – This superstar still has a lot of ability and as a two-time winner of this staying contest, he’s no stranger to the Knavesmire. Despite that, I don’t believe he is at the same level as he was in the past and could have trouble competing against the best in the division. With the amount of rain that came at Goodwood they decided to scratch out of that contest to head to York. Not willing to take him at even money.
1 – Trueshan – If Alan King could ask for one wish heading into Friday, it would be to see a good amount of rainfall cover the Knavesmire. A dominant winner of the GI Goodwood Cup, albeit a bit of a depleted Group One due to the withdrawal of Stradivarius and the injury to Subjectivist. Hollie Doyle has had quite the affinity with this gelding and looks to continue that strong association over ground that may not suit.
Race 3 – GII Gimcrack Stakes – 6 Furlongs, 2 Year Old Colts & Geldings
2 – Lusail – Given a bit of time to freshen up following his hard fought triumph in the GII July Stakes at Newmarket. That effort was as game as you will see from a 2 year old, having to re-rally between runners to get up on the line. Should be able to handle any track condition and has shown the maturity of an established three year old. See how he progresses but he could be anything going forward.
5 – Eldrickjones – Yet to find the winner’s enclosure in four career starts, however his efforts over firm going have been very good and has shown the ability that with a little luck can upset a nice group race. Shortens back to the 6 furlongs for this contest and is a great value play.
5 – Fearby – Has strong form over soft and firm ground so little worry about that heading into Friday. A dominant winner while running wide in the stretch at Sandown and handled the step up to the GIII Molecomb Stakes very well. Defeated a good field in that Molecomb Stakes only trailing Armor who is highly touted going forward in the two year old division. Is going to be stepping up in distance which should suit. As he gets older, expect Fearby to continue to move up in distance.
Race 4 – GI Nunthorpe Stakes – 5 Furlongs, 2 & Up
7 – Golden Pal – US racing fans know this runner well as he continues to dominate our turf sprint ranks including a strong victory at Keeneland in the BC Turf Sprint. He has made only one trip to Europe and it came in a narrow defeat in the GII Norfolk Stakes. He hung towards the line in that loss, however that maturity has come in time. He is the horse to beat, and will be short in the market.
8 – Rohaan – A strong price play in this spot, Rohaan showed off his talent early in the season winning two group stakes and a competitive Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot. Has disappointed in efforts stepping up into Group One company. Now drops back in trip to contest the Nunthorpe after a subpar run at 6 1/2 furlongs at Deauville. Currently trading at 25/1 and should be much better off shortening up.
13 – Suesa – The turn of foot this French filly showed in her most recent start was outstanding. She blitzed the field once finding room and drew clear. There was a lot of excitement surrounding her coming over from France and I think it died down a bit following a lackluster effort in the GI Commonwealth Cup. That loss gave backers a much better price going into the GII King George Qatar Stakes and she responded. Golden Pal will be the favorite, but Suesa will not be too far off of him in the market.