The Sky Bet Ebor Handicap is the most valuable flat handicap in Europe run over 1M 6F at York Racecourse during the Ebor Festival and with it only being just over a week away now seems a good time to have a look at the value available in the ante-post horseracing odds market ahead of the race.
As it’s worth so much to the winner nowadays it takes a group horse to win and it’s rare for a three-year-old to be rated high enough to even make the race nowadays which is a real shame. The Gosden stable has won two of the last five renewals with Muntahaa in 2018 and Trawlerman striking last year. Check out my Sky Bet Ebor ante-post preview right here.
Stiff task for top weight Hamish
The current weights are headed by the William Haggas-trained Hamish who’s unbeaten in three starts this season including in the Group 3 Glorious Stakes at Goodwood. He’s penalised 4lb for that win which means he will have to carry a record-breaking 10st 9lb if taking up this option. He’ll need soft ground to be at his best carrying such a heavy weight and such a stiff task may be beyond him.
One horse who ran Hamish close over course and distance in the 1M 6F Group 3 John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes in July is the Milton Harris-trained Scriptwriter who only went down by a head and re-opposes on 12lb better terms. On that run, he has a decent each-way chance at a chunky price.
The Irish challenge
Joseph O’Brien’s Okita Soushi has been pulled out three times this season due to soft ground and the way this summer is going he’s hard to fancy at present not knowing what the ground is likely to be. O’Brien also has the Royal Ascot winner Dawn Rising entered although having won over 2M 5 1/2F at Royal Ascot may find this 7 1/2F furlong shorter trip on the short side with his third runner Point King disappointing last time in the Copper Horse Handicap. Both of the latter pair have been pulled out since due to soft ground and are overlooked here.
Willie Mullins always has to be respected in any race on the flat as well as over jumps and has Absurde entered who came from some way back under Frankie Dettori in the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot to finish runner up some 7 1/2L ahead of his stable companion Vauban, who won in Group 3 company in Ireland earlier this week. He has however flopped over hurdles in a listed novice hurdle when a well-supported 4/6 favourite since. He can still run well but there is a question mark over him now after that run.
Mullins also has Lot Of Joy entered who is currently number 38 in a race where only 22 can run so has to be doubtful whilst Jackfinbar can get into the contest as he’s number 17. An eye-catching third in a listed affair at Roscommon won by Espionage he ran well at Galway in a valuable Premier Handicap won by Brazil and is another who could be a contender if taking up this option.
Real Dream a player but Stoute’s under a cloud at present
Alan King’s HMS President missed Goodwood due to the very soft round and has a near identical chance to Okita Soushi on Royal Ascot form when he ran that one to a neck. He looks yet another with claims here although he will be racing off of a career-high mark.
An interesting runner is the Sir Michael Stoute runner Real Dream who impressed when bolting up at Ascot over 1M 6F last month, winning by 4 1/2L. This will only be the four-year-old’s seventh-ever career run but has been raised 8lb for that win and his stable are under a bit of a cloud at the moment with some high-profile runners at Goodwood finishing nearer last. We’ll keep an eye on his stable over the next fortnight
The Godolphin runner Live Your Dream stepped up when winning at Newmarket over the Ebor trip last month and has claims, even though he has been raised to a career-high mark having gone up 5lb.
Sweet William hard to beat but will he get into race?
The one they all have to beat though is the highly progressive four-year-old owned by Normandie Stud, Sweet William. He’s deeply progressive winning at Doncaster, Newbury and Goodwood this season rising a stone. He’s won on fast and heavy ground so ground conditions appear to all come the same to him although I do feel he will be best with some ease in the ground.
I’ve been massively impressed with him this season and although he has to carry a 4lb penalty for his latest win he needed that to give himself a chance of getting into the race. Twenty-two can run and, with his penalty, he’s currently number 30 so needs eight to come out to get a run. We have two declaration stages to come and with such a big purse it maybe touch and go whether he makes the race.
It’s hard to advise Sweet William as a bet at this stage as he could quite easily not get into the race so for that reason alone I’ll play a small each-way bet on Milton Harris’s Scriptwriter who pushed Hamish all the way over the course and distance and is significantly better off at the weights here. Harris has already stated that he’s aiming his four-year-old at the race and he looks a bit of each way value at this stage although if I knew that Sweet William will get into the race he would be a strong fancy.
SCRIPTWRITER 1 point e/w @ 20/1 with Betfred (Paying top 5 places at 1/5 odds)
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.