Electric Ebor For Wadi Al Hattawi
The richest handicap in Europe takes place via the Ebor at York on Saturday where 20-odd runners will converge on the Knavesmire…
…where they aim to slug matters out over 1m6f (3.50).
Before whittling through the runners to see who could land this year’s valuable pot, it could be worth noting the following trends, in order of forming a short-list of candidates…
Of the last 10 Ebor winners…
10 carried 9st4lb or less – others were 0-37
10 had 4 handicap runs or more – those with less were 0-36
9 were officially rated 94-101
9 were non-favourites
9 arrived via Ascot, Goodwood or Galway
8 won during last three runs
6 were 5yo’s (10%) – others were 4-129 (3%)
Luca Cumani and S Bin Suroor won two apiece
There are a number of clues from the above list, and a few that may count against the red-hot favourite, Pallasator (3/1), who is set to lump 9st8lb. While he is the ideal age as a 5yo, the penalty he has for last month’s Ascot win (1m4f, good to firm) means he will need to a seriously good horse if overcoming such a weight.
True, Pallasator hails from the respected Sir Mark Prescott yard, and is highly progressive, but at the prices, there could be value elsewhere, especially as seven winners since 2005 returned 11/1 or bigger.
With that in mind, the likes of Marco Botti’s De Rigeur (12/1) catches the eye having won his last two races – the last of which was when defeating Pallasator a neck at Haydock (1m4f, good to soft). Considering De Rigeur lines-up 2lb better with Pallasator on Saturday, has won over the trip and on faster ground, he looks good value.
Another with a likeable profile is Luca Cumani’s Havana Cooler (10/1), who has been placed in four valuable handicaps since this time last year, and has promised to land a big one. He was just touched off over this trip at Goodwood three weeks ago by Van Percy (14/1), but is 4lb better when they meet at York. With Cumani having won this race twice since 2004, Havana Cooler cannot be dismissed lightly.
Clever Cookie (8/1) has been backed in the ante-post lists, having won three in a row (including 1m6f Listed), and kept on well when seventh in last month’s valuable John Smith’s Cup handicap here (1m2f, good to firm). This return to 1m6f will suit, but 9st7lb on his back may weigh him down.
Mighty Yar is also 10/1 having run a cracking trial for this when finishing strongly in a 1m4f handicap here at York (good to firm), and has given the impression on a few occasions that this longer trip would suit. With Frankie Dettori booked, the pair could go close.
Another who has shaped as though 1m6f would suit is Saeed Bin Suroor’s Wadi Al Hattawi (12/1) who finished like a steam train in a valuable Royal Ascot handicap over 1m4f, and has been put away for this since. But, let’s not forget Sir Michael Stoute’s Bold Sniper (16/1), who was third in the John Smith’s Cup over 1m2f here, and was a 1m4f winner last season.
A ferociously competitive renewal of this handicap featuring a number of leading trainers, including Saeed Bin Suroor, who has won this race twice in the last decade and looks to have laid out Wadi Al Hattawi, who won at York two outings ago prior to an eyecatching effort at Ascot last time. Both runs came over 1m4f but this 1m6f could bring out a career best.