Balios To Be 2015’s Great Voltigeur
York’s biggest meeting of the year – the four-day Ebor Festival – gets underway with a bang on Wednesday courtesy of three Group events, including the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes (3.05).
Storm Striking In Volts?
This historic event has been won by some smart sorts down the years, and William Haggas’, Storm The Stars (3/1), will be looking to emulate them. A Listed winner back in May (1m3f, good), Storm The Stars has made the frame in three consecutive Group 1’s since, including two Derby’s.
Wednesday’s drop into Group 2 company will provide an ideal opportunity for Storm The Stars to get back on the winning trail, and the fact he has never won over 1m4f could be a positive based on past trends…
Of the last 10 Voltigeur winners…
10 raced 1-2 times during last 90 days – others were 0-23
9 had never won over 1m4f
8 were non-British-bred
8 won during their last three runs
Balios Will Enjoy Pace
Just a few inches behind Storm The Stars in France last month (1m4f, good), was David Simcock’s, Balios (7/2), who previously won a Group 2 over this trip at Royal Ascot.
A good pace suited Balios’ come from behind style that day, unlike the slower gallop set in France, and he can be expected to go close on Wednesday – granted a good pace.
Tashaar The Real Deal?
Also amongst the leading fancies is Richard Hannon’s twice-raced unbeaten colt, Tashaar (4/1), who was mightily impressive in landing a handicap at Glorious Goodwood (1m3f, good to firm). Wednesday’s step up into Group 2 company will show us how good Tashaar is, and some punters have already supported him into making a winning Group debut.
The Ballydoyle Challenge
But, what of Aidan O’Brien’s three-pronged attack? Well, the most fancied of them, according to the odds, is Bondi Beach (5/1), who is 2-3 in his short career to date, and showed both stamina and courage in grinding out a Group 3 win at the Curragh 52 days ago (1m6f, good).
Whether this step back in trip will suit Bondi Beach remains to be seen, but he may be ridden positively from the front, which could catch the others out. The same can be said of stablemate, Aloft (8/1), a Group 1 runner-up last season, prior to a belated winning return in Listed company over 2m at Royal Ascot.
As for stablemate, Giovanni Canaletto, then he will need to improve if getting closer to Storm The Stars, having been beaten 2l and 5l by that rival in both Derby’s.
Aidan O’Brien’s trio give an interesting angle to the race, as they may set out to make it a real stamina test. If they do, then the beneficiary could be Balios, unsuited by the slow pace in France last time, but an impressive Group 2 winner at Royal Ascot.