Kiely’s Stable To Toe The Line At Ebor Handicap
Irish runners look to have a real stranglehold on Europe’s most valuable staying handicap, the Ebor (3.45), with the likes of Fields Of Atherny (5/1), Clondaw Warrior (6/1) and Quick Jack (7/1), all heading market.
Irish In Driving Seat
The man responsible for Fields Of Atherny is Aidan O’Brien, who won this race back in 2001, and holds a decent chance of making it second with this improving 3yo, who is 3-4 this season. His last two wins came in Listed/Group 3 company at Leopardstown (including over 1m6f), and comes into this with nothing to prove. The only concern is a weight of 9st7lb, as the majority of past winners carried less…
Of the last 10 Ebor winners…
10 carried 9st4lb or less
9 were non-favourites
9 were officially rated 101 or lower
9 were non-winners last time out
8 were 5-6yo’s
8 were drawn in stalls 10-18
S Bin Suroor won it twice
Mullins The Man
Willie Mullins’ 8yo, Clondaw Warrior, carries a 4lb penalty having the valuable Premier Handicap at Galway last month (1m4f, soft), having previously taken another prestige handicap via the Ascot Stakes (2m4f, good to firm). Versatile in terms of both trip and ground, Clondaw Warrior arrives in the form of his life, and Mullins – who won this race in 2009 – has booked the services of Frankie Dettori.
Mullins also has the 6yo, Wicklow Brave (12/1), who won Cheltenham’s County Hurdle back in March, and remains unexposed on the Flat with a record of 2-3.
Jack Is Back
Tony Martin also knows how to plunge these valuable handicaps, as was the case last month when he sent out the highly consistent 6yo, Quick Jack, to win the Galway Hurdle (2m, good). Numerous placed efforts in similar big handicaps mark him down as one to consider, and recent rain will aid his cause.
As for the home challenge, then Amanda Perrett has the improving 4yo, Astronereus (12/1), winner of a valuable Listed handicap over C&D last month, prior to a cracking third in a similar handicap at Goodwood (1m6f, good to soft). More improvement will be required, however, from a weight of 9st8lb.
Saeed bin Suroor also waved the flag for the Brits in this race, and has the 5yo, Wadi Al Hattawi (16/1), winner of a decent 1m4f handicap at York last month. Having also won a similar race here last season in the mud, he will bid to do better than when only 15th in this 12 months ago when fancied.
But, with winners of this race having returned at 20/1, 25/1, 25/1 and 25/1 during the last seven years, respect goes to the likes of John Kiely’s, Toe The Line (33/1), who took a Premier Handicap last autumn (1m6f, good to firm).
He looks to be hitting form again and Jamie Spencer has been booked.
The top three Irish fancies in the market are respected, including Quick Jack, who rarely runs a bad race. But, with big prices popping up during recent times, a chance is taken with Toe The Line, who is well drawn, comes from a yard in form and has Jamie Spencer in the saddle. Odds of 33/1 look too big.