York Ebor Festival Day 4 Tips: Three more horses to back and a pick from Sandown

Tony has picked out four horses worth backing on the final day of York's Ebor Festival
Tony has picked out four horses worth backing on the final day of York's Ebor Festival

Racing pundit and tipster Tony Calvin is back with three more horses to back from the final day of York's Ebor Festival, and also takes the time to pick one out from racing at Sandown...

"Just because he has won a Queen Alexandra over 2m5f don’t mark him down as just a grinder either, as he ran a very respectable race over 1m4f on his reappearance at Ascot. And a fifth in this race in 2013 showed he is more than at home over this course-and-distance, and his big-field handicap form makes him of great interest."

- Tony Calvin on Oriental Fox

And after a brief dry spell, we are back to second-guessing the weather. A bit of a ball-ache for most of us, but music to the ears of ante-post backers of Ivan Grozny in the Ebor at 16:00.

He could well win with the ground beginning to come in his favour - he is a progressive and talented hurdler, is in-form and unexposed on the Flat - but let's cut to the chase because time is of the essence on such a busy punting day.

And I've also just this minute heard that Ivan Grozny is a non-runner as he is lame, so that music is probably not as sweet for his supporters now.

I am backing Oriental Fox at 27.026/1, and having a fair go at him, too.

I won't bore you yet again with how hard I find it is to read the trainer's handicappers - the racecourse are his gallops, and they are just as likely to disappoint than shine - but the selection does have a lot in his favour for a 33-1 poke.

Just because he has won a Queen Alexandra over 2m5f don't mark him down as just a grinder either, as he ran a very respectable race over 1m4f on his reappearance at Ascot.

And a fifth in this race in 2013 showed he is more than at home over this course-and-distance, and his big-field handicap form makes him of great interest.

He was one of the most unexpected punts of the season when a massive late mover for the Cesarewitch last October, only went down by a short-head to Grumeti, and he can already race off a 2lb lower mark here.

He is effective on fast and soft ground - so the weather can do what it likes - and he ran well at Sandown on his penultimate start before a throw-out run in the Goodwood Cup last time, where he was very badly hampered in the early stages and lost all chance there and then.

As an 8yo, he may be vulnerable to a whole host of improvers. But it is not often you can back a horse at 33-1 that has so much so much in his favour, and I wouldn't be in the least surprised if he were to be on top come the line.


I am also going to be chucking a few quid at Master Blueyes in the Melrose at 14:50 at odds of 13.012/1.

He has some ground to make up on three of these on his Goodwood sixth last time but he was one of a few in the field to suffer close home in a very messy race with plenty of trouble, and I think the step up back up to 1m6f on a flatter and more galloping will suit.

He won over 1m4f here earlier in the season, has soft-ground form if it is needed, and his trainer was among the winners with Oceane here on Wednesday.


I also can't let Snoano go unbacked, even from stall 16 of 19, as I thought he would be shorter in the betting in the 13:45. Back him at 10.09/1.

He will need a bit more luck than he got from a similarly high draw when sixth at Goodwood last time - a very fair run given the way that race panned out - but a strongly-run 1m2f is expected to play to his strengths, and I think he could pick these up close home given a fair crack of the whip.

He won over 1m4f on good to soft here earlier in the season but everything he has done since suggests that this strong-traveller needs more patient and delayed tactics in a fast-run race, possibly over this shorter trip, and Paul Mulrennan gets the job today.

I believe he is on a horse fully capable of winning off this mark, and the rain is a positive to his chances if anything, though he handles all conditions.


The Strensall Stakes at 14:15 is very competitive but I wouldn't be in a rush to rule out Educate on his return to Group company.

He posted a career-best when winning the John Smith's Cup off a mark of 108 here last time, some feat for a 7yo, and is ground-versatile, too. He is quite appealing at a double-figure price.

I don't have an overly-strong opinion in the race, though, and the interesting one is Yorker coming back from a long break on his debut for William Haggas. He was a three-time Grade 1 winner when last seen in South Africa in 2014 and his new trainer is very adept at bringing back horses after significant lay-offs.

Yorker is also officially the highest-rated in here on 118, but it is clearly a bit of a guess-up to be backing him.


I wouldn't say Blue Point's bubble was burst at Goodwood last time but you did feel as if connections were bitterly disappointed to go down by a neck to Mehmas, especially in receipt of 3lb.

That was clearly a performance that puts him with a leading chance here though, and connections of Intelligence Cross would have been even more downheartened by the way in which their horse ran in third in the Richmond, some three lengths behind Blue Point.

He is thought much better than that - and his ½ length second to Mehmas off levels in the July Stakes give him every chance here, too - and it wouldn't surprise me if he bounced back to form and won this at around the 9-1 mark.

But with the likes of Mokarris and Mubtasim in the race, to name just two, the Gimcrack at 15:25, is not a race I want to be playing in.


There are also three good Channel 4 races at Sandown - there isn't much rain forecast, so the ground should be decent, though you never know - and I am going to take a total flier with Australian Queen in a very competitive fillies' Group 3 at 14:30.

On form she has very little chance - she is the lowest-rated in here by some way - and has run shockingly on her last two starts, most miserably when a tailed-off last over 1m2f at Salisbury last time.

However, there have been indications that she is a far better filly than she has shown to date. For a start, her trainer has campaigned her very aggressively - she ran in the Oaks - but a more concrete hint at her talent came when she finished an unlucky third off a mark of 90 at Salisbury three starts ago.

She could get similar conditions here if the forecast is correct - namely 1m with cut in the ground, but good is fine - and this half-sister to Arabian Queen is worth one last chance at the price in first-time blinkers.

Back her at odds of 34.033/1 or bigger.

The Solario Stakes at 15:05 is equally competitive and it will be interesting to see if Majoris can maintain the remarkable record of Frankel's progeny by taking this Group 3 after running away with a Newmarket nursery off a mark of 76 last time.

This is obviously world away from that handicap though - although that win came in a very good time - and connections would be concerned if it gets too soft at Sandown, and I am never in a rush to back in 2yo races where the best days probably lie ahead for most of the field after having precious little time to show their talents thus far.

Hugo Palmer, trainer of Majoris, also has fair winning prospects with Baydar in the 1m2f handicap at 15:40. He is progressive, handles fast and easy ground, and is the only 3yo in the race and the least exposed.

It is not hard to see him running well, especially with Josephine Gordon taking off 3lb, but this is by far the strongest race he has faced against tough and classy older handicappers.

Of the remainder, I quite like Muffri' Ha, back to form over 1m at Haydock last time and fairly handicapped at present, but the step up to 1m2f is an unknown and the Johnston pair of Fire Fighting and Revolutionist won't be hanging around.

In summary, I like Baydar but not enough to part with any cash at the price.

Recommended Bets

Back Snoano at 10.09/1 in the 13:45 at York
Back Australian Queen at 65.064/1 in the 14:30 at Sandown
Back Master Blueyes at 13.012/1 in the 14:50 at York
Back Oriental Fox at 27.026/1 in the 16:00 at York

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