York Ebor Festival Day 1 Tips: Dariyan and Almodovar to shake-up the Juddmonte jollies

Will Tony be amongst the winners on day one of the York Ebor Festival?
Will Tony be amongst the winners on day one of the York Ebor Festival?

After a well-earned break our big-price tipster Tony Calvin returns to the hot seat for the York Ebor Festival, and here our man recommends a trio of wagers for day one of this prestigious meeting...

"But he won the Ganay over this trip in good style, and if he comes back to that Group 1-winning level - and he only has 4lb to find with Postponed on official figures, which surprised me - then I can see him outrunning his odds."

Back Dariyan at 18.017/1 win and 4.57/2 place in 15:40 at York

After a short break abroad, once again Into The Breach - actually, after having read Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's so-titled book on the Somme while lazing around a pool, we really shouldn't use glib phrases like that - with the opening day's Ebor meeting at York concentrating the punting mind.

Anyone with even the faintest shred of historical knowledge will be aware what a horror story July 1, 1916 was for all solders on the Somme, both friend and foe, but far fewer will know that the battle lasted for another 140 days thereafter.

Killing fields indeed, and no matter how many books that I read on the subject, I remain in awe of the bravery, loyalty and commitment of the men involved.

If the morning whistle were ever to blow in this day and age, it's a 1.011/100 poke that there would be more men remaining in the trench, rather than going over the top.

Take on the jollies in the International

Anyway, I digress, as per usual. Back to a quality card on the Knavesmire, where the Juddmonte at 15:40 takes centre stage.

Postponed has looked an unbeatable beast in his three starts this season and he would be a good thing if we know he was in A1 health, irrespective of the drop down in trip. The speed that he showed in dismissing Found at Epsom leaves me with little doubt that the step down to 1m2f88yd will not be responsible for his defeat here.

But he missed the King George at the eleventh hour, and his stable have been very quiet of late, and when you back a 2.6213/8 chance in a 13-runner Group 1 contest then you want all your ducks in a row. There are a couple missing for my money.

The same can be said of the Eclipse winner Hawkbill at around the 9-2 mark, and the rumours were that he wasn't supplemented for the Ascot race on the Monday because he wasn't firing on all cylinders, either.

At the prices, I am going to take both on, starting with Dariyan. No gossip or rumours needed with this one as he certainly comes here under a cloud after a last-of-five last time!

But that was over a mile, and I think that he races over his optimum distance today. It will need to be because he has little or no chance with a peak-form Postponed on their Meydan spring form, or the King George winner Highland Reel on their Sha Tin running last December.

But he won the Ganay over this trip in good style, and if he comes back to that Group 1-winning level - and he only has 4lb to find with Postponed on official figures, which surprised me - then I can see him outrunning his odds. Back him at 18.017/1 in the win and 4.57/2 in the place.

This may be the fastest ground he has encountered but he seems to prefer it quicker rather than slower, and he is comfortably my strongest recommendation in the race.

Almodovar takes far more of a leap of faith to back but he strikes me as a stall-stakes, win-only bet at 27.026/1.

The bare form of his Hardwicke third to Dartmouth probably entitles him to only beat about two or three of these but it was hard to come away from Ascot without the impression that he would improve a good deal for stepping down to this trip.

He travels powerfully and, with a fast pace assured by King Bolete in first-time blinkers, he is a horse who could take a massive step forward. He needs to mind you, but this is only his seventh start.

Back a Royal winner in curtain raiser

Despite being drawn high, Royal Birth and Captain Colby are my two against the field in the opener at 13:55, and I was tempted to dutch them.

I think the latter has fair claims on his fourth over course-and-distance last month and is up to winning a decent prize off a mark of 95, but if low is the place to be again on Wednesday, then I don't really want to be with two horses housed in 16 and 19, thanks.

So I will rely on Royal Birth. He ran two good races here off similar marks in May and he is only 2lb higher than for his Ascot win in July, the handicapper actually having dropped him 1lb for a third of 15 at the same track last time. That was nice of him.

Odds of 12.011/1 would seem very fair about an in-form horse with rock-solid chances and with fast ground again in his favour.

High class Acomb a race to saviour

I rarely get involved in 2yo races and a watching brief seems the right one again in a tremendous Acomb Stakes at 14:30, featuring one of the season's most impressive maiden winners in Best Of Days.

He clocked a good time when sauntering home at Sandown by six lengths but he has not been missed in the market at 2.447/5 and, simply judged by their unexposed profiles, you can't rule out any of the opposition.

One thing is for sure, and that is if Phoenix Stakes runner-up Courage Under Fire wins, then his conqueror there, Caravaggio, will be the subject of further praise, for all that his performance at the Curragh left me more underwhelmed than most. His Coventry win was deeply impressive, though.

Not such a Great Voltigeur for Ballydoyle in recent times

When preparing for RUK's Betting Lab earlier today, I was very surprised to discover that Aidan O'Brien is 0-17 in the Voltigeur since Powerscourt won the race in 2003.

Of course, that clearly doesn't mean that he won't win the race - not least because he has half the field, and much the likeliest scorer in favourite Idaho, who is odds-on in the 15:05 - but it does add that little bit of doubt, I suppose.

In fact, if I were betting in the race I would side with Bahrain Trophy winner Housesofparliament at the prices, as I was pretty taken with his Newmarket victory. But I am not, so I won't.

And in the RUK only races...

Botany Bay is my idea of the favourite in the 16:20 but with one doubt. Is he truly effective at this trip?

His best form is at 1m6f or less - including a fourth in last year's Melrose here - but he does have some fairly decent performances at this trip. If he does fully see out the trip, then I think last month's Leopardstown winner could see these off with ease, even from a 6lb higher mark.

I am not playing though, but Montaly would be my alternative to him. If you are interested, that is.

Good luck if you are betting in the 20-runner nursery at 16:55. The Wagon Wheel - I never did really get the appeal of that sweet-cum-biscuit-cum-cake - and Nautical Haven are the two the clock is telling us to concentrate on, but it's a guessing game.

You can read my Horse Racing Tips for Day 2 of the York Ebor Festival behind the link.

Recommended Bets

Back Royal Birth at 12.011/1 in the 13:55 at York
Back Dariyan at 18.017/1 win and 4.57/2 place in 15:40 at York
Back Almodovar at 27.026/1 in 15:40 at York

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