York Ebor Festival Day 1 Tips: Tony Calvin's quartet of bets for Wednesday

Flat racing action
Tony has four fancies for day one of the York Ebor Festival

Tony Calvin struck with winners advised at 13.012/1 and 9.08/1 on Sunday so our man is in good form ahead of day one at the York Ebor Festival...

"The horse is two from three at the track (the other run was decent, too, being a sixth in a John Smith's Cup over an inadequate 1m2f) and he is well worth a bet at 21.020/1 or bigger."

Eddystone Rock at 21.020/1 or bigger in 15:45 at York

It looks like the major Group races at York this week will be high on quality but low in depth, and that combination doesn't tend to lend itself to ideal betting opportunities.

For me, anyway.

There is little doubt that Ghaiyyath deserves to top the betting in the five-runner Juddmonte International at 15:15 after what he did in the Eclipse last time. Indeed, his earlier Group 1 successes probably justified him having that tag, anyway.

Jolly not for me

But there is something about him - and I can't readily articulate it, in truth - that makes me want to oppose him.

I just have not bought him into as I should have, given his profile.

Maybe it is because potential pace rival Rose Of Kildare (recently bought by Qatar Racing) could put a spanner in his front-running works (though I suspect she won't be fast enough to pester him for long), or it could be the recent rain is not ideal for him (it is currently good, good to soft in places), or simply it is due to the fact that he does not have as much in hand of this field as the betting indicates.

And, quite possibly, it is also because he may have been a touch flattered when beating the seasonal debutante Enable at Sandown, and the wide-open spaces of the Knavesmire may not suit his running style against proven Group 1 winners, as well.

You could lay him at around the 5/4 mark and have the field running for you at 4/5, but I don't particularly want Kameko, Rose Of Kildare's new ownermate, onside, for all the 2,000 Guineas winner gets 7lb from the older horses and I readily accept this could be his optimum trip.

The two I like against the favourite are Magical and Lord North at around the 4/1 mark on the exchange.

Lord North is the coming force based on his ultra-impressive Ascot win last time but this is a deeper Group 1 and he hasn't posted a time performance of any note yet.

It may well come but Magical, who arrived some time ago and has won six times in this grade, has and this versatile - both tactical and ground-wise - 5yo could yet produce her best performance yet here. She may need to.

O'Brien and Moore 1280.jpg

I was actually less than impressed than most by her in a very weak Tattersalls Gold Cup last time - she won easily enough but I thought she was a bit laboured to my TV eye - but you can bet connections have been peaking her for this race since the end of lockdown, and they would have been delighted with the going easing to good.

She bumped into a peak-form Enable when second in the Yorkshire Oaks at this meeting last season and, after the sex allowance is taken into account, she only has 2lb to find with the favourite on official figures.

The vibes around here are very positive, and this is borne out by the fact that Ballydoyle rely solely on her.

At the five-day stage, they also had five others in here, but they rely on Magical alone, not least shunning the tactical element (perhaps accounted for elsewhere now) and that suggests they are confident of a bold show.

Normally, I won't play in these kind of races and that remains the case here, but I nearly made an exception for the mare at 5.04/1 or bigger, with any further rain an added bonus. Her price was just a bit too short in the final analysis, but not by much.

Escobarr interesting but it's a no-bet race for me

The Aidan O'Brien-Ryan Moore combo could already be celebrating after Mogul in the Great Voltigeur at 14:45.

It may well happen but odds of 2/1 for the colt look decidedly unappetising to me given he had very little in hand of Highland Chief and Subjectivist at Goodwood last time, and meets similar form rivals in Pyledriver and Berkshire Rocco here, as well as the unexposed duo of Darain and Roberto Escobarr.

Given the latter is rated just 90 and could have gone for a handicap here on Friday, it is a real statement of intent from William Haggas to run him - he has been entered up in other Group 2s of late, too, at home and abroad - and Moore was suitably impressed by him when he won his novice here last time.

But this race has no bet written all over it.

Take a Moment to consider madness in the opener

A 22-runner 5f89yd handicap opens up York proceedings at 13:45 and I imagine the prospect of solving that puzzle will put plenty off.

Jawwaal was 9/1 in a place on Monday afternoon but that was never going to last as he was very impressive in a quick time at Ascot, and an 8lb rise looks fair on the bare form alone, without mentioning that the runner-up scored at Haydock subsequently, and three others have come out of the race and won, as well.

However, there was a gamble on him on the exchange on Monday evening into as low as 6.05/1 - not to much money, but the fixed-odds firms followed suit, as they do - so his price has shortened dramatically. And it continued to on Tuesday morning, and he is now basically a 4/1 chance on the exchange.

He was beaten only 1/2 -length and a short head over 6f here last term - the winner, stablemate Dakota Gold, won his next three, including this race - he goes on any ground, and he has a midfield draw to give his rider options, though his hold-up style will mean he will need luck in this big field.

I couldn't put you off him form-wise, though the juice in his odds has clearly now been squeezed good and proper, but at four times the price I have to give A Momentofmadness a spin at 23.022/1 or bigger.

The handicapper has given the 7yo a real chance by dropping him 2lb for his third at Goodwood last time, and that generosity could be vital here in such a tight race.

That Goodwood contest was full of speed, so he could never get to the front there, so the performance can be marked up - and not down - and he is now 4lb lower than when fourth in this race in 2017, and sixth, beaten just 1 ½ lengths, last year.

He is getting on a bit now, so he may not be up to landing these competitive handicaps any more or have the dash of old, but he is drawn 22 of 22 and he could make a bold bid to make all hard on the stands' rail, though he has a bit of pace around him there.

And talk of him being a back number may be rather premature on my part. It was only last September that he failed by a neck to give a certain subsequent Group 1 winner, Oxted, 8lb in the Portland. Good or good to soft ground will be fine for him.

Big-price outsider also chanced

I strongly considered a saver on Jabbarockie, drawn right next to A Momentofmadness in 21, at 50/1+ on the exchange as he comes here in decent nick (as does his trainer, who had two winners on Monday) and he has a good course run to his name (also didn't run badly in this race last season), too.

The handicapper has eased off him as well, despite those good recent runs, and he is now only 2lb higher than when beating subsequent winners Motagally and Mountain Peak at Newmarket in June.

If the first-time cheek pieces help him (Acclaim The Nation, who also runs here, won for Eric Alston in 2018 in this initial headgear), he could well outrun his odds, and the recent rain is fine for this soft-ground winner.

All things considered, I am going to put up Jabbarockie too at a huge 50.049/1 or bigger (he is currently trading at 60.059/1). I hope my selections will help tow each other into the race, rather than cutting their own throats by competing and going too hard.  I just hope they are drawn on the right side.

Rock and Point worth chancing in the 2m handicap

Nothing doing for me in the Acomb at 14:25 - as per usual I am happy to leave these 2yo races, with so little form to go on, to others - so it is straight on to the 2m handicap at 15:45.

I do like the 11/2 favourite Make My Day but I am even keener on two outsiders.

Eddystone Rock faded into the background quicker than a teetotaller on a pub crawl at Ascot last time, and for him to finish stone last, beaten some 28 lengths, considering he traded at 2.89/5 when entering the straight in front and travelling strongly, was some feat.

Perhaps he just needed it there on his first start since early June - and his near two-month absence between runs suggests he may have had a problem - or it could be that he found the fast ground a touch too lively. He will have really appreciated the recent rain.

The good (or easier) ground here will not be a problem then and he was dropped 2lb for the Ascot performance, which means he is 1b lower than when winning this race last season. And James Doyle, who rode him there, is back on board the for the first time since.

The horse is two from three at the track (the other run was decent, too, being a sixth in a John Smith's Cup over an inadequate 1m2f) and he is well worth a bet at 21.020/1 or bigger.

I am going to go in two-handed, as Blakeney Point is definitely worth a win-only bet at 23.022/1 or bigger on the exchange. The early 25s in the marketplace went on Monday afternoon.

He looked very awkward on occasions for Roger Charlton last term, and that was the case when he was 10th to Eddystone Rock off a 5lb higher mark than this in this race last year.

He looked like he could win 2f out there when hitting the front - he traded at 3.7511/4 in running - but hung left to the far rail, and his run petered out. And it was a similar story in his two subsequent starts on the Flat, when he just didn't finish off his races.

He joined Donald McCain last October after being bought for 50,000gns and he quickly had his wind done after a Doncaster disappointment on his stable debut, and he showed the benefit of that operation when winning very sprightly in a novice hurdle at Bangor last month.

If breathing was issue on the Flat last season, then he is one well handicapped horse, and he should be backed. He is 11lb lower than when at his peak in 2018, and that included a Listed race success an a fifth in the 2018 Ebor off 105 (he races off 94 here).

It could be that they ditch his usual hold-up tactics on the Flat, and go forward on him here and make the most of his inside draw in one. They certainly were keen to go on at Bangor last time, and the horse really looked to be enjoying himself, for all he was a weak enough race.

McCain may not be the force on the Flat he once was - he is winless in this sphere this year - but he knows how to handle a good stayer when it gets one, and he did well for these owners with William Of Orange.

I don't fancy anything in the two Racing TV races at the end of the card, so I will leave it there for the opening day of the Ebor meeting.

Good luck.

Tony Calvin's P/L

Current Season: +19.01
(June 1 - Aug 16 2020 inclusive)

Preview P/L: +303.4
April 14 2017 to end of racing March 2020 inclusive (all recommended exchange bets are settled at Betfair SP)

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