York Ebor Meeting Day 1 Tips: Back Macarthur to spring a Voltigeur surprise

We're off to York for the first day of the superb Ebor Festival
We're off to York for the first day of the superb Ebor Festival

The ITV cameras will be at York this week for the superb four-day Ebor Festival, and kicking off the meeting with his usual big-price plays is our top tipster Tony Calvin...


"He is clearly not the same horse as he was when winning the Abbaye but he is incredibly well-weighted – he is 11lb lower than when beaten a short head by Blaine in this race three years ago – and there has been more than enough promise in his last two starts for me to have a decent bet."

Back Move In Time at 16.015/1 or bigger in 13:55 at York

I was going to bore you with holiday tales before I got stuck into Wednesday's action at York.

But bore would be the right word - I was based in the hills above Paphos and was driving every night, and as a result I don't have any - so we will quickly move on.

I am not even particularly refreshed either, because I happened to be within earshot of the some of the most annoying, whining kids most of the time - I'm so glad I drew stumps on the fatherhood front 23 years ago, citing two and out - so I really haven't returned a particularly happy bunny.


Front-running Macarthur worth chancing in first time hood


No shocks there then, but hopefully there will be a surprise or two on the Knavesmire this week, starting with Douglas Macarthur in the Voltigeur at 15.014/1 and 3.412/5 win and place in the 15:00. I think Cracksman is a very opposable favourite at around the evens mark, and he makes the market for the rest.

Wayne Lordan is no stranger when it comes to riding, and winning on, supposed second strings in big races - he is still in my good books after steering Winter to 1,000 Guineas glory in May - and I hope he has picked up another good one here.

The long and short of it is that I don't think the horse should be a double-figure price - he is officially the second highest-rated in here on 114, alongside Khalidi, and 2lb shy of the favourite - and he could be all set to get his own way out in front.

He didn't in the Irish Derby last time but it sounded like he was sacrificed on the altar of team tactics there - the trainer admitted as much after the race - as The Anvil was allowed to go on instead.

So I'm going to park that effort and concentrate on his earlier efforts in making all to beat Yucatan and Capri in the Derrinstown, and when a trailblazing seventh in the Derby when, if anything, he set too fast a pace and did well to hang on in there as the closers swooped at the 2f pole.

I think he could be hard to peg back here and another interesting angle is the first-time hood, as it could help him settle a bit better than he did at Epsom. From 2016 onwards, the trainer is a very decent 13 from 55 when using this headgear for the first time.

I could waffle on about the other horses - I also could make a case for Mirage Dancer and Venice Beach at the prices as well - but it's Douglas Macarthur for me. And not because the man he was named after featured in the latest book I read about WWI on holiday when there was sufficient peace and quiet.

And, remember, if one of the eight runners doesn't take part, you still get three places on the exchange, though with an applicable Rule 4.


Two against the field in competitive curtain raiser


There was a bit of 18/1 available on the fixed-odds front about Move In Time in the 13:55 when the betting re-opened on Monday afternoon and he is still available at 16.015/1 and bigger on the exchange and that's very fair.

He may well have won with a clear run on his penultimate start over course and distance, so I was all over him back at this track over 6f, off the same mark, last time. He could never get into the race from off the pace, and on the unfavoured near side, that day but I thought he travelled with real zest and shaped really well anyway, and the handicapper has dropped him 2lb.

He is clearly not the same horse as he was when winning the Abbaye but he is incredibly well-weighted - he is 11lb lower than when beaten a short head by Blaine in this race three years ago - and there has been more than enough promise in his last two starts for me to have a decent bet. The visor back on is interesting, as well.

I also like him stepping back in trip, too - he stays 6f but all his best form is at 5f - there is loads of pace all around him in stall 17 (though admittedly a lot of speed is also drawn low, with El Astronaute in one and Thesme in two, so you have to have worries there), and good ground, or quicker, is perfect for him. He handles cut but I would prefer the rain to stay away for him.

And, thankfully, the stable have had winners aplenty this month (11 the last time I looked, from August 9th onwards) after a frustrating barren run in July.

I was going to have just the one play in the race until I saw Afandem was available at 38.037/1 or bigger on the exchange, so he is a bet, too.

Now, he has point blank failed to build on some excellent juvenile efforts, including over course and distance at this meeting last season, in four starts this term.

But he has dropped 12lb to a mark of 95 as a result, and he didn't run at all badly on his penultimate start at Newmarket off a 5lb higher mark than this. I think a reproduction of that effort here could see him be very competitive once again, and a strongly-run 5f is what he wants. He is worth chancing at these odds.


Repeat victory on the cards for King runner


I don't have a betting opinion in the Acomb at 14:25 but if you forced my arm maybe James Garfield win and place. But there are so many exciting and unexposed horses in here, then I can easily let this race go without any of my money attached to it.

Tactics will be fascinating in the Juddmonte at 15:35 as there is no guaranteed pace in the race, which will suit Aidan O'Brien just fine.

His Cliffs Of Moher has gone on in the past and perhaps he will do so again after meeting sorts in trouble behind Ulysses and Barney Roy.

Again, I don't have a strong opinion in the race, so I'm happy to watch. Ulysses is a fair bet at around 7/2 or so, but nothing more. A win for any of the top five in the betting wouldn't surprise me, and a first-time visor on My Dream Boat back to 1m2f makes him quite interesting at 40/1, too.

The closing nursery doesn't interest me but I will go outside my terrestrial brief and put up Oceane at 15.014/1 or bigger in the 16:15.

The angle here is a first-time visor for the horse, as the stable is 10-44 when going down this route in recent years (2 from 8 on Flat).

Alan King knows what he is doing when he tries new headgear on his 'osses - though when I asked him about this at Sandown earlier in the year he didn't know about his impressive strike rate - and the visor replaces the cheekpieces.

He ran okay up to a point over 2m4f at Ascot last time though, and I think the return to 2m will suit him. Indeed, he won this race last year, off a 7lb lower mark admittedly, and good or quicker ground is fine for him.

The stable are in good form, too, with three winners from their last four runners going into Tuesday's racing.


Recommended Bets

Back Move In Time at 16.015/1 or bigger in 13:55 at York
Back Afandem at 38.037/1 or bigger in 13:55 at York

Back Douglas Macarthur at 15.014/1 win and 3.412/5 place in 15:00 at York
Back Oceane at 15.014/1 or bigger in 16:15 at York

Tony Calvin P&L (April 14 to Aug 22)

- 132 selections
- 16 winners
- P/L (to Betfair SP): +67.91

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