York Preview: The Irish View on the Ebor Meeting

Tony Keenan thinks the Irish runners can have a good week at York
Tony Keenan thinks the Irish runners can have a good week at York

York hosts four days of top class racing this week and Tony Keenan has gone through the Irish challenge to for the Ebor Meeting...

"Of the three that re-oppose from last time, Jack Naylor was most disadvantaged by how the race unfolded, left out of her ground, and I expect her to beat Curvy further and get closer to Covert Love if not beat her."

Back Jack Naylor @ 7.06/1 in the Yorkshire Oaks

2014 was the best Ebor Meeting for Irish runners in recent memory with five winners; looking back as far as 2003, we never had more than three winners at the fixture. Not only that but those winners came in the feature races: the International, the Yorkshire Oaks, the Nunthorpe, the Lonsdale Cup and the Ebor. This year's squad doesn't look quite as strong but we should certainly have a few winners.

Lieutenant General is the first Irish-trained runner of the week in the Acomb but he's one I can leave alone; not only does he look temperamental but Aidan O'Brien rarely runs a good juvenile in this race and at the meeting generally. Since 2003, his two-year-olds are 0/21 at the fixture when the expected return was 3.2 winners.

O'Brien goes mob-handed at the Voltigeur later on Wednesday's card with three runners but it's worth noting that his three-year-olds have struggled in middle-distance races all season; his best finisher in both the domestic derbies failed to get within 10 lengths of the winner. That's something to bear in mind not only in this race but also the St. Leger next month where he has 16 of the 29 entries.

Gleneagles is Ballydoyle's best chance of a winner on the opening day of York and given how the first half of his season unfolded, it was hard to imagine him trading around 4.3100/30 for any race as he is for the International.

You could make a case for him being value at that price on pure potential but Golden Horn has three advantages on him; he is proven at the trip, has beaten older horses and his form is stronger. Couple that with the presence of Time Test and The Grey Gatsby and this is a race I can happily pass over and just enjoy as a spectacle.

The Irish Oaks is the key race in the Yorkshire equivalent and first three from the Curragh head the betting here. The winner Covert Love was given the most efficient ride as the race went and while she still has upside after an unbeaten 2015, Jack Naylor shouldn't be nearly twice her price at 7.06/1.

Of the three that re-oppose from last time, she was most disadvantaged by how the race unfolded, left out of her ground, and I expect her to beat Curvy further and get closer to Covert Love if not beat her.

I can see the logic that Acapulco is the most likely winner of Friday's Nunthorpe - the theory that her weight-for-age concession is over-generous makes sense - but this is a very different field to the one she bossed at Royal Ascot and there are older speedsters that will be well able to lie up with her early pace. Odds of 3.02/1 look too short. Muthmir is tight enough too as he gets beaten a lot in these races and I prefer the claims of Goldream and Sole Power.

Goldream has already won two of the main UK sprints this season and you can forget his Haydock run at the ground was too soft; 17.016/1 is too big. Sole Power clearly loves this race and while some think he is on the wane, his run in the July Cup last time was as good as anything he's ever done over six furlongs.

Irish runners dominate the betting in Saturday's Ebor with Fields Of Athenry, Clondaw Warrior and Quick Jack all strongly fancied; I can see a case for all three.

The price has probably gone about Fields Of Athenry - he was available at 13.012/1 when confirmed for this race at the end of last week - and given that Timeform have him top-rated of the Leger entries at present, he should go close here.

Clondaw Warrior simply has an excellent record in these big flat handicaps, winning three in the last year, and he looked better than ever at Galway last time. At the same meeting, Quick Jack looked graded class in the Galway Hurdle and fast ground is the key to him; his Chester Cup form with Trip To Paris worked out. I couldn't put you off any of them.

Recommended Bets

Back Jack Naylor @ 7.06/1 in the Yorkshire Oaks
Back Goldream @ 17.016/1 and Sole Power @ 9.08/1 in the Nunthorpe

*You can read Tony's view on all the big meetings as well as daily racing tips in our dedicated Horse Racing Tips section.

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