1m6f Sky Bet Ebor Handicap (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2)
This is a very competitive renewal of the Ebor with a fantastic looking line-up going to post.
Fujaira Prince deserves his place at the front of the betting after an impressive victory at Royal Ascot. He has gone up 9lbs for that success, but can put up another bold showing.
Trueshan has also got very progressive form and is likely to put in his typical strong finish. I like him a lot, but one that I think could be massively well-treated is Grade 1 winning hurdler, VERDANA BLUE, who gets in off a mark of 102. She’s rated 160 over hurdles and is one of the classiest mares around on her day in that code.
This is quite suprisingly just her third start in a flat race on turf and she already has a win over this distance on the all-weather on some of her back-form.
Verdana Blue finished fourth to Dee Ex Bee in the Sagaro Stakes last year in a race of this nature and her second attempt was two months ago when running a blinder in second in the Ascot Stakes on her first run of the campaign. She just got headed near the line over 2m 4f – a trip that probably stretched her – and the drop back to 1m 6f could prove ideal.
The likes of Summer Moon won earlier this week and Smart Champion ran well in the Goodwood Cup to add further claims to what looks solid form.
Verdana Blue is only 2lbs higher for that performance and this strongly run race on a fast-track should really suit her.
Of the others, I can’t help but think that MONICA SHERIFF must be overpriced at 14/1. This daughter of Lawman is a close relative to former Group 1, 1m 4f winner, Ask and has racked up five wins in a row for William Haggas.
This filly does have a long layoff to overcome, but the yard have said that she has done plenty of work and Monica Sheriff won on her opening start of her three-year-old campaign to provide further assurance.
Monica Sheriff may have gone slightly under the rader in this with some strong fancies at the top-of-the-handicap, but she went off an 8/13 favourite for a commanding Group 3 win in France on her last start of 2019. That followed a 20l demolition job at Goodwood the time before last where she looked very impressive.
Admittedly, both those wins were on heavy ground, but she has got a win on good-soft as part of this winning sequence. The combination of Tudhope and Haggas have a 50% strike-rate at York and any rain will certainly help her chances. She looks an interesting type at a bigger price.
1pt each-way Verdana Blue @9/1, 15:40 York, Saturday (1-6 places, 1/5 odds, Betfair)
1pt each-way Monica Sheriff @14/1, 15:40 York, Saturday (1-6 places, 1/5 odds, Betfair)