1Pt EW Arab Dawn @ 20/1 Betfred Ebor Handicap, 15:45 York

Focusing on historical trends for the Ebor could be a misnomer this year with only one winner having won carrying 9-4 or more and winners have generally been rated 88-104 over the last decade. The reality is that 14 runners carry more than 9-4 and perhaps the relative ratings rather than the weight can act as a better guide in this instance.

Top of the market is dominated by messieurs O’Brien and Mullins for the Irish who are both bidding for their second win in the race, and invariably they have strong claims. Fields of Athenry won going away in a Group 3 race, landing the odds at 8/15 and is rated highly at 119 – the highest on offer in the race and by some margin. He will make a bold bid on just his sixth career start receiving a three year old weight-for-age allowance and 5lb from his claimer putting him right in the mix from a handicap perspective. In the last 10 years just one three year old has triumphed so it has paid to side with the older horses – admittedly that was trained by O’Brien and he may be using this as a prep run for the St. Leger. Either way, he will be tough to beat and is clearly well-regarded so at 9/1 he may prove to be a steal in the coming weeks.

Both Wicklow Brave and Clondaw Warrior must be respected with Mullins already on the board this week through Max Dynamite. Rich Ricci’s horse was over 2l behind Quick Jack at Galway over a 2m hurdle so that form has been somewhat franked and A J Martin’s dual-purpose specialist who has decent flat form is weighted for a big run. We do have a slight concern that the shorter trip and ground (typically performs best in soft or worse) may mean that things happen a little too quick for him this afternoon and that’s enough to make us look to others. The Mullins’ horses are arguably shorter priced than the bare form suggests which is no surprise based on his enormous following and this has created some decent each-way value if you decide to take on the Irish challengers. Nevertheless they should always be feared and we presume Mullins has had this race in mind for some time for both.

Astronereus is a CD winner having bolted up last month in a Listed contest over good ground with Ajman Bridge and Notarised behind who now re-oppose on the same terms; he ran creditably in 3rd at Goodwood last time out under top weight and may still have further progress. Staying with th same form line, Ajman Bridge and Astronereus were beaten by Arab Dawn in the Duke of Edinburgh stakes at Royal¬†Ascot (12f) and he comes here fresh having been wound up for a run before getting hampered last time out in the John Smith’s Cup at York. He finished seventh having not had enough time to make up the lost ground over what was probably too short a trip (10f) – he has shaped as though this extra stamina test should suit and H Morrison’s four year old could still be fairly well treated. Currently priced at 20/1 he is twice the price of Ajman Bridge and Astronereus with no guarantee they’ll reverse the placings with Arab Dawn and therefore he represents decent each-way value. Overlay the fact that he has already proven himself in big-field handicaps, he must surely stand a chance of making his presence felt. There are several bookmakers paying five places so even the 5/1 place portion would represent a decent pay-off and having never finished out of the top 5 over 12f with a clear run, he is sure to be in the mix on the Knavesmire this afternoon.

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