With the tag of being the most valuable flat handicap in Europe, it’s no surprise this Saturday’s Sky Bet Ebor Handicap has attracted twenty runners – connections of the winning horse will be rewarded with a cool £311,250.
The Willie Mullins-trained Stratum looks likely to be sent off as the favourite, but with only one winning market leader since 1999 the jollies don’t have the best record in the race. Therefore, are there any bigger-priced runners that can run better than their odds suggest?
You can find all our thoughts on the day’s biggest races in our ITV Racing Tips section, with four LIVE races on ITV at York. However, we take a look at three outsiders who could make you rich in the York Ebor Handicap (3.40) this Saturday.
Lord Yeats – The Jedd O’Keeffe yard has an impressive 19% strike-rate with their four+ year-olds at York and despite only managing seventeenth in the race last year he did have a few excuses. Drawn eight twelve months ago wasn’t ideal – thirteen of the last sixteen winners have come from a double-figure stall. With draw fourteen this time he now fits into this key trend. He was also well-fancied in the race last year, having been sent off at 12/1, and with another year on his back this five-year-old will be a stronger horse this time. He’s run well in Group Two and Three races this season so the drop back into a handicap will be easier, and being a front-runner his supporters should still get a good run for their money win, lose or draw. (Best Priced 40/1)
Mountain Bell – This five-year-old gets into the race with joint bottom weight (9st 2lbs) but with apprentice jockey Andrew Breslin able to also claim a handy five pounds he’ll now be the horse with the lowest weight (8st 11lbs). Trained by Ralph Beckett, who has a decent 20% strike-rate with his older horses at York, he’s been lightly-raced this year with just three runs. He was a close sixth (beaten just three lengths) in a Group Three in France in April and despite heading here off a two-month break has gone well fresh in the past. He might need a bit of luck from stall six, but this is another horse that likes to get on with things from the front, so the draw might not be that big of an issue. (Best Priced 33/1)
Scotland – The Andrew Balding team are going great guns at the moment and have already been in the winners’ enclosure at York this week. They run Montaly too but it’s their Scotland that looks the most interesting. This seven-year-old will have options from stall 10 but connections have also made a shrewd move by booking the useful apprentice Jason Watson, who is able to claim a handy three pounds. He’s a horse that normally plies his trade in Listed and Group races so this drop in grade will be much easier – plus, it’s actually his first ever run in a handicap! He got outpaced over one and a half miles at Goodwood last time so the return to this trip is a plus and back in July he was a close length third over this course and distance (good-to-firm) so we know the track and ground suits. (Best Priced 50/1)
Every York race covered live on ITV can be found on our ITV Racing Tips page, with runner-by-runner previews for each contest.