The York Ebor Festival has an array of top-notch Group-class races but it’s the Sky Bet Ebor Handicap that lends its name to this four-day meeting in August.
Run on the final day of the festival (Saturday 25th August 2018), over a trip of one mile and six furlongs, it’s always a hotly-contested race that also has the added tag of being the most valuable flat handicap in Europe.
In 2017 we saw the Iain Jardine-trained Nakeeta land the lucrative prize and if lining-up again in 2018 will be hoping to become the first horse since Flint Jack, who won the race in 1922 and 1923, to win back-to-back Ebor Handicaps.
There are also plenty of Ebor Handicap tips to take into the contest. Including that it’s been a shocking race for favourites in recent times – we’ve seen just one market leader win the pot since 1999 – while it could pay to know that a massive fifteen of the last sixteen winners were aged six or younger.
Our Sky Bet Ebor Handicap Tips can help you find the winner of the race.
We’ve picked out four standout stats and applied these to the main 2018 Ebor Handicap runners. We hope they help you find the winner, but if you fancy a horse we’ve not featured below then it might also help to apply our trends to that runner.
- 16 of the last 16 winners carried 9st 4lbs or less in weight
- 15 of the last 16 winners were aged six or younger
- 13 of the last 16 winners came from a double-figure stall
- 13 of the last 16 winners had won over at least one and a half miles before
Trends – Key Runners
Blakeney Point ❌✅❌✅
Whiskey Sour ✅✅✅✅
The Willie Mullins yard often fire a few arrows at this race and with a win in 2009 know what’s required to get the job done. Once again, they’ve a few aimed at the decent prize but it’s their five-year-old Stratum that has been all the rage in the ante-post markets since his easy JLT Cup win at Newbury in July. He was also third in the Ascot Stakes at the Royal Meeting in June and from nine runs on the flat (turf) he’s only been out of the top three once (two wins). The trends suggest he’s got a big chance too, as this five-year-old has 9st 2lbs to carry so ticks both the key age and weight stats. He’s certainly a big player but is also little value in the market. With this race also being a graveyard for favourites in recent years (one winning market leader since 1999) those against him will be clinging to this trend as well as his poor draw (four) – thirteen of the last sixteen winners came from a double-figure stall.
Trainer Roger Charlton is yet to win the Ebor Handicap, but he’ll be trying to change that this year with Blakeney Point. After running a fair fourth in the Group Three Glorious Stakes at Goodwood last time he should find things much easier now dropped into a handicap. Looking at the trends, he falls down by just a pound on the key weight stat (9st 5lbs) and draw two is not ideal either. However, he does have the trip and age stats on his side. Jockey Jamie Spencer, who has won this race twice before, has been booked to ride and is also having a great time of it recently with a five-timer at Yarmouth on Tuesday night.
Whiskey Sour is another leading player from the powerful Willie Mullins camp. This versatile performer is also a useful hurdler but plies his trade over both codes with a decent degree of success. He’s fit from running seventh in the Galway Hurdle last time out but was also a fine fifth in the Ascot Stakes on the flat – just two places and around a length behind his stablemate, Stratum. He gets in here with 9st 3lbs to carry so this five-year-olds is another that ticks the age and weight stats, plus draw eighteen (last year’s winner came from this stall) is a further plus. William Buick is certainly an eye-catching jockey booking too.
We can’t ignore last year’s winner – Nakeeta. He held on by just a head twelve months ago but will need to step up again this year as he’s rated four pounds higher. Callum Rodriguez, who claims three pounds, rides again but he was able to take off five pounds last year so all that means Nakeeta is actually racing off a six-pound higher mark this year. As a proven course and distance winner (one of just two in the race) this counts for plenty but now being a seven-year-old, and carrying 9st 7lbs, then he’s got a fair few trends to overcome. He won from stall eighteen last year so draw fifteen looks fine, but – don’t forget – he’ll also be looking to become the first horse since the 1920’s to win back-to-back Ebor Handicaps!
Trainer John Gosden has his horses in fine fettle at the moment but over the years this has been a race that’s eluded him. The Frankie Dettori-ridden Weekender will be trying to put that right here but if he is to win, he’ll have to do it running off top-weight (9st 12lbs). On a plus, this four-year-old will certainly appreciate the drop from Listed/Group company into a handicap. The last horse to win the Ebor a similar burden was the mighty Sea Pigeon, (10st, 1979) – however, with only seven runs on the flat (turf) he’s a horse that can be expected to have more to come – his form over this one mile six furlong trip his form reads well 2-1-2. Draw thirteen is a positive and all-in-all he looks a huge player, with his big weight looking the only negative.
Every York race covered live on ITV can be found on our ITV Racing Tips page, with runner by runner previews for each contest.