Ebor Festival Eyecatchers: Don't give up on frustrating Kipps

By Will Hayler
Mon 24 Aug 2020

Our Will Hayler selects five horses who took his eye in defeat at York's Ebor Festival meeting, including several who left punters' money behind but could be worth another chance

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Trainer: Hughie Morrison. Finishing position: Third. Race: Sky Bet Melrose Handicap.

Watch the full replay of a Melrose that saw the field spread out like hunter chasers

Yes, I know. You've already given up on Kipps, right? Fair enough, but not me. Admittedly the line between late-maturing daydreamer and unreliable rogue can be a bit of thin one, but this horse clearly has bundles of talent and given the curious way in which the race unfolded, did well to finish a good third in the Melrose. Ridden by Ryan Moore, he was the only horse who raced towards the rear of the field early on to finish in the first six.

He made powerful headway from the back to threaten to pose a serious challenge in the final two furlongs. However, his effort just petered out in the closing stages with that move potentially leaving little petrol left in the tank.

Hughie Morrison’s charge clearly handled ground conditions, but he is a winner on the All-Weather and is possibly more suited to quicker going, whilst 14 furlongs perhaps was too stern a test of his stamina.

Dropping back to 12 furlongs in a race run at a fast pace might just really suit and despite finishing second, second, fourth and third this season - starting favourite on three of those occasions - Kipps is still worth a sympathetic hearing.


Trainer: Karl Burke. Finishing position: Second. Race: Tattersalls Acomb Stakes.

Spycatcher looked the winner of the Acomb for most of the race

Travelled into the race with purpose and looked like the winner entering the final furlong before being denied by a game performance from Mark Johnston’s Gear Up.

The manner in which he cruised into contention was exciting and his inexperience perhaps just told in the closing stages.

A 90,000gns son of Moulin winner Vadamos, his pedigree suggests he could get slightly further, but he's clearly not lacking in speed. Fourth on his first start at Redcar, the form of that race has taken a knock or two since but Karl Burke’s charge stumbled out of the stalls on that occasion and clearly learnt plenty from the experience.

He is clearly an exciting prospect and a drop into easier company to get a win on the card before a return to Group level could be the most likely option now.

Sir Busker

Trainer: William Knight. Finishing position: Second. Race: Clipper Logistics Handicap.

What a likeable horse. This was much more like it from Sir Busker who had found no luck in running when ninth in the Golden Mile at Glorious Goodwood.

Held up by Oisin Murphy on the Knavesmire, the four-year-old made steady progress on the far-side rail (a part of the track eschewed by most as the week went on) throughout the home straight and might well have gone past Montatham in another half a dozen strides.

A strongly run mile on a galloping track such as Ascot or York clearly suits and his rating now puts him on the verge of being too good for handicaps. With ease in the ground no worry, it wouldn't be the biggest surprise to see him thrown into a big Group race for his syndicate owners before the season is out - I had thought something on the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe card might appeal, but I see he's in the Goodwood Mile this Saturday. Making hay while the sunshine seems sensible with a horse in the form of his life.

Sir Busker finishes second and Orbaan seventh but the form of this race looks strong


Trainer: David O’Meara Finishing position: Seventh. Race: Clipper Logistics Handicap.

This was a very strong race and the form looks sure to hold up well over the weeks ahead. Further down the field came Orbaan, having just his fifth run for David O’Meara. Previously trained by Andre Fabre, he was bought by current connections for 55,000gns and ran a race full of promise under James Doyle. Last with two furlongs to go, he made up a ton of ground towards the far rail, weaving his way in between rivals.

He stayed on all the way to the line and was only three and three-quarter lengths behind the winner at the line. Softer ground is arguably important for his chances.

Successful at York at 25/1 in July off a mark of 100, he was only rated 104 here and it would be surprising if there was not more to come from the five-year-old, particularly on autumn ground later this season.

Pure Dreamer

Trainer: Richard Hannon. Finishing position: Fourth. Race: Sky Bet Nursery.

Pure Dreamer made up plenty of ground down the middle of the track for fourth

This colt ended up, somewhat unexpectedly, as one of the best-backed horses of the meeting. Available at near-enough double figures 12 hours before the race, he was steadily supported down at all rates to go off at 7-2 for his debut in nursery company.

Clearly, plenty had spotted the potential of his previous run at Sandown, where he had been set plenty to do before knuckling down late for a decent third place.

A slow start didn't help matters on the Knavesmire, but nor did Silvestre de Sousa's decision to play the percentages and go for the clear route down the middle of the course as a result, the pair getting little cover of any kind as a result.

On ground that was surely softer than ideal for a son of Oasis Dream, I thought he produced a most creditable performance to make up a lot of ground mid-race, before the effort became too much close home.

I suspect he'd benefit from a break now as this contest came close enough to his Sandown run, but if there is some decent ground to be found in a few weeks' time and a nice nursery prize over six furlongs somewhere, Pure Dreamer is well worth another look.

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