How To Bet £20 ante-post on the Sky Bet Ebor at York

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Tue 9 Aug 2022

The Irish have a superb recent record in the Sky Bet Ebor and they look to have another outstanding candidate in Saturday week’s prestige handicap in the shape of the Joseph O’Brien-trained Okita Soushi.

Six of the past 13 renewals of the £500,000 contest have been won by Irish-trained challengers despite the fact that they have accounted for just 15 per cent of the runners (37 out of 242). In addition, another ten of their contenders have finished in the first four.

O’Brien has yet to get his hands on the prize the but the two-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer knows a thing or two about scooping valuable staying handicaps and Okita Soushi, among his possible team of ten for Australia’s premier race this year, looks to have all the attributes to put the record straight.

The Ebor has become increasingly devoid of unexposed improvers in recent years, mostly because a high level of form is required to make the cut. Runners effectively have to show their hand beforehand, with none of last year’s final field rated lower than 101. Three-year-olds way ahead of the game? You can forget them, with the last of the Classic generation to be involved being back in 2015.

However, four-year-old Okita Soushi, who only made his debut 14 months ago, does have plenty of untapped potential after only five starts and the general 12-1 chance may end up being much more than merely a high-end handicapper.

He is certainly bred for big things, being a son of Galileo out of a Group One winner in Australia, and he has wasted little time making an impact with his penultimate effort, when a staying-on third in the Copper Horse Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, suggesting strongly that his best days are ahead of him.

He came from a hopeless position to make the frame that day, through no fault of his own, while at the same time showing himself to be fully effective over the same trip as the Ebor. He left the impression that he would have won had he been ridden a little handier or asked to move forwards a little earlier. In his jockey’s defence, he was drawn wide and he perhaps assumed the opposition would come back to him more than they did.

The handily-ridden Get Shirty took the spoils and has since followed up with a decisive success in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock. Not surprisingly, he is also bound for Ebor but I’ll be amazed if he can confirm Ascot form with Okita Soushi on 9lb worse terms.

Okita Soushi wins on his debut at Fairyhouse

Cleveland was runner-up at the Royal Meeting, having earlier won the Chester Cup, and has done his bit for the form by subsequently going close in Group Three company at The Curragh. Alright Sunshine (fourth) has also won since, as has also-ran Juan De Montalban.

All things considered, Okita Soushi’s 2lb rise in the ratings for his effort at Ascot leaves him on a mark he should be able to exploit and I would completely discard his subsequent odds-on defeat in a minor event at Leopardstown as the runaway winner was more or less gifted the spoils in a bewildering race that was exclusively for amateur riders.

Naturally, you can make also make a case for plenty of others with Trawlerman, Euchen Glen, Coltrane and the previously mentioned Juan De Montalban officially well-in at the weights. The most interesting of that quartet is Euchen Glen, an eye-catching third at Glorious Goodwood and now back on the same mark as when fifth in the Ebor two years ago. However, at nine, winning may be beyond him.

Rather than put all my eggs in the Okita Soushi basket, I’m also going to have a small each-way play on M C Muldoon, one of four entries still engaged by Willie Mullins.

It’s touch-and-go whether the 100-rated seven-year-old will make the cut and we’ve not seen him in action since he fluffed his lines in last year’s Cesarewitch.

But on the plus side he’s trained by a genius and is only 4lb higher than when so unlucky not to win last year’s Ascot Stakes. He went on to win over hurdles at the Galway Festival and I doubt fitness will be an issue despite his absence.

He has a much better chance of getting in the race than his stablemates Lot Of Joy and Echoes In Rain, who are way down the pecking order, and is on a more attractive mark than Tax For Max.

His present wellbeing is anybody’s guess but, encouragingly, he was declared to run at Galway last month, only to be scratched because he was running a temperature, plus he remains engaged in the Irish St Leger.

M C Muldoon is languishing among the 25-1 chances in the Ebor but there’s no way he will be anything like that price if he’s in the final line-up. If he simply does not make the cut, we get our money back.

How To Bet £20 ante-post on the Sky Bet Ebor at York

£9 win and £4 each-way on Okita Soushi at a general 12-1

£1.50 each-way on M C Muldoon at a general 25-1

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