The Sky Bet Ebor is always one of the great handicaps of the year but it’s been a brutal race for favourite-backers with Purple Moon the only market leader to have obliged this century.
During the same period there have been eight winners who have gone off at 20-1 or bigger with Mudawin, successful at 100-1 in 2006, leaving plenty scratching their heads.
Fujaira Prince, Pablo Escobarr and Trueshan head the betting for Saturday’s renewal but all three have chinks in their armour. Fujaiara Prince was admittedly impressive after a year off at Royal Ascot but he’s clearly not been easy to train and has been hit with a 9lb rise, while Pablo Escobarr is not certain to stay and Trueshan, for all his qualities, looks weighted up to the hilt.
Willie Mullins’ True Self is next in the betting and demanded a second look after her big run in last year’s race - when she traded at 1.55 in-running on Betfair before fading - but she’s had quirks since day one of her career, when throwing away a bumper at Warwick. Meanwhile, Verdana Blue would prefer it quicker.
I’m happy to let all the fancied horses slide and instead split my stakes on three contenders chalked up at 25-1. The trio are:
ALRIGHT SUNSHINE - £5 each-way at a general 25-1
This strong traveller began life in bumpers before switching to the Flat and continuing to thrive.
He won handicaps at Ripon, Musselburgh and Ayr over distances of up to 2m 1f, doing much of his running on the bridle. He’d have won the Old Borough Cup at Haydock, too, but he’s a bit of a stargazer and lost his focus in the closing stages.
His two runs this year, in the Sagaro Stakes and then in the handicap that Fujaiara Prince won at Royal Ascot, have been fairly subdued but he did not do himself justice at a time when the yard of Keith Dalgleish was struggling (two winners from 69 runners in June).
Alright Sunshine might just be a different proposition here, 66 days later, with the Dalgleish team finally beginning to find some form. Amber Storm was a good winner for the trainer on Thursday after Soldier’s Minute had gone close in the sprint handicap at a big price 24 hours earlier.
GLENCADAM GLORY - £3 each-way at a general 25-1
Tim Easterby is enjoying a fabulous season and the proud Yorkshireman would no doubt cherish landing this prize.
Glencadam Glory has sneaked in at the bottom of the weights and I’m not sure either of his past two runs, at Haydock and Ripon when doing his best work at the finish over 1m4f, have got to the bottom of him.
He had been off two years before the start of this campaign and was previously trained by John Gosden. As a three-year-old he was not disgraced in the Derby, when beaten about seven lengths, or King Edward VII Stakes. In the latter contest he was a close fifth, finishing about a length behind Crystal Ocean.
Clearly, there have been bumps in the road since then but his runs this year have indicated he is not a lost cause and the stiffer stamina test seems sure to suit, with Gosden ending up running him in the Queen Alexandra Stakes.
I notice my colleague, Dave Nevison, is also keen on him. I'm not sure that, between us, we have one great mind, let alone two, but Dave's in form after finding a 7-1 winner on Friday.
JEREMIAH - £2 each-way at a general 25-1
Jeremiah is one of the most lightly-raced runners in the line-up and had been off the best part of two years before returning this campaign.
He looked rusty on his first two starts but was right back in the groove when, equipped with first-time blinkers, he won a 12-furlong handicap at Ascot on his penultimate start. He and the runner-up pulled five lengths clear, making a 6lb rise fair enough.
Favourite backers latched onto him when he attempted to follow up over the same course and distance last time, but the steady pace was all against him and the race was all over by the time he got going.
I’m happy to put a line through that run and am confident a good test over this trip will play to his strengths. Like Glencadam Glory, he’s sneaked in at the foot of the weights and is versatile with regards to ground conditions with Jim Crowley, on a high after his four-timer on Friday, in the saddle.
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