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The totesport Ebor Handicap at York on Wednesday is one of the flat season's biggest betting heats. As ever this 22-runner event is ultra-competitive and some sort of a case can be made for half of the field.
Much will be written about the effect of the draw. Likely favourites Mephisto and Jagger are both drawn low, a perceived advantage. Mephisto, trained by Luca Cumani looks the pick of that pair. His win in the Tatler Summer Stakes at Glorious Goodwood confirmed that he is highly progressive, but it is worth noting that no horse has won an Ebor under a penalty since 1985.
Far better value is Star Member. He has to overcome the widest draw of all (in stall 22), however four of the last ten winners have run from stall 16 or higher. He has a similar profile to those at the head of the market, having won over course and distance in Class C handicap and come second last time out in listed company.
“Super filly” is fast becoming a hack racing journalist's favourite cliché. All too often the soubriquet is applied just as the form of the lady of their affections dips, witness 1,000 Guineas winner Attraction. One hopes that the same fate does not befall dual Oaks winner Ouija Board. On all known form the Aston Upthorpe Yorkshire Oaks is well within her compass, especially as the older horses have to give away weight.
A rising star invariably wins the Scottish Equitable Gimcrack Stakes. Siding with a horse that has only won a Class D maiden at Donny from a yard best known for its chasers may seem odd. But Andronikos has bags of potential in what looks a second-class renewal of this famous race.
York 1:50 Andronikos (win)
York 2:25 Star Member (each-way)
York 3:00 Ouija Board (win)