Andy Newton dissects a race the bookies love
Why the King of Galway,Dermot Weld, faces plenty of competition Key trends and facts ahead of the Ebor Handicap atYork
Where is this year going? It’s hard to believe we are already in August and really we are also in the final few months of the flat turf season – crazy!
So,with that,jump racing fans will start to have one eye on the up-coming National Hunt season, but let’s not wish our lives away as there is still plenty to look forward to in August – including the four-day York Ebor fixture (23rd-26th) and that’s where I’m heading for this month’s ‘big race’ trends piece.
Over the four days there are some flat season highlight races,including the Nunthorpe Stakes, Juddmonte International, Great Voltigeur Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks, but the Betfred Ebor Handicap has always been a decent contest for the trends so that’s the race I’m going to be focusing on here.
The race was first staged in 1843,and is currently the most valuable handicap in Europe, so with a decent pot up for grabs it’s no surprise this 1m6f contest attracts an ultra-competitive field – and this year will be no different.
Taking a quick look at the ante-post betting suggests the 2017 renewal is going to be another tough one for punters to unravel, but with so many top trends then hopefully we can narrow the big field down once we know the final runners on Thursday 24th August.
So, let’s get started. First up is to look at the age of past winners.We saw a sevenyear-old win the race in 2015,but with 14 of the last 15 winners aged six or less then recent results suggest we should be wary of the older horses.With 11 of the last 15 winners aged four or five then this is clearly the age bracket we need to be concentrating on. Litigant won the race in 2015 as a seven-year-old, but before that the mighty Sea Pigeon (nine) in 1979 was the last horse older than six to win.
Many will feel that being run over 1m6f that the draw isn’t going to have much impact – wrong! Despite being run over this longer flat trip the staring position of your fancy is certainly something to note, especially with 12 of the last 15 winners hailing from a double-figure stall.Getting a good early position in the race and, more importantly, saving valuable ground is key – especially when turning for home atYork.This is further backed-up as we’ve seen just two placed horses from stall one in the last 15 years!
Having previously won over 1m4f is important too with 12 of the last 15 winners fitting this trend, but this will, of course, apply to most of the runners. Being a handicap then the weight carried by your horse is another key stat to note with ALL of the last 15 winners having 9-4 or less, while 11 of those won with 9-1 or less on their backs.
It’s also been a race the bookies have loved in recent years – why? Well, we’ve seen just one winning favourite in the last 18 years, while if you like laying horses on the betting exchanges then you might also be interested to know that eight of the last 15 market leaders have even failed to hit the frame.
Runners that had three or more outings that same season is another trend to look for (9 from 15), while 6six of the last 15 winners had previous course experience at York. A huge nine of the last 15 (60%) winners ran at either Goodwood or Ascot in their last race, so it’s certainly worth delving back in the form to see where your fancy last raced.
Finally, in terms of yards to note, then look no further than Luca Cumani. The Newmarket-based stable has won the prize three times since 1999, while despite not having won the race since 1996 the Sir Michael Stoute team are another to have on your radar with three past victories under their belt.
Good luck and have a great month!
Key Ebor Handicap 15-year Betting Trends
15/15 – Carried 9-4 or less 14/15 – Aged 6 or younger 12/15 – Won from a double-figure stall 12/15 – Had won over at least 1m4f before 11/15 – Aged either 4 or 5 years old 11/15 – Carried 9-1 or less
10/15 – Winning Distance - 1lngth or less 9/15 – Had three or more runs already that season 8/15 – Unplaced favourites 6/15 – Had run atYork before 5/15 – Ran at Ascot last time out 5/15 – Won last time out 4/15 – Ran at Goodwood last time out 3/15 – Ran at Galway last time out 2/15 – Ridden by Jamie Spencer 2/15 – Trained by Luca Cumani 2/15 – Placed horses from stall 1 (third 2011, third 2013) 1/15 – Winning favourites Just one winning favourite since 1999 Luca Cumani has won the race in 1999, 2004 & 2007 Sir Michael Stoute won the race in 1980, 1991 & 1996 The average winning SP in the last 15 years is 22/1
Past Betfred EborWinners
2016 – Heartbreak City (15/2) 2015 – Litigant (33/1) 2014 – Mutual Regard (20/1) 2013 – Tiger Cliff (5/1) 2012 – Willing Foe (12/1) 2011 – Moyenne Corniche (25/1) 2010 – Dirar (14/1) 2009 – Sesenta (25/1) 2008 – All The Good (25/1) 2007 – Purple Moon (7/2 fav) 2006 – Mudawin (100/1) 2005 – Sergeant Cecil (11/1) 2004 – Mephisto (6/1) 2003 – Saint Alebe (20/1) 2002 – Hugs Dancer (25/1)
Note: 2008 renewal at Newbury over 1m3f
Heartbreak City won the Betfair Ebor Handicap at 15/2 last year