Five rea­sons to re­mem­ber York’s Ebor meet­ing

His­toric mile­stones reached by both a horse and a trainer among the high­lights of fes­ti­val

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby Union - Mar­cus Army­tage RAC­ING COR­RE­SPON­DENT at York

Clas­sic gen­er­a­tion step up

It has taken a while for this year’s three-year-old crop to come to the party. On Tues­day, they looked dis­tinctly av­er­age but by Fri­day they looked a lot smarter. Roar­ing Lion es­tab­lished him­self as the best mile-and-a-quar­ter horse in Europe with a com­pre­hen­sive de­feat of his el­ders in the Jud­dmonte In­ter­na­tional, while Sea The Class emerged from the Dar­ley York­shire Oaks as the 4-1 favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Tri­om­phe and is be­ing hailed Wil­liam Hag­gas’s best ever.

Iron­i­cally, how­ever, she might not even have been the best filly on show on Thurs­day. Lah Ti Dar, who missed Ep­som and Royal As­cot with a bug, won the Gal­tres Stakes by 10 lengths in a time only a sec­ond slower, and trainer John Gos­den may now send her to the St Leger.

The horse worth a mil­lion

They said it could not be done, but the Weather­bys Hamil­ton Stay­ers’ Mil­lion is not an im­pos­si­ble ask. Stradi­var­ius may not have been at his sparkling best, but he banked the in­au­gu­ral £1mil­lion bonus for stay­ers by com­plet­ing the York­shire Cup, As­cot Gold Cup, Good­wood Cup and Fri­day’s Lons­dale Cup. Gos­den reck­oned the Gold Cup, over 2½ miles, was the tough­est leg and although it was a great race – sim­ply be­cause it was his fourth long-dis­tance start in four months and only three weeks af­ter Good­wood – the Lons­dale was very nearly his un­do­ing. But he did it, and the pop­u­lar lit­tle chest­nut could eas­ily re­peat the feat in 2019.

John­ston passes the post

Mark John­ston is a re­mark­able trainer. Quite apart from the tim­ing – dur­ing York­shire’s big­gest meet­ing of the sum­mer – the Mid­dle­ham trainer’s feat of send­ing out his 4,194th win­ner, beat­ing the pre­vi­ous record set by Richard Han­non Snr, who beat Martin Pipe, who beat Arthur Stephen­son, is as­tound­ing.

It has taken him 31 years, and there may not have been as many Group Ones or Clas­sics among the to­tal as he might have hoped for, but it is, nev­er­the­less, a trib­ute to his sta­ble’s con­sis­tency. He has had 100-plus win­ners in a sea­son 25 times.

North still a pow­er­house

Rac­ing’s North-South di­vide ex­ists only over jumps. Apart from John­ston, this year’s Ebor meet­ing was a ter­rific one for other York­shire train­ers. On Fri­day, the Gim­crack went to Kevin Ryan’s Emaraaty Ana, but that was promptly trumped when Bryan Smart’s Al­pha Del­phini touched off the County Durham-trained Mabs Cross in the Nun­thorpe Stakes.

What jump train­ers lack are the big lo­cal own­ers with deep pock­ets, but that is not such a prob­lem for their Flat coun­ter­parts.

York­shire-based owner and spon­sor Steve Parkin, of Clip­per Lo­gis­tics, also en­joyed a good week, par­tic­u­larly when Red Bal­loons won the valu­able Goffs UK Premier Year­ling Stakes.

O’Brien is not in­fal­li­ble

Most train­ers would be happy if they sent out one Group One win­ner ev­ery six months, but when Ai­dan O’Brien does not have one for six weeks, it sig­nals a mini-cri­sis at Bal­ly­doyle. Af­ter Fairy­land won the Lowther Stakes, his soli­tary win­ner of the meet­ing, O’Brien spoke at length about the “worst” res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness he has ever en­dured at his yard. “But we’re not com­plain­ing be­cause it hap­pens to every­one,” he said.

In O’Brien’s ab­sence, this week was the one when Gos­den went a long way to re­gain­ing the train­ers’ ti­tle with five win­ners, in­clud­ing big-money wins by Roar­ing Lion, Stradi­var­ius and yes­ter­day with a one-two in the in the £500,000 Sky Bet Ebor Hand­i­cap when Mun­ta­haa, an 11-1 shot came clear of sta­ble com­pan­ion Week­ender. Stra­tum, the favourite, was un­placed af­ter meet­ing ap­palling traf­fic prob­lems in the race.

Clear win­ner: The 11-1 shot Mun­ta­haa sprints ahead of the field in the Sky Bet Ebor Hand­i­cap at York yes­ter­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.