Key trends for the Ebor Handicap at York
Andy Newton looks at the key trends for the big York race on August 25
It’s August already folks so some of you might be reading this month’s edition on your sun loungers while on holiday – if you are, then I’m jealous! So, yes, it’s August already and it’s crazy to think we’ve only really a few months of the Flat turf season left before we are back with the hedge hoppers!
However, before we turn our attention to the jumpers there is still plenty to look forward to this month – including the four-day York Ebor fixture (22nd-25th) so that’s where I’m heading for this month’s ‘big race’ trends piece.
We’ve plenty of standout races over the meeting – including the Nunthorpe Stakes, Juddmonte International, Great Voltigeur Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks, but the Ebor Handicap, run this year on August 25th, has always been a decent contest for the stat lovers so let’s home-in on that one.
First run way back in 1843, the Ebor Handicap is currently the most valuable handicap Flat race in Europe. With a lucrative prize on the table it’s no surprise this 1m6f contest attracts an ultra-competitive field.
Another big field will head to the Knavesmire – last year we had 19 runners – but with some standout trends we should be able to whittle down the entries once we know the final runners nearer the time. So, let’s get cracking! Let’s start with the age trend. We saw a 6 year-old in Nakeeta win the race 12 months ago and a 7 year-old land the prize in 2015 so maybe the tide is turning on the age stat. However, with 15 of the last 16 winners aged 6 or less then recent results suggest we should still be wary of older horses. In fact, with 11 of the last 16 (69%) winners aged 4 or 5 then this age bracket is the one that holds the clear advantage. Litigant won in 2015 as a 7 year-old, but before that the mighty Sea Pigeon (9 years-old) in 1979 was the last horse older than 6 to take this race.
Moving onto the draw. Being run over a trip of 1m6f many feel the draw isn’t going to have much of a say – wrong! Despite being run over one of the longer trips on the Flat the starting position is certainly something to take into account, especially with 13 of the last 16 winners coming from a doublefigure stall – backed-up again in 2017 with Nakeeta winning from stall 18. Getting a good early position in the race and, more importantly, saving valuable ground is key – especially when turning for home at York. The horses drawn low often have much more ground to run over and can often be carried wide into the home straight – plus, when there are 15+ runners in the field this is highlighted even more. This is further backed-up as we’ve seen just two placed horses from stall one in the last 16 years!
Winning form over a trip of 1m4f+ is also something to look for with 13 of the last 16 winners fitting this trend. This will, however, apply to most of the runners but is something to still take into account.
Weight carried is another key factor as this is a handicap. With ALL of the last 16 winners having 9-4 or less this should be your cut-off point, while 12 of those 16 won with 9-1 or less if you wanted to take the weight trend a tiny bit further.
Bookie v Punter – who has fared best? Well, we’ve seen just one winning favourite since 1999, plus even a 100/1 winner popping up in 2006, so I think it’s safe to say this is a race the bookmakers have dominated in recent years. Plus, if you like laying horses on the betting exchanges then you might also be interested to know that 8 of the last 16 market leaders (59%) have also NOT even made the frame (top four finish).
Fitness seems to count for something too. Runners that had three or more outings that same season is another key stat to look for - 9 of the last 16 fit the bill here, while 7 of the last 16 winners had previous course experience at York. A massive 9 of the last 16 (56%) winners ran at either Goodwood or Ascot last time out, so it’s certainly worth looking back to see where your fancy last raced.
Finally, in terms of the best stables to note, then look no further than Luca
Cumani and Sir Michael Stoute. Cumani has won the Ebor three times since 1999, with the most recent being in 2007, while despite not having won the prize since 1996 the Sir Michael Stoute team have recorded three wins in the race over the years. Being run over 1m6f it’s also a race some of the jumping yards like to target – especially the Irish ones. Since 2009 we’ve had winners for the Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott, Johnny Murtagh and Tony Martin camps so anything any of this Irishbased bunch send over shouldn’t be overlooked.
Good luck and have a great month!
Key Ebor Handicap 16 Year Betting Trends
16/16 – Carried 9-4 or less 15/16 – Aged 6 or younger 13/16 – Won from a double-figure stall 13/16 – Had won over at least 1m4f before 12/16 – Carried 9-1 or less 11/16 – Aged either 4 or 5 years-old 11/16 – Winning Distance - 1 length or less 9/16 – Had 3 or more runs already that season 8/16 – Unplaced favourites 7/16 – Had run at York before 5/16 – Ran at Ascot last time out 5/16 – Won last time out 4/16 – Irish-trained winners (4 of last 9) 4/16 – Ran at Goodwood last time out 3/16 – Ran at Galway last time out 2/16 – Ridden by Jamie Spencer 2/16 – Trained by Luca Cumani 2/16 – Placed horses from stall 1 (third 2011, third 2013) 1/16 – Winning favourites Just one winning favourite since 1999 Trainer Luca Cumani won the race in 1999, 2004 & 2007 Trainer Sir Michael Stoute won the race in 1980, 1991 & 1996 Average winning SP in last 16 years is 22/1
Past Betfred Ebor Winners
2017 – Nakeeta (12/1) 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
Litigant won the Ebor Handicap in 2015 at 33/1