The pick of the prices in the Ebor....

Friday, 23rd August 2019

The pick of the prices in the Ebor….

Money talks. And it has spoken in this year’s Ebor at York (3.40 tomorrow)....

Prize money for the race has been raised to £1 million – winning connections walk away with a cool £600k – and the upshot is a classy turnout....

Last year, Muntahaa won the Ebor off a mark of 109. That was a standout performance. No horse had won a handicap off so lofty a mark for more than 10-years....

In this year’s Ebor the quality of entry has increased to the degree where 14 of tomorrow’s 22 runners will attempt to win off that same rating of 109 or higher....

And with just 9lbs separating top and bottom weighted runners, the top-rated horses are certainly in with every chance....

  • Same track and trip....

So, the Ebor is now a different race than it once was....

It is a more valuable race. One that attracts classier horses....

But, whatever else has changed, the race is still run over the same trip and at the same track it always was....

And in th Ebor the low stalls have not been the best starting berth in recent years. Fourteen of the last 16 winners started out from a double-figure stall....

Will that stat hold-up this year? Who knows? These things are there to be turned-over....

The stat might give pause for thought about backing Withhold at 7s who starts from stall 6. But I wouldn’t let it put me off a horse drawn in stall 8 if I could make a case for it at a price....

  • Head above the parapet....

And I can make a case for Roger Varian’s BARSANTI at 25s....

The 7yo was rated as high as 116 at one point in his career – thanks in large part to two specific performances....

He won a decent C2 handicap in August 2016 over tomorrow’s course and distance against 14 opponents....

Then the following summer (2017), he was 2nd in a G2 at Ascot up against 11 opponents....

Now, that’s old form. Granted. And the horse has dropped down the ratings since then to a current mark of 107. So, it’s not all been plain sailing....

But the horse has been doing all his running in small-field pattern events over 12f....

And perhaps those kinds of race don’t get the best out of a horse whose most eye-taking performances have been produced in fields offering a bit more in terms of pace and cover....

The return to a deeper field tomorrow is interesting. Especially in first-time blinkers and off a break (the horse has gone well fresh before)....

And this is not some spare arrow. Or some speculative throw of the dice. Trainer Roger Varian has been preparing the horse with this race in mind....

And the horse ticks a few boxes....

He’s put up a string of winning and competitive performances at a track where course form is a key consideration....

We know he handles the trip. He’s a course and distance winner....

And Andrea Atzeni is back in the saddle for the first time in a while. He was on the horse for both those bigger-field performances at York and Ascot....

The Pick of the Prices….

To recap on where my idea of the value lies tomorrow afternoon….

In the Ebor Handicap (3.40 @ York).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – BARSANTI (25s generally)

That is my take on where the value lies – but you will no doubt have your own ideas and that’s exactly as it should be.

That’s all from me this week.

Enjoy your weekend.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd