Pallasator is a huge favourite in the context of a competitive handicap for the Ebor at York on Saturday. Havana Cooler is second best but still not certain of a run which means in that horse’s absence Clever Cookie is the horse most likely to upset the form book and beat the favourite. Bold Sniper would be a popular winner as the horse is owned by the Queen.
The Ebor is derived from the Roman name for York which is Eboracum. It is a handicap for which three year olds or older are eligible. The race was first run over two miles but its distance is now one mile six furlongs. It is the richest flat handicap run in Europe and is always run on the fourth and final day of York’s Ebor meeting. York is known as the Ascot of the north and offers great facilities and consistently good racing. The August meeting attracts huge crowds from all over Yorkshire.
Pallasator is a lightly raced five-year-old that has won four of his last eight starts. His most impressive run was at Ascot last time out when beating Double Bluff by two lengths. The horse is the son of Motivator who won the Derby in 2005. Pallasator has been heavily backed for the title race of the meeting. Given a chance inside the final two furlongs there will be loud cheers from the grandstands but not too much joy amongst the bookmakers. Competitive 20 runner handicaps are supposed to be more difficult to solve.
The clear favourite for the Ebor is now in the ownership of Qatar Racing after they bought the horse in a private deal. The wealthy syndicate have been aware of Pallasator since the impressive win at Ascot. The form was given a boost when Double Bluff won at Goodwood. Pallasator was always destined to be a staying horse and could prove to be better than a handicapper. It could transpire that he is a Group horse running in a handicap.
One of the conditions of the sale was that Luke Morris keeps the ride. The jockey has been aboard Pallasator for the horse’s last six races of which three have been won. He is a rider the trainer Mark Prescott trusts so he asked the new owners to maintain the partnership at York. Before the Ascot race Pallasator was as big as 12-1 for the Ebor so there has been a massive plunge over the last month. Despite a penalty the horse looks well handicapped at York and the ground should not be a problem. Even 3-1 could represent some value in the context of the horse’s ability.
Prescott has a reputation for placing horses in that he selects a specific target and trains a horse accordingly. He made it very clear after the Ascot race that Pallasator was being aimed at the Ebor, a race in which he has a decent record. It was an impressive warm-up for the Ebor at Ascot where the horse won well of top weight and indicated that the conditions of the York race are ideal.
There have been concerns that the meeting will take place on soft ground but conditions should be in Pallasator’s favour as the official going ahead of the four day festival has been described as good. Despite torrential rain across most of the country York racecourse has not been too badly affected and the forecast for Saturday is positive. The course has a good covering of grass and will have dried out in good time for racing on Saturday.
Connections of Havana Cooler are still not sure if the horse will get a run in the Ebor. The horse is a leading fancy for the race but may not make the cut for a maximum field of 20 runners. At the five day stage 58 runners were declared for the race which means several must drop out in order for Havana Cooler to get a place in the field. Irish trained Pale Mimosa is the top weight and will carry six pounds more than Pallasator.
The second favourite has not won in five races over distances from eleven to fourteen furlongs. The horse has not won a race longer than one mile four furlongs and won over just one mile as a two-year-old. Given a run in the Ebor stamina may be an issue and other horses are preferred including Clever Cookie, third favourite in the ante post betting several days ahead of the race.
Clever Cookie has a modest pedigree but is a leading contender for the Ebor. The horse is trained by Peter Niven who is best is best known as jumps jockey on northern race tracks. Clever Cookie has won eight races in his career to date. He has proved to be popular with punters as backing him blindly in each race would have earned backers a 288% return on investment. The horse has won at York and that is a significant advantage as the track takes some knowing for horse and jockey.
Much further down the lists of odds Bold Sniper would be a well received winner of the race as the horse is owned by the Queen who is very popular in Yorkshire. The horse has won three of nine races but not in the last four so is out of form. It would be a sentimental winner but other horses have better form including the favourite.