It’s the final day of York’s Ebor meeting on Saturday and in the Betfred-sponsored Ebor itself, the final of seven races broadcast by Channel 4, I reckon CARAVANS ROLL ON will roll home.
I’m convinced that the first-time cheekpieces will make all the difference to Peter Chapple-Hyam’s charge. Having watched replays of the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot countless times, the five-year-old appeared to be holding back somewhat in the latter stages of the race and the addition of headgear ought to sharpen him up.
Nevertheless, Caravans Roll On was far from disgraced at the royal meeting, finishing five lengths adrift of the winner Opinion who he meets on 4lb better terms this time. Subsequently the selection was runner-up over this trip back at Ascot, a race he probably would have won but for being left with so much ground to make up in the home straight.
He is reacquainted with regular pilot Jamie Spencer here, having been partnered by Harry Bentley last time, and I’m expecting him to be ridden more prominently on this occasion. His draw in stall 12 looks is probably a good one, as a single-figure draw is often a mixed blessing in this race what with inevitable traffic problems in a field of this size.
Ted Veale, winner of the County Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, is 3-4 on the Flat to date and is an intriguing contender. His profile is similar to that of Sesenta and Dirar, winners of this race in 2009 and 2010 respectively for Irish yards that are more synonymous with jumpers. He represents the shrewd Tony Martin yard and merits plenty of respect.
Personally, I feel that Opinion is too short at around the 5/1 mark. Things rather went his way at Royal Ascot, and while he shaped as though the step up to this trip would be in his favour when fifth in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock next time, I’m not sure that he has much room for manoeuvre off his current mark.
Sheikhzayedroad is prominent in the betting and there’s no doubt that his form is solid, but he is drawn out in the car park, along with Tiger Cliff. Meanwhile, Sun Central will do well to become the first top-weight to win this race since the great Sea Pigeon in 1979, but one at a bigger price that is well worth a second look is the lightly-raced Bishop Roko.
In the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes I’m pretty keen on Parbold, who landed a C&D maiden on debut and has subsequently performed with plenty of credit in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Vintage at Glorious Goodwood, held up well off the pace on each occasion.
Tony Hamilton will presumably make more use of the Dandy Man colt here and, if that proves to be the case, he will have too much toe for the likes of Saayerr and Cable Bay, first and second respectively in the Richmond Stakes last time, and last-time-out Group 3 winners My Catch and Wilshire Boulevard.
Cristoforo Colombo and Glory Awaits are the ‘form’ horses in the Betfred City of York Stakes, but REX IMPERATOR was so impressive when landing the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood and can take this step up in class in his stride, while ELIDOR is an appealing each-way bet in the Betfred Melrose Stakes.
Over at Goodwood, the Betfair Celebration Mile is the showpiece, and TRADE STORM earns the vote ahead of Afsare, an impressive winner at Salisbury recently, and the tough and reliable filly Thistle Bird.
David Simcock’s charge improved in Dubai earlier this year, successful in a Group 2 at Meydan in March, and has kept pretty good company since returning to these shores. He is available at 5/1 with Paddy Power at the time of writing, which rates good value.
In the Prestige Stakes, a race usually used a stepping stone to the Fillies’ Mile at Ascot, Midnite Angel and Qawaasem are both bound to be popular. However but I was impressed with AMAZING MARIA when she won a C&D maiden at the Glorious meeting and, with the excellent Gerrard Mosse doing the steering, she can nail this Group 3 prize.
The other televised race on C4 from the Sussex track is the Betfair Cash Out Heritage Handicap, and it an ultra-competitive renewal with 19 runners declared. Glen Moss did the job in good style at Newbury last weekend and is high on the list, as is the hat-trick seeking Magic City, but SHEBEBI can thwart them both.
The son of Mr Greeley has developed into a smart handicapper this season and looks well treated under a 6lb penalty here following his thoroughly decisive victory at Doncaster recently. Providing conditions do not deteriorate appreciably he should prove a tough nut to crack.
2.05 Rex Imperator
2.40 Elidor (each-way)
3.50 Caravans Roll On
2.20 Amazing Maria
3.30 Trade Storm