The third day of the York Ebor Festival belonged to Jim Crowley with the former jump jockey winning the first four races. Battaash was the headline act and Charlie Hills' star sprinter won the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes for a second successive year. However, it wasn't as straightforward as many expected with the six year old forced to dig deep to get the better of Michael Dods' Que Amoro. A length separated the pair as they battled it out inside the final couple of furlongs.
The runner-up was advised at 25/1 in the York Ebor Update with the four year old producing a career best. I spoke to her trainer at York on Wednesday and he was fearing the worst because he thought the ground had gone against Que Amoro. An easy winner of the Listed Land O'Burns Stakes at Ayr earlier this summer, she is at her best when allowed to bowl along in front. Last time in the Listed City Walls Stakes, Paul Mulrennan had been instructed to hang on to her but those tactics didn't bring out the best in her as she finished only third behind Moss Gill. A race such as the Scarborough Stakes at Doncaster next month could be an ideal target, although there is every chance she will be supplemented for the Prix de L'Abbaye at Longchamp.
Minzaal did provided the Update with a much needed winner in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes. Owen Burrows' colt had been unlucky on his debut at Ascot before sauntering to an easy win at Salisbury. Tackling slow ground for the first time here, he breezed through the six furlongs contest and never looked in any danger as he scored by a couple of lengths. A classy son of Mehmas, he looks tailormade for the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes. As far as next year is concerned, he received quotes for the 2000 Guineas but he is blessed with a tremendous amount of speed and strikes me more as a Commonwealth Cup contender than a future miler.
I am heading back to York on Saturday for the final day of the meeting and will therefore update the Diary shortly. Let's hope we can have a good finish to what has been a disappointing week thus far.
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