Unfortunately, it proved to be a very disappointing week for the followers of the York Ebor Update - indeed, one of the worse I can remember in over twenty years. The selections were about as good as the weather. It is easy to blame the conditions but with uncertainty over the likelihood of rain and how much, I must admit I feared the worst at the start of the week and so it proved. The Flat summer Festivals can be fantastic meetings, if the weather is kind and they are run on good fast ground. However, once the rain arrives and the underfoot conditions become slow, the results are invariably difficult to predict.
On the final day of the meeting, there were some heavy showers late morning/early afternoon and the ground was changed to soft after race three. It paid to race handily on the day and therefore some of my selections had next to no chance having been held up early on. These included the likes of Lord Glitters (Strensall Stakes), Kipps and Midnights Legacy (Melrose) and Pondus (Ebor). As far as the last named is concerned, I couldn't believe he ran so disappointingly. The easy ground should have been in his favour and, even allowing for the fact he may not have stayed, he never looked like getting involved.
I spoke to Tim Easterby on Saturday and he said Art Power had come out of the Nunthorpe in good shape but said he lost any chance he had at the start. Slowly away, his Royal Ascot winner was on the back foot immediately and never got involved. The Great Habton based handler feels the grey needs at least six furlongs and is likely to head to Haydock for the Sprint Cup. He hasn't ruled out the possibility of trying his three year old over seven furlongs at some stage.
I also chatted to Alan King on Sunday morning and he feels the ground was too soft for Midnights Legacy in the Melrose Stakes. Despite winning with cut in the ground at Bath last year and Haydock this summer, he said the family all prefer good ground and the son of Midnight Legend may be the same. He is much better than he showed on Saturday.
Well done to Roger Varian though for winning the Skybet Ebor. The Newmarket trainer stated on page 99 of Ahead On The Flat that Fujaira Prince would be aimed at the race and he primed the six year old for the day. It was a brilliant piece of training and I am delighted for Roger who has always been so helpful every year I have visited him in February since he took over from the late Michael Jarvis. The winner is a half-brother to the ill-fated World Hurdle winner Nichols Canyon.
Ghaiyyath and Minzaal, plus Tarboush (3rd @ 50/1) and Que Amoro (runner-up @ 25/1) provided the highlights of the week but there wasn't much else to shout about. It was therefore a long drive home from York on Saturday evening but its time to move on and concentrate on finishing One Jump Ahead. Roll on the Autumn.
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