Ebor Handicap Runners: Maximum field go to post at York

A bumper field will line up for the 2020 Ebor Handicap at York.
A bumper field will line up for the 2020 Ebor Handicap at York.

We take an in-depth look at the runners for the 2020 Ebor Handicap, which is the feature race on the final day of the Ebor Festival at York.

1. Deja (Harry Bentley/Peter Chapple-Hyam)

Followed up a fine second in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot with a sparkling victory in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock Park last month. Handed a 7 lb hike in the weights for that success, so will have to defy a career high mark in what is a much more competitive race. Steps up in trip here, so has a tough assignment to carry top weight to success.

2. Communique (Silvestre De Sousa/Mark Johnston)

Not tasted victory since bagging Group 2 glory in the Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket in July 2019, and has subsequently fallen down the ratings. Dropped a further 3 lb for a disappointing effort at Newbury in Group 3 company last time out, Mark Johnston's five-year-old will return to the handicap sphere, and off a mark of 111 will be a lively outsider if recapturing some old form.

3. Trueshan (Martin Harley/Alan King)

Prolific winner, who has tasted success five times in his last seven races, Alan King's charge was last seen winning a listed event at Haydock. Continuing to rocket up the handicap - with a win in the Old Rowley Cup just one of his many recent successes - the Barbury Castle inmate is prominent in the betting and looks to be one of the leading contenders.

4. Fujaira Prince (Andrea Atzeni/Roger Varian)

Not out of the first three in seven career starts, Fujaira Prince returned to the track after a lengthy absence and romped away with the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot in June. Handed a 9 lb rise by the handicap for that impressive victory, but the Roger Varian-trained star could still be ahead of the handicapper from his current mark of 108, and that's why he is challenging for favouritism.

5. Pablo Escobarr (Tom Marquand/William Haggas)

Last seen comfortably landing victory in the Group 3 Glorious Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, Pablo Escobarr will return to handicap company on Day Four of the Ebor Festival at York, and he is another prominent figure in the betting. The son of Galileo will step up in trip for this contest, but he shaped like the extra distance wouldn't be a hindrance, as he wasn't stopping at the finish in his Goodwood success.

6. True Self (Jason Watson/Willie Mullins)

Outclassed when down the field in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on his comeback run, True Self then failed to land a blow in the Group 3 Munster Oaks, but a return to handicap company could see him flourish. Sixth in the Ebor last year off a 2 lb higher mark, the Willie Mullins-trained raider has Group 3 handicap-winning form in Australia, and a repeat of that effort would see him feature.

7. Ghostwatch (William Buick/Charlie Appleby)

A winner of the 2018 Melrose Handicap at York, Ghostwatch ended last season winning a listed event at Ascot. Winless in three starts this season, the Godolphin raider ran creditably when second at Newmarket two starts ago, while he finished third in France earlier this month. Respected.

8. Pondus (Jamie Spencer/Joseph O'Brien)

A runner-up in Group 3 company last season, Pondus ended the 2019 campaign by lining up in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Ascot, but was last of nine. A listed winner at Roscommon on his second start this term, he disappointed when fancied in a Group 3 at Leopardstown, but he is better than that, and he could be a lively contender here if producing his best.

9. Floating Artist


10. El Misk (Nicky Mackay/John Gosden)

All three career wins have come on the all-weather, so with a winless record on turf, El Misk will have a tough ask on his plate. Narrowly beaten in the listed Fred Archer Stakes on his first run of the season, John Gosden's four-year-old was then well behind Trueshan at Haydock last time out, so has a tough ask to turn that form around.

11. Stargazer (Kevin Stott/Philip Kirby)

A regular on the all-weather, Stargazer hasn't got his head in front on the turf since 2016, so the seven-year-old will need to halt a long losing run on grass. A winner over two miles on his last outing, stamina shouldn't be a worry for the Philip Kirby-trained contender, but he could be vulnerable to speedier horses in a competitive-looking Ebor.

12. Scarlet Dragon (Hollie Doyle/Alan King)

A dual-purpose performer who produced a career best when winning the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot in June, where he beat Deja. Failed to frank that form when well beaten by Deja in the Old Newton Cup suggesting that his new mark of 104 is too high for him, so this will be tough.

13. Alright Sunshine (Shane Gray/Keith Dalgleish)

Ended the 2019 campaign with a fine run of form that brought along three wins and two second placed finishes, but has struggled to recapture those dizzy heights this term. Well beaten in the Sagaro Stakes, Alright Sunshine was then trounced by Fujaira Prince in the Copper Horse Handicap, and his current mark of 104 looks too high for him to figure.

14. King's Advice (Joe Fanning/Mark Johnston)

Highly tried in recent seasons, King's Advice sparkled last summer winning a valuable Goodwood handicap, but since then has struggled to get his head in front. Will line up on Saturday off a mark 5 lb lower than that fine win at Goodwood in 2019, so, if he can recapture his best form then has to be a player, but has been out the frame on his last three starts, so needs to show the fire still burns bright.

15. Shailene (Oisin Murphy/Andrew Balding)

Having failed to land any sort of blow behind Fujaira Prince in the Copper Horse Handicap in June, Shailene then found it tough at listed level on her next start. However, she showed promise when she bounced back to form when finishing second over 1m 6f at Goodwood last month, and off a 3 lb higher mark here could be a leading each-way player.

16. Monica Sheriff (Daniel Tudhope/William Haggas)

A winning machine, who has got her head in front in her last five starts, but this is Monica Sheriff's toughest test to date. The William Haggas-trained four-year-old was a winner in Group 3 company last time out in France, but her recent wins have come against her own sex, so taking on the boys on Saturday poses more problems, and off a mark now in three figures she will need to keep improving to stand any chance.

17. Ranch Hand (PJ McDonald/Andrew Balding)

Looked a fine prospect when beating Trueshan at Haydock Park last season, but has struggled this campaign being beaten by Fujaira Prince in the Copper Horse Handicap and by Deja in the Old Newton Cup. Failed to land a blow in Group 3 company at York last time out, where he finished fourth of five, so needs to improve massively.

18. Verdana Blue (Ryan Moore/Nicky Henderson)

A classy dual-purpose performer, who has a Grade 1 win to her name over hurdles and was last seen finishing second in the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting in June. Nicky Henderson's charge will have the services of Ryan Moore, but she may just lack the pace needed to win an Ebor, and while she will be doing her best work at the finish, the bird may have flown.

19. Euchen Glen (Jim Goldie/Paul Mulrennan)

A shock winner of the 2018 John Smith's Cup at York, Euchen Glen then had nearly two years off the track. Unable to taste success since, Jim Goldie's charge was behind Deja in the Old Newton Cup and was last seen finishing way behind Stradivarius in the Goodwood Cup. This is much easier than that, but hard to see him figure at huge odds.

20. Island Brave (David Egan/Heather Main)

A regular in staying handicaps, Island Brave was a shock winner of a two-mile race at Ascot earlier this month, but the Heather Main-trained six-year-old has been handed a 6 lb rise for that 33/1 success, and looks to be up against in a much deeper contest this weekend.

21. Jeremiah (Jim Crowley/Charlie Fellowes)

Well beaten in the Sagaro Stakes and Old Newton Cup, Jeremiah sparkled on his next start winning at Ascot, but he failed to follow that win up when down the field at the same Berkshire venue, where he struggled off his new mark of 99. He will line up off that mark again on Saturday, so will find it tough to play any starring role.

22. Glencadam Glory (David Allan/Tim Easterby)

Ninth in the 2017 Derby at Epsom, Glencadam Glory is now seen fighting it out in handicap company, but has found it hard to figure. Defeats in the Northumberland Plate, Old Newton Cup and in a competitive Ripon handicap means he heads to the Knavesmire in poor form, and he's hard to fancy.

23. Dash Of Spice (---/David Elsworth)

A fine winner of the 2018 Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot, Dash Of Spice had two years off the track and is still on the comeback trail to try and find his best form. David Elsworth's runner has been beaten at Newmarket and Ascot this season, but shaped with promise on his last start, and dropped 2 lb for this test could be a notable outsider off a featherweight.

York Ebor Festival

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