York Ebor Festival Tips: My Nap, Lay And Big Priced Fancy On The Knavesmire

York Ebor Festival Tips: Check out our ante-post thoughts on the action at York.
York Ebor Festival Tips: Check out our ante-post thoughts on the action at York.

With York's Ebor Festival a week away, we focus our attentions on the four-day Flat extravaganza on the Knavesmire, and pick out our Nap for the entire meeting, our lay of the week, as well as selecting a big-priced fancy that can run a big race at huge odds...

Nap - Live Your Dream - Ebor Handicap

Very few would head to the Ebor Festival with their Nap of the meeting coming in the Ebor Handicap, but that's exactly the race that catches the eye at the 2021 showpiece, and it's the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Live Your Dream that can dominate the 1m 6f contest. A clear favourite for the event, at the time of writing, Live Your Dream is entitled to be a bit shorter than the current 8/1 on offer, and come race time the Godolphin raider could be a lot skinnier with the bookmakers for a race that is always hugely competitive.

Having missed his three-year-old campaign, Live Your Dream has been a revelation as a four-year-old as having won his comeback at Newcastle he then ran an excellent race when finishing second in a competitive York handicap back in May. However, it's been the last few months that have seen the son of Iffraaj blossom, and it's been mainly down to the step up in trip and he stormed to a mightily impressive six-and-a-half length victory at Wolverhampton in a 2m event.

Returning to the turf at Newmarket's July meeting, the Godolphin raider produced another blistering staying display over 1m 6f in the bet365 Trophy, where he beat the smart Global Storm comfortably. Now ready for his toughest assignment, Live Your Dream will have to defy another 7lb rise, as he lines up in the Ebor off a career high mark of 101, but the way he has shaped in recent runs suggests there's a lot more to come over the coming seasons, and he could be a potential Cup horse in the making.

Of course there will be a plethora of progressive staying handicappers taking their chance, but Live Your Dream should have a nice racing weight for the event and can outclass his rivals and dominate a devilishly difficult contest.

Ebor Handicap
Live Your Dream silk

Live Your Dream

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Lay - St Mark's Basilica - Juddmonte International Stakes

Having ended last season with a blistering victory in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, St Mark's Basilica was primed for a three-year-old campaign that saw him contest some of the premier events on the calendar, and the Aidan O'Brien-trained raider has not only competed in them, but has dominated them.

A fine winner of the French 2000 Guineas at the start of the season, the son of Siyouni then returned to France for his next assignment and he duly bounded to victory in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly. Sent to British shores for his third run of the season, the Ballydoyle raider was well fancied to down his older rivals in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park, and the class act produced arguably his finest performance to date as he scooted clear of Addeybb in the closing stages to make it three Group 1 wins from three starts this season.

Next on the agenda for the superstar colt is the Juddmonte International Stakes, which is the feature race on the opening day of the Ebor Festival next week. Entitled to be favourite for this contest, it's staggering to see the Ballydoyle raider trading as an odds-on favourite for the race, as he's set to face a plethora of world class rivals in the 1m 2f contest. While he has shown he can down his elders when winning the Coral-Eclipse, St Mark's Basilica will have an array of talented three-year-olds and older horses to do battle with here, and so his winning run could well come to an end.

Star filly Alcohol Free is being primed for a crack at O'Brien's hotpot, and fresh from a fine win in the Sussex Stakes, she is one of note, while the likes of Mishriff and Mohaafeth could well pose more problems for the jolly. Having blossomed on slowish ground all season, St Mark's Basilica may have to deal with quicker underfoot conditions next Wednesday, and that poses a whole new test for him, and while he's entitled to be a clear favourite, he's awfully short and he is worth taking on at the prices.

Big-Priced Fancy - Loving Dream - Yorkshire Oaks

Wonder filly Snowfall has been the dominant figure in the Classic sphere this season, as having kicked off her campaign with a fine win in the Musidora she then went on to storm to glory in the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom by a record-breaking 16 lengths. Showing that wasn't a fluke on her next start she bounded to an eight-length success in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh, and she's now primed for a crack at the Yorkshire Oaks next week.

Unsurprisingly, Aidan O'Brien's starlet is a warm 1/2 favourite for the Yorkshire Oaks, but her inclusion could well scare off a number of rivals in the Group 1 event next Thursday, so it's trying to find a potential value play against the Ballydoyle hotpot.

One that catches the eye is the John & Thady Gosden-trained Loving Dream, who was last seen landing a shock 18/1 victory in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, and having not been seen on the track since she will be fresh as a daisy to take on Snowfall. Around the 14/1 mark at the moment, Loving Dream showed she relished the quicker ground at the Royal meeting, as she quickened impressively away from a smart field before showing tremendous tenacity to fend off her fast-finishing rivals.

This is undoubtedly a step up from that Group 2 effort, and it's going to be hard task to get the better of Snowfall, but she warrants significant each-way interest at her current double-figured odds, and having shown she has a fine turn of foot at the business end of the race, then she could well ruffle a few feathers at York.

Yorkshire Oaks
Loving Dream silk

Loving Dream (EW)

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