A brace of classic stars could grace Yorkshire next week as the four-day Ebor Festival kicks off on Wednesday afternoon, but Aidan O’Brien is still mulling over whether to unleash Investec Derby hero Australia in a mouth-watering renewal of the Juddmonte International on the opening day of the festivities, as he will look to dethrone a host of older horses.
An emphatic winner of the Derby at Epsom, the Galileo colt then went on to land a facile victory in the Irish Derby at the Curragh and with the option of the Irish Champion Stakes in a few weeks it’s unsure whether the Ballydoyle flag bearer will take his chance in the 1m 2f Group One that ignites a marvellous few days on the Knavesmire.
O’Brien has already indicated to the public that usual rider Joseph O’Brien will not be able to make the weight of 8st 12lbs, but with Ryan Moore likely to be partnering Hardwicke Stakes winner Telescope then a new deputy will need to be found, however, if Australia lines up against his elders then it’s certain he will face his stiffest test on a racecourse with the triumvirate of Mukhadram, Eagle Top and Kingston Hill all likely to take their chance.
Whilst there’s a doubt hanging over Australia’s participation, the wonder filly Taghrooda will be a red-hot favourite for the Yorkshire Oaks, as the unbeaten John Gosden-trained raider aims for her third Group 1 on the spin having firstly won the Investec Oaks at Epsom before going on to bound to victory against her male adversaries in the King George & Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
A starlet of the turf this season, Taghrooda has all the makings of becoming one of the greatest fillies of all time and with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe a potential at the end of the season then she will need to sparkle in the Yorkshire Oaks if she is to maintain her unblemished record, but the aforementioned O’Brien could saddle a strong team against her with Tapestry and Venus De Milo a brace of entries.
Later in the week the speedsters get to strut their stuff and the Nunthorpe Stakes could see the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and July Cup winner Slade Power aim to notch another notable sprinting crown and the Irish speedster is already a 4/1 favourite with Paddy Power to land the prize, but a host of speedy rivals could take him on.
As well as some top notch Group action there will be one of the premier betting heats of the entire Flat calendar as the Betfred Ebor Handicap will see a plethora of progressive staying handicappers bidding for glory and in recent weeks Sir Mark Prescott’s Pallasator has been continually backed into a 7/2 ante-post jolly and still looks to be on the upgrade.
However, a multitude of challengers will bid for the valuable 1m 6f prize and Luca Cumani’s Havana Cooler has continued on an upward curve this season and will be a player, with the likes of Mighty Yar and Angel Gabrial another prominent duo in what will be a sensational end to four days of equine excellence on the Knavesmire.
Find out more about the four day meeting at http://www.york-ebor-festival-betting.co.uk