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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Forget Sea The Stars we want to Sea some Moon

York's Ebor Festival is one of the highlights of the Flat racing season with 4 excellent days of racing kicking off with the Juddmonte International day on Wednesday, & with great supporting races, the Juddmonte International may be the focus but isn't the only reason for watching.

The Acomb Stakes is the first Pattern race of the meeting & is one of the first opportunities to see the better two year olds over this stiffer test of 7 furlongs & has been won by Classic winners King's Best, the millenium's 2000 Guineas winner & sire of Workforce, & Rule of Law the 2004 St Leger victor. This suggests that there isn't one particular type of horse needed to be successful in  the race but if the rain continues we could end up with some softish ground & siding with a stamina laden type could pave the way to success. Elaine Burke's Now My Sun has already won over 7 furlongs on Good to soft ground at Haydock & is likely to be a huge price. His sire Notnowcato was a 3 time Group 1 winner including the 2006 Juddmonte & could turn out to be half decent in his second career, although it's too early to tell with this being his first crop of 2 year olds. The Aidan O'Brien trained Furner's Green won well in its opener & his sire Dylan Thomas handled all ground, he's likely to challenge but will be a short enough price, Now My Sun can be backed at 50/1 on Betfair & 33/1 with the regular bookies - a speculative each way punt looks worth considering for the large reward on offer.

The feature race is the Juddmonte International and sees a field of 6 runners including 4 that are already Group 1 winners yet one of the two that hasn't won at the highest level is currently the odds on favourite, Aidan O'Brien's progressive Await The Dawn. The Giant's Causeway colt has won impressively in its two starts this year but that has been against modest opposition for the grade, a new best is needed to figure iin this decent contest. Twice Over & Midday are multiple Group 1 winners & both have won at the track, they are high class animals & will likely be near come the end of the race. O'Brien's other runner is Roderic O'Connor won the Irish 2000 Guineas but hasn't been at his best in his last 2 starts in the French & Irish Derbies, if the race is run to suit he would have a squeak at a good price plus has the valuable 3 year old allowance meaning he is racing off just 8-11. Zafisio won a Group 1 as a juvenile but isn't at that level of form anymore & Windsor Palace is a likely pacemaker. This isn't the greatest Group 1 of all time but is certainly decent & backing a largely unproven 4 year old against 2 proven winners at this level is an unattractive proposition, I'd rather be a layer than a backer & am prepared to take Await The Dawn on even for a place at around 1.4 or lower on Betfair.

The Great Voltigeur is a key St Leger trial & sees 3 horses heading the market. Namibian is currently 9/2 but is likely to drift out for good reason, trainer Mark Johnston is only at a 9.5% strike rate for the last 2 weeks with 6 winners from 63 runners - this isn't overly worrying but it certainly hasn't been a vintage season & Namibian's form certainly isn't up to that shown by 3 time Group 1 runner up Seville. O'Brien's inmate has come close on several occasions & could be suited by the softish conditions however best odds of 11/8 are skinny considering his strike rate of just one win from the 6 races he's contested. Sea Moon however has had just 3 runs & is open to considerable improvement with this being just its 4th run, there was much talk that this was Stoute's best 3 year old & may well have run in the Derby if Stoute's other runner Carlton House was owned by anyone other than the Queen. This is Sea Moon's first run over a mile & a half & he will almost certainly appreciate the step up in distance after taking some time to get going before asserting himself & winning a Class 2 handicap off of a mark of 92 on his only start this season. Sea Moon looks a real St Leger type & can use his stamina to good effect today at a price of 7/2 before glory in the last Classic of the season.

York 2.30 - Now My Sun each way at 33/1 General
York 3.05 - Sea Moon at 7/2 with William Hill
York 3.40 - Lay Await The Dawn for a place at 1.4 & shorter (2 to be placed)

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