IN a festival that includes three Group One races, it may seem somewhat surprising that the Ebor Handicap is arguably the most attractive clash of the four days at York.
One of the most valuable flat handicaps in Europe, the Ebor offers a first prize of £300K, and it is no surprise the race attracts high quality entries from both flat and hurdles background.
The horse bets are currently led by trained Saeed bin Surur, four-year-old Live Your Dream, winner of four out of seven starts, including over £ 1 million in the Bet365 Trophy at Newmarket in July. Prior to that, Wolverhampton had a comfortable six-length, two-mile success so endurance was no problem for Iffraj’s son Godolphin.
With form at the track another consideration for punters, Live Your Dream ran a very creditable second to Spanish Kiss in a 1m4f handicap on the Knavesmire in May this year – coming on considerably in his outings since, so BBC Sport
Live Your Dream missed the whole of 2020 so appears to have some catching up to do, with Saeed bin Suroor saying: “The Ebor looks the race for him. He’s improving – he came out of his last race nicely and he’s in good form.
“He’s probably a Group Three horse at the moment, but I think you need a Group horse for the Ebor, so we’ll take it from there. Good ground would be what he wants.”
With the record of favourites in the Ebor reading one winner in the last 13 runnings, with ten of those 13 winners going off at double-figure odds, you may be forgiven for giving Live Your Dream (8/1) a swerve, but the colt is unaware of where he is in the betting, and his credentials appear to underline why he is the standout entrant in the race.
There will be a strong challenge to Live Your Dream from Ireland, with Willie Mullins and Johnny Murtagh bringing over runners that are just behind the favourite in the betting, reports SportShock.Net.
Mullins will head into the race with a number of runners, Saldier leading the way at a price of 12/1. However, he would have to buck the trend of seven-year-olds in the race, with just one horse aged over six winning in recent history – Litigant producing a shock success in 2015 at a price of 33/1, handing trainer Joseph Tuite the biggest success of his career.
Saldier has the Galway Hurdle under his belt this season, with famous hurdle winners proving successful in the past; the race famously won by Sea Pigeon in 1979, a horse that was better known for his steeplechase efforts, winning the Champion Hurdle twice, in 1980 and 1981. Aside from his hurdles success, Saldier’s flat form is perhaps more interesting, winning a qualified riders’ race at Listowel over the Ebor trip; he was also fifth in the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot off his Ebor mark.
Johnny Murtagh has Sonnyboyliston (12/1) and Mirann (20/1) down to run in the race, with the former potentially a better prospect than Saldier. Sonnyboyliston finished seventh at York in the Group Three John Smith’s Silver Cup in July over the Ebor distance, and he would be trainer Murtagh’s second win in the race after Mutual Regard’s success in 2014.