Kildare's Robert Catterson asks: Will the York hot pots deliver this week

Ebor Festival gets underway on Wednesday

Robert Catterson

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Robert Catterson

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sport@leinsterleader.ie

Kildare's Robert Catterson asks: Will the York hot pots deliver this week

Enable and Frankie Dettori

The York Ebor festival gets under way tomorrow and as it stands, we’ve got four of Flat racing’s biggest names set to take to the famous track. Two of those are odds-on and two are bigger prices with the bookies but they’ll all be considered as banker material come race time. So will they deliver? Let’s look at the ‘pros and cons’ for this famous four.

CRYSTAL OCEAN: If you believe the ratings system, then Crystal Ocean is the best horse in training at the moment. That’s despite the fact that he was beaten by Enable for the second time last month.
Tomorrow, he lines up in the Juddmonte International, traditionally the best race of York’s biggest festival. And there’s no Enable to contend with either.
While Crystal Ocean is clearly a very good horse, you’ve got to remember that he’s only won the one Group 1 prize in his 16-race career. And his Prince Of Wales’s Stakes triumph wasn't of the highest order either. He’ll take on plenty of upcoming three-year-olds which could very well take him down here too. Circus Maximus beat King Of Comedy in the St James’ Palace Stakes and they’re likely to line up here, as is Japan, considered as the best three-year-old in Ballydoyle. Crystal Ocean will be giving weight to these younger bucks as well. It will be a tall order.
Banker Or Blowout?
Blowout.

ENABLE: It’s nearly impossible to envisage Enable ever getting beaten and after beating off the males in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes last time out, she’s back to her own sex in Thursday’s Yorkshire Oaks.
On ratings, she’s only got 4lbs in hand over second favourite Magical but the twice they’ve met, Enable has won on both occasions.
Not only that but remember, Enable is a mare which doesn’t always win by as far as we’re all expecting.
Two years ago, she did win this race by five lengths and that was after triumphing in the King George. Something similar is extremely likely for the equine world’s most loved female in two days’ time.
Banker Or Blowout?
Banker.

STRADIVARIUS: There’s something special about a star horse in the staying division on the Flat.
And given what’s he done on the racetrack over the past 18 months, it’s safe to say that Stradivarius is up there with the very best of them. On Friday,
John Gosden’s fabulous five-year-old will bid to put his tall reputation on the line yet again. Just like he’s been doing over the past year or so, he’ll be facing some familiar foes with Dee Ex Bee topping that list.
Mark Johnston’s stable star has twice pushed Stradivarius close and while the winning distance of their Goodwood Cup clash says that only a neck separated them, those who watched that race know that it should have been more than that.
Dermot Weld throws Falcon Flight into the mix and while he’s a lot to find on figures, he’s only had the five career runs. When Stradivarius won last year’s Lonsdale Cup, he won by a hard-fought length and half but that’s what Stradivarius does.
In fact, in his last seven races, he hasn’t won further than that exact distance on one single occasion. Expect him to win again but don’t expect him to win by much.
Banker Or Blowout?
Banker.

TEN SOVEREIGNS: Until his July Cup victory, Ten Sovereigns had appeared to have been a horse which simply hadn’t trained on. Then came his all-the-way performance which led to all sorts of comparisons being made by his connections.
Ten Sovereigns’ win was most definitely impressive to watch but there was no doubt that he was allowed to dictate that day and he won’t get the same freedom on Friday, over a furlong shorter in the Nunthorpe Stakes.
He also takes on Battaash for the first time, one of the most consistent and fastest sprinters around.
The statistics don’t favour Ten Sovereigns’ chances either. Just three horses have completed the July Cup-Nunthorpe Stakes double in the past 20 years and plenty have tried. Expect him to struggle in Friday’s dash for the cash.
Banker Or Blowout?
Blowout.