I‘ve been looking forward to the Friday of the Ebor meeting for some time as the Nunthorpe Stakes has long been on the radar for Winter Power. She’s won twice over course and distance already this season and loves it on the Knavesmire. She is one of three nice rides I have on a cracking card which I’ve also discussed in the latest Zoom Room with Bill Esdaile and Johnny Ward and you can CLICK HERE to watch that now ….
JOHNNY DRAMA – 1.50pm
I kick things off aboard top weight Johnny Drama for King Power in what looks a really competitive opener. He showed his liking for the course when winning the John Smith’s Cup last month and followed that up with another good run at Goodwood. The step up in trip shouldn’t be a bother either as he stayed it well on the all-weather at the back end of last year. Despite the big weight I think he should be bang there. The William Haggas-trained Wink Of An Eye has rattled off four wins on the bounce but remarkably still may be ahead of the handicapper.
2.25pm Lonsdale Cup
No ride for me in the Lonsdale Cup, but it’s a race I’m really looking forward to watching. I’ve always been a huge Stradivarius fan (pictured below) and I’m certainly not going to abandon him now. Things didn’t go right at Royal Ascot and quite rightly connections pulled him out of Goodwood as the ground had gone against him. Conditions are likely to be in his favour here as he loves a decent surface and he should be too good for the likes of Spanish Mission and Trueshan, if he is allowed to take a chance.
3.00pm Gimcrack Stakes
The pick of the week’s two-year-old races is normally the Gimcrack Stakes, and this year’s renewal looks as good as ever. The hugely exciting Lusail comes up against Coventry Stakes winner Berkshire Shadow. Both colts have to shoulder a penalty but set a pretty high standard and should fight out the finish. I marginally prefer Berkshire Shadow but there won’t be much in it.
WINTER POWER – 3.35pm Nunthorpe Stakes
On paper, the Nunthorpe Stakes looks the race of the week, not just the day. The best American sprinter (Golden Pal) is in town to take on the best French sprinter (Suesa). Then throw in some of the best British sprinters like Dragon Symbol and my mount Winter Power (pictured below) and you have a serious race. My filly bounced back to form at this track last time and she obviously has a soft spot for York. She is up against some serious speed balls here, but I’m confident she is up to it. If Golden Pal wants to blaze along in front, we are happy to get a lead. If he doesn’t want to go on, we are happy to set the pace ourselves. In fact, I really do think our biggest danger is the French filly Suesa. I thought she was seriously impressive at Goodwood last time and is a class act.
IL BANDITO – 5.10pm
My final ride of the day is Il Bandito for Charlie Hills in the last. He won at Haydock back in May and has managed to finish second in all four starts since. They have been rock solid runs and the handicapper has kept him on the same mark. Hopefully the application of first time cheekpieces will help him a little and he can be competitive off his light weight. It does look a hot race though with Godolphin’s unbeaten Royal Fleet catching the eye.