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Yorkshire’s finest set to shine at York Races
10:47am Wednesday 21st August 2013 in Sport
IT’S CALLED ‘God’s Own Country’ and statistics have revealed what we really knew all along – Yorkshire trainers are the tops when it comes to winning at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
Over the past four years, nearly a quarter of all the races staged during the four-day event have been plundered by home-based trainers.
The star-studded roll of honour includes Hototo in the valuable £250,000 DBS Premier Yearling Stakes for Hambleton’s Kevin Ryan last year and Moyenne Corniche, for Norton’s Brian Ellison, in the prestigious Ebor Handicap in 2011.
A hotbed for racing with the training centres of Malton and Middleham, Yorkshire has nine racecourses, and it is from the two nerve centres that plans of attack will be made for the richest week of horse racing in the White Rose county.
Malton’s Richard Fahey, Thirsk’s Dandy Nicholls and Ryan have all enjoyed huge success at the Ebor Festival in recent years and will again be hoping for another fruitful week.
Two years ago, roughly a third of the contests were won by Yorkshire-trained runners and the ‘home team’ will be taking dead aim at some of the rich handicaps on offer.
Veteran campaigner Tax Free got last year’s proceedings off to the best possible start for ‘Sprint King’ Nicholls securing victory in the opening race and that winning feeling continued on all four days.
This time around there are high hopes for Ryan’s The Grey Gatsby, who will line up in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes for two-year-olds this afternoon.
He won impressively on debut and looks to be the main hope for Yorkshire on the opening day of the four-day meeting.
The signature race of the week is the Betfred Ebor Handicap, which was first staged in 1843, and will be run on Saturday.
The one-mile, six-furlong contest requires a horse of great courage and determination to be victorious.
Tropical Beat could be the leading hope for Nawton-based David O’Meara.
With a string of consistent efforts to his name and a trainer who recently brought up his century of winners for 2013, the son of Beat Hollow will relish the 14-furlong test at a track where his trainer has already amassed seven winners this season.
But it is the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, on Friday, which could bring the best hopes of a Yorkshire-trained Group 1 success – with Hambleton trainer Bryan Smart’s Moviesta, fresh from winning the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, currently the third favourite for the five-furlong dash.
All of which could see racegoers in the money. Punters who have stayed loyal to the horses trained in the host county have been rewarded greatly – the average price of local runners returning at a handsome 10-1.
The trainers certainly have the fire power and all eyes will be on their horses as they try to continue Yorkshire’s tradition of great sporting achievements.
Kristale clear for Lowther Stakes
LUCKY KRISTALE heads a field of nine final declarations for the Group 2 Connolly’s Red Mills Lowther Stakes at York on Thursday.
The George Margarson-trained youngster has to give 3lb to all her rivals for her victory in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting. Tom Queally, pictured, rides.
The Charlie Hills-trained Queen Katrine, who was beaten three lengths in third place that day, renews rivalry, while the only unbeaten filly in the line-up is Brian Meehan’s J Wonder.
Completing the list are Azagal, Alutiq, Kaiulani, Merletta, Reroute and Wind Fire. The only withdrawal was Sandiva, who won the Prix du Calvados at Deauville on Saturday.
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