WILL the Force be with Nawton trainer David O’Meara at York Racecourse’s Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival next week?
Knavesmire’s reigning champion trainer leads this year’s race to be the track’s top dog and O’Meara, who ended Richard Fahey’s seven-year run as the king last season, is hoping to stretch his lead at the flagship four-day meeting, which starts on Wednesday.
O’Meara already has eight winners on the board this season and struck three times at the Ebor Festival 12 months ago.
A similar feat would almost certainly bag a second successive trainers’ crown at York.
He has high hopes for G Force, who is set to sprint for a £265,000 prize pot in the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes - a blur of colour over five furlongs - on Friday.
The Middleham Park Racing-owned colt already has a course and distance win at the Dante Festival in May and caught the eye when finishing fifth in the Group 2 King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last month.
“Obviously this is a meeting we target,” O’Meara said of the Ebor Festival. “We had three winners there last year and I think we’ve got a strong team this time.
“Plenty go there with good chances.
“G Force will head to the Nunthorpe. He won well at York in the spring and seems in good form. Any ease in the ground would suit.”
Talented stayer Repeater is in line for a crack at next Saturday’s £265,000 Betfred Ebor.
The five-year-old has not won since September 2011 but has run some terrific races in some of the country’s most competitive contests.
O’Meara added: “Repeater ran well in the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate and when second in a Listed race at Sandown in July.
“He didn’t handle the track at all at Goodwood last time so I think we can put a line though that.
“A race like the Ebor suits him - he needs to be held up and weave his way through runners.”
Penitent, who beat subsequent Group 1 winner Garswood in the Group 3 Jury Stakes at Haydock in May, has been given a break to freshen him up for the Ebor Festival and O’Meara said: “Penitent seems in great form.
“We shall enter him in the City Of York Stakes over seven furlongs and the Strensall Stakes over nine.
“He has become a little inconsistent nowadays but has won a Group 3 already this season. Rain would help his chances.”
Elsewhere, in his Arthington Barn Stables yard, Custom Cut has secured back-to-back Listed successes in recent weeks and the five-year-old will receive the same two entries as his stable-mate Penitent.
Dutch Rose has won four times at York including the last two runnings of the eventmasters.co.uk EBF Stallions Fillies’ Handicap.
The five-year-old bids for a hat-trick in the race.
“Dutch Rose will go for the seven-furlong fillies’ handicap on the Thursday. She has won it the last two years and has a great record at the track. She is now on a mark of 100 so she will have to be at her best to win it again,” O’Meara said.
Move In Time will likely swerve the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes in favour of the Symphony Group Stakes while O’Meara could be represented in handicaps by Two For Two, Balducci, Ingleby Angel and Hit The Jackpot all likely to be in action in addition to Fattsota, Awake My Soul and Eccleston.