History’s enticing come on beckons for Irish racehorse Mount Athos

First published in Horse racing York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Racing journalist

Mount Athos can make racing history on Knavesmire tomorrow by winning the first Saturday Ebor.

The four-year-old will be bidding to follow in the hoof-prints of last year’s winner Dirar by becoming the second successive Irish-trained winner of this famous handicap.

Mount Athos is under the care of David Wachman, who took him over this season from John Hills, who placed him to win the competitive Melrose Handicap at this meeting 12 months ago.

Mount Athos has hardly gone backwards since then. Winner of an Irish handicap on his reappearance, Mount Athos shaped well in both the Chester Cup and the Old Newton Cup, despite not enjoying much luck in either. On his latest start, in Group 3 company, back in Ireland, he finished a creditable fourth. His Ebor credentials look solid.

The big local hope is Saptapadi, trained by Brian Ellison, who has booked Kieren Fallon to take the mount.

An 82,000 guineas purchase out of Sir Micheal Stoute’s yard, Saptapadi has shaped well in both the John Smith’s Cup and the Sky Bet York Stakes, a Group 2 afffair, won by Twice Over, Wednesday’s Juddmonte International winner. He will relish this step up in trip.

But Mount Athos has plenty going for him and he is napped to create some smiling Irish eyes in this historic event.

York racegoers will surely treat Blue Bajan to a huge reception if the veteran performer can carry off the Group 2 Weatherbys Insurance Lonsdale Stakes.

The nine-year-old, owned by Dr John Hollowood and trained at Nawton, near Helmsley, by his neighbour David O’Meara, has been in the form of his life.

Winner of a Group 2 race at Sandown, he ran an absolute blinder to be only narrowly beaten in the Goodwood Cup last month and is now set to meet the winner Opinion Poll on better terms.

He has solid each-way claims.

Richard Fahey and Tim Easterby also have good prospects of figuring among the winners on the final day of the Festival.

Fahey saddles both Holy Roman Warrior and Ventura Spirit in the Betfred Bonus King Nursery and both have sound chances. Holy Roman Warrior, who broke his maiden in gutsy style here last month, is, however, marginally preferred.

Cocktail Charlie represents Easterby in the tyregiant.com Handicap over five furlongs.

The three-year-old is still seeking his first win of the season, but he has run some cracking races in defeat.

The classy Dream Eater, a previous course winner, looks a tempting solution to the opening Debenhams City Of York Stakes, while the step up to one and three-quarter miles is fancied to bring about further improvement in Masaraat in the Betfred Melrose Handicap.

The drop to five furlongs may be the making of My Propeller in the Julia Graves Roses Stakes.

Racing selections

York (today)

2.00 Kiama Bay, 2.30 Lilbourne Lad, 3.05 Dux Scolar, 3.40 Hoof It (NAP), 4.15 Thomas Chippendale, 4.50 La Zamora.

Today’s other meetings

Bangor, Salisbury, Sandown and Wolverhampton.

York (tomorrow)

2.00 Dream Eater, 2.30 Masaraat, 3.05 Blue Bajan, 3.40 Mount Athos (NAP), 4.15 My Propeller, 4.50 Holy Roman Warrior, 5.20 Cocktail Charlie.

Chester (tomorrow)

2.25 Mappin Time, 3.00 Na Zdorovie, 3.35 Ladys First, 4.10 Berling, 4.45 Lowther, 5.15 French Hollow, 5.45 Tancred Spirit.

Tomorrow’s other meetings

Bath, Market Rasen, Newton Abbot, Perth and Sandown.

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