THE penultimate day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival starts today on Knavesmire.

Carrying a prize of just over £225,000, the Nunthorpe Stakes is the richest race of the day. In among the 15-strong field will be North Yorkshire trainers Kevin Ryan, Nigel Tinkler, John Quinn and Tim Easterby.

Run in the time slot before is the historic Gimcrack Stakes, in which Ryan has two runners while Danny Tudhope - stable jockey to Upper Helmsley's David O'Meara - will partner the Karl Burke-trained Last Crusader.

Here, myracing previews four of the day's seven races.

Sky Bet Handicap, 1.50pm

This handicap is open to three-year-olds but has been dominated by older horses in the last ten years, with nine winners aged four, one five and one six (11 winners due to a dead-heat in 2015), so can Wink Of An Eye or State Of Bliss buck this disappointing trend?

A closer inspection of the last ten runnings gives hope they can because the statistics aren't as damning as they first seem. The fact is not many three-year-olds have run and, of the 158 horses who competed since the start of 2011, only 13 were aged three. The problem is that only two of the 13 three-year-olds finished in the first four and both of those came in the same race in 2012. They also underperformed in relation to the market as nine of them went off at single-figures, including 11-8 favourite Zabeel Champion last year.

Alan King, trainer of Midnights Legacy and Scarlet Dragon: "Midnights Legacy has been running well all season but I think the handicapper has him about right. Only Scarlet Dragon knows how he will run! He's not the easiest to deliver but has stacks of ability and will no doubt pop up in one of these races and surprise us."

Philip Robinson, racing manager to Saeed Suhail, owner of My Frankel: "Hopefully he'll get some quicker ground; he just couldn't handle it when it went soft at Goodwood last time. He always works well at home and we think this track should play to his strengths."

Adam Ryan, assistant to Kevin Ryan, trainer of Throne Hall: "He started the season well and then we tried him over a mile and six furlongs and found out he probably doesn't stay. We're dropping back in trip and he's been freshened up since his last run. He's a talented horse and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him bounce back."

Stuart Williams, trainer of Rhythmic Intent: "He's in great form and is well drawn. We could do with a drop of rain to help his chances but there doesn't seem to be any around."

Tim Easterby, trainer of Dark Jedi: "The horse he beat at Ripon on his penultimate start won well at Carlisle on Wednesday so that gives us some confidence. We had hoped to get into the Ebor but it was not to be."

Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes, 2.25pm

In terms of the staying division, this is a campaign that promised plenty. The emergence of Trueshan, Subjectivist and Spanish Mission as genuine challengers to Stradivarius set up the enticing prospect of a vintage season but it hasn't worked out that way.

We were robbed of what might have been a Gold Cup classic after Stradivarius found every bit of trouble on the home bend behind Subjectivist and Spanish Mission at Ascot, and Subjectivist's injury has denied us what would have been a fascinating rematch.

Nevertheless, we were set for a fantastic race between Stradivarius and Trueshan in the Goodwood Cup last month only to again be denied when John and Thady Gosden pulled Stradivarius out at the eleventh hour due to the testing ground.

The wisdom of that decision has been questioned and I'm among those who thought it made little sense. After all, Stradivarius produced the best performance of his life on soft ground when leaving the Gold Cup field ten lengths behind him at Ascot last year.

Furthermore, Stradivarius has recorded Racing Post Ratings higher than 120 five times and on all five occasions the ground was described as good or softer – firm didn't feature in any.

A dry forecast means firm will probably appear in the description this time, so it will be interesting to see if the Gosdens have their decision vindicated with a win here. Maybe the bigger question is whether, at the age of seven, Stradivarius is as good as he was?

John Gosden, trainer of Stradivarius: "Obviously it was very frustrating not to be able to run him in the Goodwood Cup, which is at a track he absolutely loves. We weren't able to do it, however, after they had 60mm of rain the 24 hours beforehand. Stradivarius has been happy and seems to still have all of his enthusiasm, but obviously we're aware he's a year older."

Barry Irwin, founder of Team Valor, joint-owners of Spanish Mission: "We're hoping for a good show. The trip just stretched him a little in the Gold Cup – two miles is his limit, but he's good over that trip. This is his last race in England for the year, he'll be going into quarantine after York for a crack at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup, which we've always thought would suit him."

Willie Mullins, trainer of Stratum: "Stratum ran well to finish second in this race last year and I'm hoping he can repeat that effort. I think you can discount his run over hurdles at Galway last time."

Gimcrack Stakes, 3pm

This could easily have been a rematch between Lusail and Berkshire Shadow because the pair were due to meet in the Vintage Stakes over 7f at Goodwood last month, but Lusail was declared a non-runner due to the easing ground and only Berkshire Shadow ran.

There was not much between the pair in the market at the time of Lusail's withdrawal on that occasion, but he is a clear favourite with most firms in the overnight betting this time.

That is probably because Berkshire Shadow was beaten for the first time in that Goodwood contest, finishing three-quarters of a length behind Angel Bleu in second, but he lost no caste in defeat on going softer than ideal to a rival he had previously beaten in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Oisin Murphy, rider of Berkshire Shadow: "He's coming back in trip after running over seven furlongs at Goodwood and this looks the right spot for him. He has a penalty but is a strong type who will enjoy this better ground."

Ed Walker, trainer of American Star: "This has been the target for American Star since he was bought. Although it's a big step up from a novice, his form is pretty good – he was second at Newbury to Bosh, who went close in a valuable sales race at Naas earlier this month. I don't know if he is good enough to win, he'll have to improve a good bit if he is to do that, but I wouldn't rule him out."

Roger Fell, trainer of Eldrickjones: "Goodwood last time was a disaster as he didn't handle the track and I expect him to do better on the Knavesmire. He was second to Berkshire Shadow at Royal Ascot and now gets 3lb off him so hopefully he can finish thereabouts."

Adam Ryan, assistant to Kevin Ryan, trainer of Gis A Sub and Spitting Feathers: "Gis A Sub ran better than the bare result at Goodwood on a tricky track. He was a bit keen early on and it's probably best to let him bowl along. I think he can take a big step up. He has course-and-distance form and everything should suit him. Spitting Feathers did it nicely last time and learned a lot from it. It's a big jump up in class, but he's a nice horse and he's had experience of York as well which should stand him in good stead."

Charlie Hills, trainer of Orazio: "He got caught in behind a few at Newbury last time when they went no gallop, but he's very professional and we've had this race in mind for him for some time."

Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1), 3.35pm

Wesley Ward said Golden Pal could be the best horse he has trained in the build-up to the Ebor meeting and the American trainer's confidence has not waned as he bids to crack the Nunthorpe at last.

Ward, who has landed the King's Stand and Diamond Jubilee Stakes among multiple top-flight victories on both sides of the Atlantic, has unfinished business with the Group 1 sprint after going so close with Lady Aurelia in 2017 that Frankie Dettori celebrated thinking he'd won before Marsha was confirmed the winner by a nose.

Acapulco had also filled the runner-up spot behind Mecca's Angel two years earlier and now Ward returns with another lightning-quick sprinter in Golden Pal, who has won all three US starts since just failing to make all in last year's Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Wesley Ward, trainer of Golden Pal: "He seems to have settled in great. It's a very fast track and we've got a great jockey, so if he loses it's my fault. I think everything is in his favour.

"You're always worried about something with these horses, especially when they're as fast as him, but he's extremely fit and sound, and hopefully it all comes together."

Michael Dods, trainer of Dakota Gold and Que Amoro: "Que Amoro ran a hell of a race when second last year, but she's a bit temperamental and things haven't really worked out for her so far this year. Hamilton wasn't the right track for her, and before that we rode her wrong at York and she went a bit fast at Ascot, but she's in good form and she likes York.

"The ground isn't ideal for Dakota Gold, but so long as it's safe I think he'll run. He might have grabbed a place if it had been heavy, but on good ground they’ll probably be too speedy for him."

John Quinn, trainer of Liberty Beach: "We held on to her at Goodwood last time, which didn't suit, and she was involved in scrimmaging and ended up being the meat in the sandwich. She's been running well again this season and she was second in the Lowther as a two-year-old on her only run at York. She's in very good form and I'm expecting a big run from her."