York has been bathed in sunshine for the first few days of the Ebor Festival, but the weather forecast suggests that plenty of rain is now on its way.
It’s just a question of how much will hit the Knavesmire and, more importantly, when it will arrive.
Some forecasters are predicting early showers, while others are suggesting it will remain dry until post midday on Friday.
If finding the winner of this year’s 20-runner Nunthorpe Stakes (3.40pm) wasn’t already hard enough, it just got much harder.
If I’m honest, I’ve been desperately keen to side with Michael Dods’s EASTON ANGEL in a strongly run five furlongs on fast ground back at York.
The daughter of Dark Angel ran a huge race when finishing less than a length behind King George Stakes winner Take Cover at Glorious Goodwood back in July, when not getting the smoothest of passages.
However, it’s her fondness for York that interests me most, having seen her win or place in all three of her appearances at the track.
She made no mistake back in May when winning a Listed race here on her seasonal appearance, before looking really impressive when following up at Sandown next time out.
In her most recent run here, she was beaten a neck by Sir Mark Prescott’s Marsha. But she was unlucky that day travelling throughout like a very good horse and has since reversed the form.
The yard has been among the winners and at a general 14/1 she looks a tempting each-way bet.
I’m hoping the ground remains firm enough for her to be seen at her best, so will keep my eyes fixed to the skies.
At the prices, I’m also tempted by Robert Cowell’s GOLDREAM at 12/1 with Betway, who are offering money back if your horse finishes second in this race.
Last year’s King’s Stand and Prix de l’Abbaye winner had an unsuccessful spell in the desert earlier this year, running twice at Meydan without hitting the frame.
He was then quite rightly given a nice long break, before returning to action with a very close third in the King George Stakes.
Cowell’s entry is a proven Group One performer, has form at York and wants the ground to stay quick.
Unsurprisingly, a number of dangers lurk within the race, including Limato who currently leads the market having won so handsomely at Newmarket in the July Cup.
Profitable, trained by Clive Cox, also comes into the race with every chance having enjoyed an incredibly successful season already.
If the rain does arrive, last year’s winner Meccas Angel may beat them all. That said, if it stays dry, she won’t even run.
NEMORALIA, who lines up in the City Of York Stakes (3.05pm) for trainer Jeremy Noseda, is another who will take plenty of beating if the rain stays away.
She won well here in the spring when finishing six-lengths clear of the pack under Frankie Dettori, before coming second in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Most recently she put in an under par display over in France when finishing fourth in the Prix Jean Prat, but I’m happy to forget that run.
She’s the class act in this field, and with Spencer riding so well of late it would be no surprise to see her land the spoils at 2/1.
Nemoralia, 3.05pm York
Easton Angel e/w, 3.40pm York
Goldream e/w, 3.40pm York