HISTORY will be made at York tomorrow afternoon when connections of the winner of the Sky Bet Ebor (3.40pm) collect a cheque for a cool £600,000.
This is the first year this historic handicap is being run for £1million, and the racecourse and sponsor have been rewarded with a top class field of stayers.
With just 8lbs between the top and bottom weight, it is very difficult to rule out any of the 22 runners.
Mark Johnston’s sole Ebor success came in 1992 with Quick Ransom and his long wait for another victory could come to an end as he saddles ante-post favourite King’s Advice.
The son of Frankel has been one of the stories of the Flat season, starting the campaign rated 71 and climbing an astonishing 42lbs after eight wins from nine outings.
Opposing him has been expensive, yet I couldn’t entertain backing him at 6/1 in as competitive a race as this.
Bear in mind that he is now taking on horses who have run well in, if not won, Group races and you have to look elsewhere.
My first selection is RAHEEN HOUSE on his third start for William Haggas.
He is one of only two horses to have finished in front of superstar Enable and while he hasn’t been the easiest to win with, Haggas has planned his whole season around this race.
His two efforts so far this campaign have been over course and distance, with a second to Gold Mount in a Listed contest followed by a narrow third to Red Verdon in a Group Three last month.
Go back two years and he was winning the Group Three Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket for Brian Meehan and he is better than a handicapper.
Haggas tends to target the Ebor meeting and would love nothing more than to win the race that the four days are named after for the first time.
James Doyle takes the ride and he looks a decent each-way bet at around the 8/1 mark.
Interestingly, my other selection was just a length behind in second in the aforementioned Bahrain Trophy in July 2017.
DESERT SKYLINE has run in some top class staying races and was only beaten three lengths by Stradivarius in last year’s Yorkshire Cup when conceding 3lbs.
He was admittedly a bit disappointing at Goodwood last time, but David Elsworth is putting on a first-time visor and he looks to have a good middle draw in stall 15.
Although Elsworth hasn’t had the best of seasons, this five-year-old shouldn’t be as big as 33/1.
It’s not easy keeping John Gosden and Frankie Dettori out of the headlines at the moment, and the pair team up again with a huge chance in the Sky Bet Melrose Handicap (2.25pm).
FIRST IN LINE only made his racecourse debut at Nottingham in April but the son of New Approach was considered by some in the spring as a lively outsider for the Investec Derby.
Defeat that day put such ambitious talk on hold, but victories at both Lingfield and Doncaster have since got his career back on track.
It would be a big surprise if he didn’t prove a lot better than a handicapper in time, and with this step up in trip likely to suit, the 4/1 looks worth snapping up.
First In Line 2.25pm York
Raheen House e/w 3.40pm York
Desert Skyline e/w 3.40pm York