The exceptional performance by Battaash was thoroughly clouded over by the loss of two recent greats earlier today. Roaring Lion succumbing to a second bout of colic was desperate given the promise of a long and healthy career at stud after his on-course exploits. As heartbreaking was the departure of Espoir D’Allen, the Champion Hurdler, who had so much ahead of him a the tender of age of five. The news itself is shocking, but we might not feel the full effects of either until well into the future.
The final day of the Ebor meeting will be run under somewhat of a gloom, though the handicap could throw up a couple of fairytale stories to brighten the mood. Furthermore, there is action at Goodwood, with the return of a promising three-year-old being a significant eyecatcher. Here are my day four choices.
Goodwood 2:05 – SKARDU
Both Duke of Hazzard and Beat Le Bon have improved for the milder weather recently, but Skardu’s form at Group One level is top drawer. Third and fourth in the British and Irish Guineas, he wasn’t beaten far in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot either when late rain may have hindered him more than the other principles. Given he’s only had five starts to date, he should have further progress in him and a layoff should pose no problems given he opened his season with a victory.
York 2:25 – EMINENCE
With Ryan Moore returning to a bit of form recently, Eminence looks the soundest bet in the three-year-olds’ Ebor equivalent. He has been far from disgraced in some top handicaps this summer and, in hindsight, has shaped as if a couple of extra furlongs will see him in an even better light. He is only up 1lb for a good third at Goodwood when not having the clearest of passages having travelled well and the likes of First In Line, Almania and Universal Order all have to prove their stamina upped from a mile-and-a-quarter.
York 3:40 – MUSTAJEER
I cant tip King’s Advice because I’ve already missed out on all of his victories to date and it’ll be the kiss of death if I do. Nevertheless, this could prove the bridge too far even with his penalty ensuring he’s 1lb in, as the Ebor is different gravy with only 8lb covering the field. Mustajeer was fourth in this off the same mark last year when quietly ridden and has since become a runaway Listed winner as well as having placed at Group level behind Master Of Reality over this trip. His recent fifth in a Curragh Group Two was far from a disgrace as he finished upsides the useful Southern France off the same weight. This year’s Ebor renewal has ceiling 3lb higher than last and so Mustajeer carries less weight than twelve months ago and now its more certain that he’ll relish the journey, a more aggressive ride could be in store, throwing him right into calculations.
Goodwood 3:50 – MANUELA DE VEGA
Though she’d have got nowhere near Enbihaar at Goodwood, Manuela De Vega was never the most handily placed in the Lillie Langtry at the beginning of the month. That she ran on for a clear second confirmed her stamina was not the issue that day. These are calmer waters she shares in this Group Three, with Sir Ron Priestley stepping out of handicap company, Promissory wildly unproven, Dal Horrisgle already defeated soundly at this level and Blue Gardenia surely not up to scratch. She would not be out of place in a St Leger field at this stage and her form in Group Ones should mean she’s the one to beat.