Horse Racing: 3 things learned from York Ebor Festival as Mishriff shines

The Timeform boffins pick their highlights from last week's Ebor festival.


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Juddmonte result backs up three-year-old form

Back at a mile and a quarter, Mishriff had his optimum conditions in the Juddmonte International and produced a top-class performance to win his first Group 1 on home turf. His impressive six-length beating of the King Edward VII Stakes winner Alenquer, with second favourite Love back in third, added another big prize to Mishriff’s haul of valuable victories already gained overseas.

Mishriff had been beaten in his two previous starts in Britain this summer, a lack of peak fitness probably to blame in the Eclipse before he finished second in the King George over a trip that’s perhaps a bit further than ideal. But Mishriff’s win at York also pays a big compliment to the top-class three-year-olds who beat him at both Sandown and Ascot.

It was a pity that Eclipse winner St Mark’s Basilica had to miss the Juddmonte after sustaining an injury on the gallops the previous weekend, ruling out a rematch with Mishriff, while Adayar, who beat Mishriff convincingly in the King George, is another whose form looks all the better now.

York’s 5f ideal for speedy Winter Power

French filly Suesa and American colt Golden Pal headed the betting for the Nunthorpe Stakes, the former a convincing winner of the King George Stakes at Goodwood from another well-fancied Nunthorpe runner Dragon Symbol, and the latter coming with a big reputation after being successful at last year’s Breeders’ Cup.

However, the foreign challenge came up short. Suesa simply couldn’t get into it from well off the pace, her high draw not helping, while Golden Pal showed early speed but was soon a spent force. Winter Power, on the other hand, who was up there throughout, took over when Golden Pal gave way and had the race more or less in the bag from over a furlong out.

Winter Power had finished only seventh in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot, but either side of that had twice shown blistering pace to win listed races over York’s fast, flat five furlongs which is absolutely ideal for her. She proved that again in better company in the Nunthorpe, though it remains to be seen if the Flying Five in Ireland or the Abbaye in France will suit her quite so well.


Keep an eye on Johnny Murtagh’s runners in Britain

Seven years after he first won the race with Mutual Regard, Johnny Murtagh struck again in the Ebor when 10/1 shot Sonnyboyliston got up for a head win over Quickthorn. That was an improvement on Sonnyboyliston’s previous start when he finished sixth in the Group 3 Silver Cup over the same course and distance in July when he had been unable to reach a challenging position.

He found the stronger gallop of the Ebor more in his favour and was fitted with cheekpieces for the first time this year. Sonnyboyliston had put up a much-improved performance in the headgear for the first time when an impressive winner of a competitive handicap at the Curragh last season.

British punters are well aware of the threat posed by Aidan O’Brien’s and Willie Mullins’ runners – they sent off Mullins’ runner Mt Leinster joint-favourite for the Ebor – but Murtagh has shown at the major meetings in Britain this summer that his raiders also need respecting. He had his first Royal Ascot winner as a trainer when Create Belief won the Sandringham Handicap and then struck at Goodwood with 11/1 shot Ottoman Emperor in the Gordon Stakes.




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