So it’s one of the most competitive staying handicaps of the year but hear this if Michael Bell’s FABRICATE gets a run in the Ebor Handicap at York on Saturday he’ll be a major player.
The selection still needs nine entries to come out (he’s 29th on the list and only 20 can run for safety reasons) and we don’t know the draw, going or the final field. But I believe that the son of Makfi is made for this gruelling race and that his in-form and shrewd handler has aimed him at this famous contest.
The Newmarket raider has only visited the racetrack six times, but it was his eye catching fifth of 19 in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot that really alerted me to him.
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Held up way off a stop-start pace, Fabricate had to weave his way through the field, but by the time the winner Kinema and Co. had hit top gear down the short home stretch, his catch-up task was impossible. He did well to finish within five lengths of the lead that day and the run can be upgraded.
Since then the third home, King’s Fete, has won a brace of Group Three events, the fourth Third Sitting a valuable handicap, while Ivan Grozny (back in ninth) hacked up at the Galway Festival.
Does the bare form of that Ballybrit win entitle Willie Mullins big-race favourite to be a massive 27 points shorter than the lesser-exposed Fabricate? I don’t think so.
Fingers crossed he gets a run on Saturday – but stick him in your tracker if he doesn’t.
Of the remaining runners, I am saving my punting bag for the Cesarewitch in October for the well weighted Fun Mac (showed more promise at Goodwood) although it wouldn’t surprise me if he hit the frame here. The likes of Northumberland Plate winner Antiquarium and stable mate Oceanographer are respected.
The former, a tall and languid individual stays especially well and would be an able deputy for the selection if he doesn’t get in.
Many will say that he had the Plate run to suit, but he was a striking winner that day and a 6lbs penalty is just about fair. He needs a fast pace to aim at back down in trip, but this will only be his ninth career start on turf so there could be a bundle more improvement to come.
If the ground remains on the fast side Curbyourenthusiasm (Lonsdale Cup, 2.40) deserves a chance to put his Goodwood debacle behind him.
Now don’t argue with me, just take the tip and act on it; you have to forgive a horse one bad run and in some cases two or possibly three, depending on the circumstances.
Even if you dislike the classic American comedy show by the same name, do not give up on this classy stayer.
Ground and track were hugely against this scopey grey when he ran in the Goodwood Cup last month. York will be much more his cup of tea granted ground on the fast side of good.
Remember his second to Clever Cookie in the Yorkshire Cup? Hmm thought you’d forgotten….
I make Henry Candy’s LIMATO a 7/4 shot for the Nunthorpe Stakes so anything else is too big. Washington DC looks a decent each-way alternative at 14/1.