York races tips: Frank Hickey’s fab four best bets for Friday at the Ebor Festival

Frank's been doing his homework for Day 3.


1.45pm – Zabeel Champion

This race looks fairly full of exposed types and I think the unexposed Zabeel Champion at the bottom of the weights will take a fair bit of stopping getting the three-year-old allowance. He won two handicaps from the front at Newmarket over ten furlongs to see his mark go from 79 to 91 and I think he was a little unlucky not to land the hat-trick at Goodwood. He was ridden with more restraint that day and the sharper track appeared to catch him out but he did stick to the task well there, shaping as if the step-up in trip to a mile and a half will really suit him. He isn’t a big price but I really think he is a horse still well ahead of the handicapper.

2.45pm – Ubettabelieveit

This race has a really open look to it and while Yazaman probably is the standard-bearer, he seems to have found his level and isn’t really progressing. I am a massive fan of Nigel Tinkler as a trainer and while it is normally in handicaps that he does his winning, Ubettatelieveit looks really talented and could be up to landing this Group 2.

The yard’s two-year-olds always need their debut, so there was plenty of encouragement in his 4th at Doncaster and he went back there at the end of June to win decisively in a race backed up by the clock. That form looks rock solid, as the 2nd Digital was just beaten the subsequent Lowther third on his next start.

The 3rd, Rolfe Rembrandt won two starts later in a nursery at Newbury off a mark of 75. The 4th Bright Armour won his next start at Bath. The 5th Rainbow’s Pony was beaten by a head on nursery debut off 70 on her next start and the 6th JR Cavagin won his next two starts at York and Beverley.

Ubettabelieveit put that field to the sword, and so headed to Sandown for the National Stakes fairly well fancied and he could be called the winner that day from halfway. While that form isn’t solid, I think he would have been even more impressive if something would have been able to carry him into the race for longer and I think he is a very fair price to make the step up from Listed to Group 2 level.

York Races Ebor Festival

3.45pm – Dingle

This is always a really competitive maiden due the decent prize money on offer (although reduced purse this year) and while Naval Crown sets a very high standard on his Listed 3rd last time at Ascot, I am willing to give an each-way chance to the Richard Hannon trained Dingle. He is a horse that the trainer likes and he shaped well on debut at Newmarket when behind Naval Crown but running like the race would bring him forward hugely. He has plenty of ground to make up but I am expecting a very large step forward and I think the bit of better ground here won’t go amiss either. Hannon struck with a two-year-old winner at York on Thursday and I wouldn’t be shocked if he managed to double his tally of two-year-old winners here.

4.50pm – Visniari (5 places)

Visinari is a horse that divided opinion last season. After nearly breaking the clock on debut at Newmarket many believed he would go on and win a Group race, but he didn’t win in three subsequent starts. He was 3rd in the July Stakes when only beaten a neck and then 4th in the Vintage Stakes behind Pinatubo. He finished the season with a 4th in a Listed race at Doncaster and many were writing him off as a hype horse. In hindsight, that was an extremely strong race for the grade as the winner, Molatham won this year’s Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The 2nd, Wichita was 2nd in the 2,000 Guineas. The 3rd Berlin Tango won the G3 Classic Trial at Kempton beating subsequent dual Group 2 winner Pyledriver. Even the horse that finished last, Tomfre, won a nursery at Newmarket off a mark of 90 on his next start. That form looks red hot now and Visinari was only beaten a length and a half and there is every reason for thinking he starts off in handicaps off a fair mark of 105.

Paddy is paying 5 places and he would look to have solid each-way claims in a really competitive three-year-old handicap.

Frank’s fab four for Friday @ York

1.45pm – Zabeel Champion
2.45pm – Ubettabelieveit
3.45pm – Dingle
4.50pm – Visniari (5 places)

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What do you think?