Ivan Grozny will not be lining up for the Ebor on Saturday
PICTURE: Caroline Norris (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Carr 9:15am 20 AUG 2016
BOOKMAKERS got a result on the eve of Europe’s richest Flat handicap and they will have high hopes of getting another when the race takes place.
Long-time ante-post favourite Ivan Grozny was pulled out of the Betfred Ebor by Willie Mullins on Friday morning as he was reported to be lame.
That looks to leave the battle for the £280,000 contest wide open, with Northumberland Plate winner Antiquarium the new favourite.
He is 2lb worse off for the length and a quarter he beat Seamour, whose trainer Brian Ellison landed this prize with Moyenne Corniche five years ago.
“Antiquarium is in good order,” said trainer Charlie Appleby. “The ground shouldn’t be a problem to him.”
Appleby will also saddle Oceanographer and added: “We were delighted with Oceanographer’s last start.
“With the different riding style – being dropped in – he galloped out strongly and we think he’s going to get the trip, although that’s the big question mark.”
Another Chapple-Hyan shock?
It is a decade since Jane Chapple-Hyam struck with 100-1 shot with Mudawin and she bids to spring another surprise with The Twisler.
Indeed this has not been a kind race to favourites, and outsiders should not be ignored. All bar one of the last seven winners started at double-figure odds, with success going to horses returned at 20-1, 25-1 (twice) and 33-1 in that time, and only one favourite collecting since 1998.
Jardine expecting Shrewd performance
Iain Jardine, trainer of Shrewd, is confident of a big performance as he steps back into handicap company after a creditable fifth place in the Listed Silver Cup at York.
“It’s an open handicap but we’re very optimistic for a good run,” he said. “Any rain would help. He’s a course and distance winner and probably ran a career-best race on the Flat in a Listed race last time.
“They didn’t go a great gallop that day, but they’re sure to go a strong pace. I couldn’t have him any better – he’s jumping out of his skin.”
More rain possible during day
Having been changed during racing on Friday, the going at York remained good on Saturday morning after a bright start.
However, assistant clerk of the course, Anthea Morshead, warned more rain could come during racing as the afternoon progresses.
“We’ve had 7mm of rain in total in the last 24 hours,” said Morshead. “We had 4mm during the day and then at around 10pm last night, we had another 3mm.
“It was a very clear, fresh morning with a light shower having just gone through. We might catch another light shower but we could also catch some more meaty rain during racing, from about mid-afternoon.”
Morshead also detailed the rail movements made to provide fresh ground on the final day of the meeting, adding: “We’ve moved the rail from the nine furlongs round into the straight onto the inner extention.
“That will put them onto some nice, fresh ground for the Ebor, which should give them a bit of a breather before they get into the straight.”