Before I go into more relevant matters, let’s get one myth concerning the Betfred Ebor out of the way. The draw is not a major factor. This is a race run over 1m6f on a track that is flat and wide with one long easy turn. If a horse can’t find a good position before they start turning for home, it isn’t good enough – end of story. In fact, I’d go as far to say I’d rather back a runner with an outside berth – at least it shouldn’t get boxed in.
That could be a problem for ante-post favourite Opinion (5/1 with nearly all bookmakers) as he needs to be held up and met trouble in-running when a beaten favourite in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock last time, finishing behind Highland Castle (a general 25/1). Tiger Cliff (a best 9/1 with BetVictor) won over the distance at Newmarket in the spring but drops back from 2m4f for this having finished second in the Ascot Stakes in June. His recent absence is a bit of a worry and stamina should be a real concern for supporters of Sheikhzayedroad. A couple of good runs behind Forgotten Voice has seen the four-year-old installed at a best 9/1 (Betfred and Coral) but he looks too high in the weights now having started the season off on a mark of 84 and I’m very keen on another at similar odds in CARAVAN ROLLS ON.
Peter Chapple-Hyam‘s five-year-old has been aimed at this and looks to be coming to the boil just in time. He is 4lb better off with Tiger Cliff than when just behind Lady Cecil‘s stayer at Newmarket and has an identical pull in the weights with Opinion than when fourth to that one over an inadequate 1m4f at Ascot, where he also encountered traffic problems. Beaten less than a length under 10st at Ascot subsequently, this looks his chance to shine and Jamie Spencer is the ideal jockey booking for one which needs to arrive late on the scene. Caravan Rolls On is still available at 9/1 with several layers.
Of the others, Irish raiders Steps To Freedom (22/1 with 888sport) and Ted Veale are respected. The latter arrives in terrific form and is a 10/1 chance with William Hill while another penalised runner, the improving Bishop Roko, is a general 14/1. Tropical Beat (18/1 with the sponsors) made a promising reappearance at Musselburgh and Guarantee could go well at a general 25/1 if the rains arrive in time. He has few miles on the clock and won the Melrose Handicap over course and distance last year. Genzy is also interesting at the same odds with Boylesports and Coral but I’m hoping Caravan Rolls On gets towed into contention and finds the necessary to prevail.