Four fabulous days on the Knavesmire
It was an Ebor Festival which will long live in the memory – in words and pictures, Gary McKenzie with the main text and Mike Deasy with the captions capture four fabulous days racing on the Knavesmire
Mishriff. How good was he? He won a high-class renewal of the Juddmonte International by six lengths. It was a real WOW performance.
◊ Mishriff scorched home in the Juddmonte International
◊ Jockey David Egan wants it known coming into the winner’s enclosure that Mishriff is the star of the show
And the King George win by Adayar is looking even better now.
The horse in second, Alenquer, has form that ties in with both Adayar and Hurricane Lane so if Mishriff does go for the Arc we could be in for a treat.
It was a largely disappointing day for me. Not only did High Definition not win, he wasn’t even the best from his stable!
◊ Snowfall wins her third ‘Oaks’ of the season in emphatic style
◊ Ryan Moore returns to the winner’s enclosure aboard Snowfall who could head to the Arc
Snowfall was the undoubted star of the show. She won the Yorkshire Oaks by four lengths. Eased down. The way she came past the leaders looked almost effortless and she could get even better.
The Arc is shaping up into a race for the ages. I am already on Tarnawa but I just hope all the principals turn up in Paris on the first Sunday of October.
Just a head separated the first two at the line in the Lonsdale Cup. But that hardly begins to describe the final 400-yards of the race.
Spanish Mission and Stradivarius were locked in battle from the two-furlong pole.
◊ Stradivarius gets his head in front and is lifted over the line not just by Frankie Dettori but by the whole crowd who had started applauding befor the furlong marker
The younger horse even had the temerity to put his head in front in the final furlong. But champions are serial winners because they do not know when they are beaten.
Stradivarius would not lay down and he somehow got up in the last 50 yards. Strictly on ratings neither horse has run his best race (although the runner up got close) but those lucky enough to have been on the Knavesmire will not forget what they witnessed.
The phrase “nip and tuck” could have been invented for that race. I make no apologies for the flowery language but most of you know how much I love my stayers.
Spanish Mission is a very good horse but Stradivarius is almost a force of nature. There is talk of him continuing for at least another season. How fantastic.
The top race of the day was the Nunthorpe and Winter Power showed how much she loves York with her third win in four starts at the course. She hit the front two out and was nearly two lengths clear at the line.
It was a win for local trainer Tim Easterby and Yorkshire trainers completed a 1-2 when the Kevin Ryan trained Emaraaty Ana followed her home.
◊ The York weather wasn’t at its best on Saturdsy, and was at its worst for the Ebor, but that didn’t dampen the spirits as Sonnyboyliston delivered his knockout blow to win Europe’s richest handicap
Johnny Murtagh was a top-class jockey who won big races all over the world. He is now doing the same in the training ranks. He has already landed a Group 1 when his Champers Elysses won last years Matron Stakes now he has trained his second winner of the Ebor.
Sonnyboyliston won by just a head from Quickthorn in another pulsating finish on the Knavesmire. It is one of the few races Murtagh never won which shows how hard it is to win.
The winner could now go to the Melbourne Cup although he may take in the Irish St Leger on the way.
Space Blues is a beautiful horse. He doesn’t seem to get a mile at the top level, and is not quite quick enough at sprint distances. But over seven furlongs he is almost unbeatable.
Seven wins and two runners up spots in ten runs tells its own tale. He also has a win and a third over six and a half furlongs in the Maurice De Gheest. The Foret is an obvious target.
Real World is now a Group 3 winner after winning the Strensall Stakes. He beat a Group 1 winner in Lord Glitter and while some may say he is not the horse he was, Lord Glitters has run close to his best.
Real World looks like a horse who can improve again and against better quality opponents we may get to see him really excel.
◊ Over 83,000 were at York for the Ebor Festival with a record crowd for the Friday of 20.000
Finally some good news for yours truly. I found a winner. Yes. It’s true.
On Saturday I said this about Valley Forge. “Only a maiden winner but he has been improving throughout the season. The longer trip could see him improve again” It was a narrow victory but I was happy to see him hit the line first.
The other two selections both placed so I am now sitting here with a smug grin.
It was a fantastic weeks racing.