Day Two York Ebor Meeting Preview 2023

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

York - August 23 2023
York 12:50
Ryan Moore

Cherry Blossom

J: Ryan Moore
T: A P O'Brien
Age: 2
Weight: 9-2
Days: 12

The first selection on the second day of the Ebor meeting comes in the Group Two Sky Bet Lowther Stakes over 6f and although Relief Rally has done very little wrong to date, we are taking a chance on the Aidan O'Brien trained Cherry Blossom.

Making her debut at Naas in the Listed Marwell Stakes over 5f she was an unlucky loser on the day back in fourth racing on the wrong side of the track on ground softer than she may like.

Starting her off in that sort of contest showed just what type of horse they think they have on her hands and last time out at the Curragh she proved just what a special horse she is.

Stepped up to 6f in a Maiden event on good ground she pulled away from the field in impressive style to bolt up five lengths, in the same race St Mark's Basilica won back in 2020 before going on to better things.

She has been supplemented for this event which is another big statement and if improving again might be tough to beat on quick ground again.

York - August 23 2023
York 13:25
Sean Levey


J: Sean Levey
T: Richard Hannon
Age: 2
Weight: 9-2
Days: 8

The 22 runner Premier Yearling Handicap over 6f sees a huge field of juveniles head to post looking to land a valuable pot and we have picked out two of some interest.

The first is the Richard Hannon trained Persica and although having a few in the field this colt looks to be his best chance.

Hannon has a superb record in this race winning five of the last seven renewals, his most noticeable recent winners being Shouldvebeenaring, Happy Romance and Mums Tipple.

Persica in the same silks as the latter horse looks a typical Hannon type for this race needing his first start over 7f when hanging all over the place.

However, three days later at Salisbury he looked a different horse obviously improving for that first experience to bolt up by over three lengths on the drop to 6f.

Sean Levey takes the ride having won this event last term and he looks to have plenty in his favour just 8 days on.

York - August 23 2023
York 13:25
Jason Hart

Twilight Romance

J: Jason Hart
T: John Quinn
Age: 2
Weight: 9-5
OR: 89
Days: 52

With 22 runners in the event we have picked out another runner of interest in the race that could go close and that is the John Quinn trained Twilight Romance.

Seen three times to date when making his debut over 6f at Haydock and finishing a good third behind two nice types in The Camden Colt and Thunder Blue.

He improved next time out to get off the market over course and distance, going on to bolt up by close to three lengths in a decent Maiden Stakes.

Last seen at Pontefract under a penalty he had to settle for a narrow second with We Never Stop reversing the form having been getting 4lbs.

Twilight Romance can win the decider between them two now being 2lb better off at the weights and having shown he handles the track already, that makes him a big player.

York - August 23 2023
York 14:00
David Egan

Akhu Najla

J: David Egan
T: Roger Varian
Age: 4
Weight: 9-4
OR: 97
Days: 26

Another tricky event at York on day two of the meeting is the Clipper Handicap over a mile and it sees 20 runners all go to post for glory and again we have dutched the race with two each way options.

The first is the very intriguing Akhu Najla for Roger Varian who is only going to come on for his first start of the season having been off the track for 10 months.

Seen once a juvenile in 2021 when a neck second over 7f at Leicester, he then started his three year old campaign last term at Yarmouth over a mile and got off the mark at the second time in asking in very impressive style going on to bolt up 6.5 lengths.

Kept at a mile in the Listed Heron Stakes he bumped int My Prospero and Reach For The Moon who were far too good for him that day and then in the Old Boston Handicap at Haydock he underperformed in the soft conditions off 98.

Returning this term at the end of July at Ascot off 1lb lower, he ran a great comeback race to finish 1.5 lengths back in fourth behind the talented Ghaly.

The way he stayed on throughout the race was encouraging and off the same mark in this event, stripping much fitter for that blow out gives him big appeal.

York - August 23 2023
York 14:00
Callum Rodriguez

Point Lynas

J: Callum Rodriguez
T: Edward Bethell
Age: 4
Weight: 9-3
OR: 96
Days: 64

At a bigger price in the race is Point Lynas for trained Edward Bethell who hasn't ran a bad race at the track during his career and putting behind him his latest run, it leaves him with plenty of strong form heading into the race.

Form figures of 522 between 7f and a mile at the track he has ran some screamers in similar big fielded events and having course form at a track like York means a big thing.

Second over C&D at this meeting last year in a very similar event having been first past the post off a mark of 86, he finished the season on soft ground at Doncaster and needing quick conditions he ran no race.

Returning this season in March at Newcastle in a Class 3 Handicap over a mile off a mark of 90, he went on to win well making a bright start to his term.

Sent to Newmarket over the same trip but on good to soft ground he again did not take to the surface and could only finish sixth of 13 off 3lbs higher.

Getting back to quicker ground at York over C&D in May he was a head second to the well handicapped Croupier who next time out off 3lb higher was a superb second of 29 in the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Point Lynas then went to Nottingham up to 8.5f and had to settle for second again behind a nice type in Major Partnership, but threw in a blip run last time in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot when only 14th of 30 runners.

That race is one you can have hard luck stories and some horses just not getting involved in, so we can overlook that run and back to a C&D he thrives at, he looks a big each way player.

York - August 23 2023
York 14:35
Ryan Moore


J: Ryan Moore
T: A P O'Brien
Age: 3
Weight: 9-0
OR: 114
Days: 33

The feature race of the afternoon on Thursday from the Knavesmire is the Group Yorkshire Oaks and we think it is going to be an Aidan O'Brien 1-2.

Savethelastdance is the horse to beat heading into the race having had a superb career to date blossoming into a special three year old.

Seen just once as a juvenile when fifth of eight at Thurles over a mile in a Maiden, she was then put away for her three year old campaign.

Given her seasonal debut this term she made a huge impression at Leopardstown when stepped up to 1m2f and going on to beat stablemate Boogie Woogie by 2 1/4 lengths.

Boogie Woogie has since bolted up in a Fillies' Maiden at Naas and the third Azazat has also gone on to frank the form in a good way.

O'Brien then sent her to the Listed Cheshire Oaks at Chester and putting up arguably the performance of the season so far she went on to bolt up by 22 lengths, with her sectional times being outrageous.

She was last seen in the Epsom Oaks when going off the well backed 5/6 fav and she was narrowly beaten on quick ground by Soul Sister for John & Thady Gosden.

Back on soft ground when last seen in the Group One Irish Oaks she looked beat at the furlong pole but rallied late on to see off Bluestocking by half a length, showing serious staying ability late in the day having been slightly outpaced earlier on.

She holds the leading form in the book and although getting back to a quicker surface we think she is the one to beat.

York - August 23 2023
York 14:35
James Doyle

Warm Heart

J: James Doyle
T: A P O'Brien
Age: 3
Weight: 9-0
OR: 110
Days: 33

At a bigger price we are giving another chance to the talented Warm Heart from the same stable to grab a place having not handled the soft ground last time in the Irish Oaks.

Running once as a juvenile in November last year and finishing a fair fourth at Dundalk when learning a lot for the experience, she was then put away for three year old career.

Returning over a mile on heavy ground at Leopardstown in April she was a fair third behind a nice type for Jessica Harrington, but looked to need a step up in trip.

Upped to 1m2f she got off the mark at Leopardstown revelling in the new trip and next time out she made it back to back wins in the Listed Haras De Bouqetot, outstaying the smart Bluestocking.

Being a well bred daughter of Galileo the step up to 1m4f was always going to suit and she confirmed that form with Bluestocking when going to Royal Ascot and bolting up in the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes on good to firm ground.

Last seen when running on late on albeit the bird had flown in the Group One Irish Oaks, quick ground is the key to this horse and getting back to that surface you have to forgive her last run and focus on her runs before that and those runs put her in the frame.

York - August 23 2023
York 15:10
Tom Marquand

Sea Theme

J: Tom Marquand
T: William Haggas
Age: 3
Weight: 9-0
Days: 28

Next up is the Listed Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes over 1m4f and Sea Theme for William Haggas looks a solid each way bet to nothing.

Seen just twice to date when making her debut over 1m2f at Salisbury when a length back in third behind two more experienced rivals.

She then went to Doncaster up to 1m4f and revelled in the extra distance to bolt up by three lengths from the talented Cherry for Ralph Beckett.

Now sent into Listed company over the same trip she is sure to keep improving and having shown versatility on both quick and slow ground she looks tough to knock.

York - August 23 2023
York 15:45
Oisin Murphy

Aragon Castle

J: Oisin Murphy
T: Andrew Balding
Age: 2
Weight: 9-2
OR: 86
Days: 18

The penultimate event of the afternoon on day two of the Ebor meeting is the EBF Stallions Nursery Handicap over 7f and Aragon Castle looks very solid at an each way price.

Making his debut at Salisbury at the back end of June when looking to need the experience he has been much improved on his latest two starts.

Sent to Epsom in July he got off the mark for his career when bolting up by three lengths in a decent Maiden event, with the second Mission To Moon since coming out and bolting up in a Nursery Handicap at Glorious Goodwood off 81.

Last seen at Chester on soft ground under a penalty he finished a length behind stablemate Marcella giving 8lb away and now making his handicap debut off a mark of 86 on his preferred ground conditions, he has to be taken seriously.

York - August 23 2023
York 16:20
Neil Callan

Dubai Jemila

J: Neil Callan
T: Kevin Ryan
Age: 3
Weight: 8-13
OR: 84
Days: 89

The final event of the afternoon is the Fillies' Handicap over 7f and at a huge price of 40/1 we are taking a chance on Dubai Jemila for Kevin Ryan and Neil Callan.

Thought of very highly last term when winning on her second start at Ayr over 7f on good ground in a fair Novice Stakes, she was then chucked into the Group Two Rockfel Stakes on her final juvenile start at Newmarket and was a little outclassed back in eighth behind the talented Commissioning.

Seen just twice this term she has not been able to kick on as yet but she has been running in difficult events, making her debut in the Group Three Nell Gwyn Stakes over 7f at Newmarket and the softish ground spoiled her chances.

Dropped into a handicap over a mile at York last time off a mark of 88, she was not fancied at all but ran to a much better standard when being prominent early on and not fully getting home over the mile.

Dropped back to her preferred 7f and down 4lb to a mark of 84, she looks underestimated in the market if bouncing back to form.