Here we look back at action from day two before taking a look at Day Three’s races.
Friday sees the penultimate day of racing at the 2023 York Ebor Festival take place. The first two days have produced enthralling action and surprises that have gripped fans in attendance at the racecourse. This festival has not disappointed, and the third day of racing looks like it will only continue the trend from the first two days.
Thursday’s action saw some of the favourites live up to their pre-race billing, whilst there were also a number of surprise results in some of the races. Firstly, we will look back at all seven races on day two before we look ahead at the action to come on the penultimate day of the York Ebor Festival.
13:50 – Sky Bet Lowther Stakes
The Sky Bet Lowther Stakes was the opening race on Thursday, and it was the pre-race favourite Relief Rally who emerged victorious after jockey Tom Marquand was able to fend off stern competition from the likes of Cherry Blossom and Symbology, who had to settle for 2nd and 3rd place respectively in the end.
It was a patient race to start with for Relief Rally, who made significant progress into the final furlong and eventually got the better of Cherry Blossom to seal the win.
14:25 – Goffs UK Harry Beeby Premier Yearling Stakes
Joint pre-race favourites Dragon Leader and Ziggy’s Condor took the top two spots in this race, and it was the former, ridden by Ryan Moore, who took the top spot in the final standings for this race. It was Love Billy Boy who completed the top three.
In a triumph that brings back memories of Mums Tipple in 2019, Dragon Leader echoed the emphatic nature of this victory in taking the win in the 2023 running of this race. Dragon Leader had been in tremendous form, winning both races pre-York. Jockey Moore was in top form, winning by four and a half lengths after making his way through the field.
15:00 – Clipper Handicap
The 2023 Clipper Handicap was the day’s first race that produced an unexpected winner. Ropey Guest had not been the pre-race favourite, but jockey Tom Queally put in a fantastic performance to win the race ahead of Point Lynas, Spirit Catcher and Sonny Liston, who all filled the final three spots in the top four in this race’s standings. This victory tasted very sweet for Ropey Guest, who had suffered numerous near misses in past races.
It was a tight and competitive race throughout, and with Jockey Queally keeping positive, Ropey Guest managed to get into the lead and have enough stamina to hold off all competition and hand Queally his first win at York in more than eight years.
Joint favourites Northern Express and Blue For You finished in 5th and 14th respectively.
15:35 – Pertemps Network Yorkshire Oaks
Pre-race favourite Savethelastdance had to settle for third place in the 2023 Pertemps Network Yorkshire Oaks, finishing behind Free Wind and race winner Warm Heart. It was a tremendous race for James Doyle, who tasted success riding Warm Heart to victory.
It was a waiting game for Warm Heart and Doyle, who were in the middle of the pack for most of the race. However, going into the final bend, they finally made their move to the front of the pack, where Warm Heart was able to beat Free Wind by just a head in the end.
16:10 – British EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes
Sea Theme was the pre-race favourite to win the British EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes and very much lived up to expectations in this race by securing victory. One Evening and Tregony filled the other two spots in this race’s top three. This was the second win of the day for Jockey Tom Marquand.
It was a race that saw Sea Theme hell-bent on reeling in the leaders of the race, and Marquand was eventually successful in doing just that, taking the lead before expertly holding off all competition to seal the win.
16:45 – Or8Wellness EBF Stallions Nursery Handicap
Despite being seen by many as the favourite, Aragon Castle could only finish in 8th place in the Or8Wellness EBF Stallions Nursery Handicap. Instead, it was Gushing Gold, ridden by William Buick, who won the race with Lexington Belle and Inishfallen finishing 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, in the end.
It was a patient and competitive race, with Gushing Gold in the middle of the field until the race’s final stages when Jockey Buick guided Gushing Gold to the win by a margin of just a neck ahead of Lexington Belle in a tightly packed front three.
17:20 – British EBF 40th Anniversary Fillies’ Handicap
Action on day two came to a close with the British EBF 40th Anniversary Fillies’ Handicap. The pre-race favourite did not taste glory in this race either, with the much fancied Unequal Love having to settle for a 10th-place finish. Instead, Nigiri won, finishing ahead of Coco Jamboo, Naomi Lapaglia and Peony, who filled the final three spots in this race’s top four.
Nigiri, ridden by Hector Crouch, was in the midst of a tight contest, and it was only when there was one furlong remaining in the race that Crouch took the lead. In the end, Nigiri was well clear.
Day Three Preview
With day two in the history books, we will now look ahead to the third and penultimate day of the 2023 York Ebor Festival. As with every day of the festival, seven races will take place at York Racecourse, where there may be further shock results to come in front of a bumper crowd.
Action on Friday will begin with the Sky Bet Handicap before closing with the Sky Bet Mile Handicap. The Nunthorpe Stakes, the fourth race of the day, is the headline race of day three.
13:50 Sky Bet Handicap
Alan King’s Paradias is amongst the leading contenders to win the 2023 edition of the Sky Bet Handicap at York. The ground should be to the liking of Paradias, who could only finish fourth in the Coral Chesterfield Cup Handicap at Goodwood earlier this month. This followed a 5th place in the Coral Play ‘Racing-Super-Series’ For Free Handicap and a win in the racingtv.com/Freetrial Handicap – both at Sandown.
Trawlerman was the 2022 winner of this race, finishing ahead of Alfred Boucher and Earl Of Tyrone, who rounded off the top three.
14:25 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes
The Lonsdale Cup is set to follow as the second race of the day. Courage Mon Ami, who is to be ridden by the great Frankie Dettori, is seen by many as one of the leading candidates to win this race on Friday afternoon. Dettori was back to his best with Mostahdaf earlier this week, which is a promising sign.
Courage Mon Ami was unsuccessful at Goodwood earlier this month, but success was found in the prestigious Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June 2023. A victory was also secured in the Tony Barrett Memorial Handicap in May.
Rewinding to 2022, Quickthorn won the Lonsdale Cup after getting the better of Coltrane, Reshoun and Tashkhan, who were 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively at the end.
15:00 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes
The Gimcrack Stakes is the third race of the day, and it is Johannes Brahms, trained by Aidan O’Brien, who has been earmarked by many to be the latest winner of this race at York.
In the horse’s two races so far, Johannes Brahms has not finished outside of the top two. Victory was secured in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race at Naas in May before finishing second place in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. This is promising form going into the Gimcrack Stakes at York.
Noble Style was the 2022 race winner, finishing ahead of pre-race favourite Marshman and Cold Case in third place.
15:35 Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes
Regional is one of the leading candidates to emerge victorious in the headline race of the day, the Nunthorpe Stakes. Form has been fantastic recently, with two wins in the last two races. The first was at York in the Lindum York Handicap back in May before also securing victory in the Sky Bet Achilles Stakes at Haydock a month later on 10th June.
Rewind to 2022, and it was Highfield Princess who won the most recent Nunthorpe Stakes, which saw The Platinum Queen and Emaraaty Ana have to settle for a 2nd and 3rd place finish, respectively.
16:10 Assured Data Protection EBF Fillies’ Handicap
Sirona has been tipped to win this race on Friday, and the distance covered in this race should suit Sirona, who will be ridden by Ryan Moore. In the most recent race, it was second place for Sirona, with Darkness holding onto victory at the front of the field.
State Occasion won in 2022, finishing ahead of Amanzoe, Croachil and Yorkshire Lady, who filled the final few spots in the top four.
16:45 British EBF 40th Anniversary Convivial Maiden Stakes
The penultimate race of the 2023 York Ebor Festival is the British EBF 40th Anniversary Convivial Maiden Stakes. Under The Sun, who is to be ridden by James Doyle, is seen as a top candidate to win this race, and recent form does back this up. In the last two races, Under The Sun finished 2nd in both the GPW Recruitment Carl Foster Memorial EBF Novice Stakes at Haydock and in the Juddmonte British EBF Restricted Novice Stakes at Ascot.
Desert Order won this race in 2022, finishing ahead of Glenfinnan and Hi Royal.
17:20 Sky Bet Mile Handicap
The enthralling action on Friday is set to finish with the Sky Bet Mile Handicap set to draw the action to a close for the third day. Despite this being his handicap debut, Enfjaar is fancied to win this race. There is good reason for this optimism – It was a 1st place finish in the Maiden Stakes at Newmarket in October 2022, following this up with a win in the Racing Welfare Novice Stakes at Chelmsford back in May 2023.
Back in 2022, Point Lynas was the winner of this race, with Jockey Ray Dawson managing to fend off stern competition from the likes of Master Richard (2nd place), City Runner (3rd place) and Golden Voice (4th place).
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