York Ebor Festival predictions: Baaeed eyes more Group 1 glory

Enda McElhinney
Spotlight
All eyes will be on Baaeed on day one of York's Ebor Festival on Wednesday
All eyes will be on Baaeed on day one of York's Ebor Festival on Wednesday

The famous Ebor Festival kicks off at York on Wednesday afternoon, launching four days of high-quality equine action on the famous Knavesmire turf.

There is Group 1 fare via the Juddmonte International, the Yorkshire Oaks and the Nunthorpe Stakes across Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, while the final day is all about The Ebor — Europe's richest handicap on the Flat.

Here is our look ahead to York's Ebor Festival this week.

Brilliant Baaeed headlines day one

All eyes will be focused firmly on Baaeed for the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes (3.35pm) on Wednesday afternoon. The William Haggas-trained son of Sea The Stars is yet to taste defeat in his career and bids for a sixth straight top-level success here.

He is, though, racing beyond a mile for the first time and faces defending champion Mishriff and Irish 2000 Guineas winner Native Trail in a classy field.

The lofty comparisons with Frankel are too rich for many palates, but what cannot be denied is that, as yet, nothing in Baaeed's peer-group has merited comparison with the him. He can land another win.

Just before the big one, Charlie Appleby will hope to land his third Great Voltigeur Stakes since 2018 with either Secret State or Walk Of Stars, but Aidan O'Brien's impressive Curragh Group 3 winner Aikhal might thwart the Godolphin duo, with Ryan Moore booked in the saddle.

Prediction: Baaeed can land the big one, while Aikhal can snare the Great Voltigeur under Ryan Moore.

Harrington can taste the Magic in Yorkshire Oaks

Unbeaten Queen Mary winner Dramatised will be a warm order when the gates open for the Lowther Stakes (1.50pm), the curtain raiser on day two. Karl Burke's charge faces the likes of Maria Branwell, Kinta, Queen Me and Mawj in a quality line-up.

Later, the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (3.35pm) is the feature attraction on Thursday and a field of seven were declared.

They include Sir Mark Prescott's Alpinista — a four-time Group 1 winner on the continent — and Epsom Oaks bridesmaid Tuesday for Aidan O'Brien.

Magical Lagoon added to her Royal Ascot win in the Ribblesdale by landing the Irish Oaks last month and she could be a major player now for Jessica Harrington.

Prediction: Magical Lagoon can bring up an Oaks double on either side of the Irish Sea to maintain her perfect record at the 1m4f trip.

Speedy fillies set for Nunthorpe collision

The Platinum Queen could be one to watch out for at York on Friday
The Platinum Queen could be one to watch out for at York on Friday

Winter Power won the Nunthorpe Stakes (3.35pm) last season for Tim Easterby and it could be that the fairer sex are holding the aces again now.

Royal Acclaim is 3-3 for trainer James Tate and was most impressive in her Listed course and distance win here at York last month. On that evidence, she is a key player going up into Group 1 company and her trainer is very eager to see what she can do.

Meanwhile, Richard Fahey's two-year-old The Platinum Queen was supplemented at a cost of £40,000 this week to add her to this race. She was very fast at Glorious Goodwood last time and Hollie Doyle will take the ride on the filly, who gets a huge weight and sex allowance as she takes on her elders.

As a preamble to the big one, the Lonsdale Cup (2.25pm) could be the swansong for great stayer Stradivarius. John & Thady Gosden's star has, arguably, been a shade unfortunate at both Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood and — with ground doubts for key rival Trueshan — he might get some rewards with another win in this Group 2.

Prediction: The Platinum Queen could be the first 2YO Nunthorpe winner since Kingsgate Native in 2007.

Ireland's Earl set for Ebor bid

The Ebor will be a fascinating heat and the Paddy Twomey-trained Earl Of Tyrone has racked up a trio of wins in Ireland in recent times and was last seen scoring in Listed company at Limerick in June. He is amongst the leading contenders for this major handicap.

Jessica Harrington's Ever Present gives Ireland a strong hand, while William Haggas' pair Gaassee and Candleford are amongst the leading contenders on the home team alongside Royal Ascot winner Coltrane for Andrew Balding.

Sandrine, Kinross and Pogo were split by very little when first, second and third in the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last month and they could re-engage in battle for the Group 2 City Of York Stakes (3.00pm) here.

Prediction: Earl Of Tyrone has been flying in Ireland and could give the raiders a third Ebor win in four years.

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