Mark Howard with five horses to follow at Sky Bet Ebor Festival

Author and racing TV pundit Mark Howard highlights a handful of horses he’s particularly excited to support at York’s Sky Bet Ebor Festival.

Hannon should be on the goalscorer list…

It promises to be a fantastic four days on Knavesmire, with great racing and prize money to match – and lots of runners.

Richard Hannon has dominated the Goffs UK Harry Beeby Premier Yearling Sales Event (Thursday 2.25am) for the last few years with four wins since 2016. The Wiltshire handler will be represented by the two races this time SHOULD BE NOTED returning from a long break (95 days).

A £40,000 foal by Havana Gold, he brings a good level of form to the six-furlong competition. A striking fourth on his debut at Goodwood (5f; Good) in late April, he stayed five and a quarter lengths behind Rocket Rodney (won twice since, including one listed race and rated 105 – and got a smack on the neck). eventual winner of Group 1 Little Big Bear in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot).

Back in action less than three weeks later, he was delighted to step up to six furlongs at Ripon (Good/Firm) who recorded a pleasant success. Playing well on the outside, he only needed to be nudged out to post a length and three-quarter win and the form has worked well.

Third (twice), sixth (twice), eighth (twice), and tenth (twice) have all won since. The Middleham Park Racing colt may have had a problem since then, but Hannon will get him in top form to make up for it. He should have a lot more to offer.

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Scotsman is improved to deliver in Yorkshire

ROYAL SCOTT is considered on par with so many of Paul Cole’s top-flight youngsters over the years, according to the trainer, and should be close in Friday’s (3.00) Gimcrack Stakes.

Bought as a yearling for 125,000 gns, he disappointed his connections when he finished fourth on his debut at Ascot behind the undefeated Noble Style. The Gleneagles colt was a different proposition next time, however, as he put on a smooth performance less than two weeks later at Goodwood (Good/Soft) to win by five lengths.

Third by length and three-quarters in the Coventry Stakes Group 2 at Royal Ascot, he was the last horse off the bridle but hit the front too early and was knocked out within the final furlong (second and fourth have won a Group 2 since).

Last dismissed as a favorite for the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood, he handed Whatcombe their fourth win of the race as he stayed strong to beat Al Karrar by a length and a half. Still registered in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville on Sunday, it is hoped he will run here instead despite being forced to wear a three-pound penalty.

Despite the fact that his win last time out came on fast ground, he seemed very comfortable on a slower surface at Goodwood in the spring. This track will play to its strengths.

Filly follows now switched to handicap

It will be a surprise when SHAMPION is no better than her starting mark of 84, and in this sense she can be there on Friday (October 4th) when the handicap of the ten eighth mares is changed.

Fourth in her only outing at two at Chelmsford in December, she only returned to the fray last month when she finished second at Haydock in a five-runner rookie effort over a mile behind Shaara (since won again). Hooded that day, the hat remained on for her next outing to Windsor sixteen days later.

At a similar event on the Thames Railway, she went up to ten furlongs, responding to her jockey’s urging down the stretch before moving away from the previous winner and 84-rated Oriole to a win by four lengths.

From the family of 99-rated former stablemate UAE King, who has stayed healthy, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Roger Varian’s filly Pattern Company attack one day. She can pick up this valuable purse on the way. Her stable caught it with Angel Power a few years ago.

Salt rated O’Brien a cute prospect

The Convivial Maiden Stakes (4.45am on Friday) are the most valuable of their kind on the calendar and the last two overtimes have been won by eventual Group 1 winners Naval Crown and Derby runners-up Hoo Ya Mal.

The seven furlongs event eluded Ballydoyle, with King Charlemagne and Brave Tin Soldier coming closest in 2000 and 2006 respectively. Significantly, Aidan O’Brien’s only entry in the 2022 version is the once driven SALT LAKE CITY who finished a striking second place on his debut at the Curragh this month.

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A stallion by Galileo out of Queen Mary Stakes winner Heartache, he was ridden by Wayne Lordan and after being pushed on the double pole he stayed strong to come within a length and a half of the more experienced Al Riffa.

Without exception, the young animals of the farm improve for their first outing and he can go one better. Hazards are expected to include the undriven City of Kings and Piccadilly Circus, who will appreciate this longer journey after his promising debut at Ascot.

Strength and depth for the Haggas team

Finally, William Haggas will field a strong team of around 20-25 horses on the A1 this week, led by superstar Baaeed in Tuesday’s Juddmonte International Stakes.

The squad will also be there EDUCATOR who will make a welcome return in the Sky Bet final handicap that closes Ebor Festival on Saturday at 5.20am.

Deep Impact’s lightly driven son did this columnist a favor by scoring in his handicap debut at the Craven meeting at Newmarket in April. A narrow winner of a ten furlong event, he withstood the challenge of High Fiber with the subsequent London Gold Cup and third Royal Ascot Israr in third place.

Since being sidelined, he’s off the Diploma, having won twice at York, including the Lyric Stakes in 2016, and doesn’t look overwhelmed at a 90 mark. Five pounds heavier than the Rowley Mile, he has only raced four times and will be a threat to his older rivals.

To order a copy Mark Howard’s York Ebor Updatewhich contains an interview with Julie Camacho, the in-form North Yorkshire coach, please go to

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