RACING expert Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) offers his best bets from Day Three of the Ebor Festival at York.
14:35 York | Lonsdale Cup | ITV
The Lonsdale Cup is a group 2 ran over an extended two miles and is one of the week’s highlights. This renewal is all the more special – victory for favourite Stratavarius would see him earn a million pound bonus. I expect him to win, however he’s had a long hard season and is a very short price so I’m looking for an each way option knowing it’s likely to be playing for places.
Red Verdon (9/1 Bet365) ran in the Derby in 2016 and was runner up in a French group one later that season, where he shaped like a colt with a huge future. However, he faced a setback when returning in 2017, with only a win at Kempton to show for his 9 starts.
This year he is gradually showing his old spark and he’s been runner up in 4 decent races so far. He now stays well and this looks his ideal trip. The track should suit too. The main reason he appeals as a place bet is that I don’t expect him to be put in to the race until the end. He is likely to be held up before being played late on and those tactics should reward us with some place money at the very least.
15:00 York | Gimrack Stakes | ITV
The Gimcrack is the week’s main two-year-old race and has produced multiple future group one winners over the years. This year’s renewal doesn’t particularly excite me on paper but there is one hugely unexposed horse that is worth backing.
Space Traveller (7/2 Bet365), from the Richard Fahey yard, is unbeaten in two starts and is shaping like a very nice prospect. He won a novice race in good style at Hamilton conceding weight all round and is well worth his place in the field.
His stable won this last season. They tend to do well at this meeting and I think they will claim this prize. He takes on rivals with group race form, but they look to have their limitations relatively exposed and as the runner in the field open to the most improvement, I’ve backed him to win this.
15:35 York | Nunthorpe Stakes | ITV
The Nunthorpe is the best 5 furlongs race of the season in my opinion and offers another for us to see the exceptionally talented Battaash. I love this horse and I genuinely believe he’s the best sprinter we’ve seen for years.
He should win this, although he flopped here last year after getting worked up pre-race, and on the off chance that happens again, I’m looking for some place value as an alternative.
Mabs Cross (18/1 Bet365) is a talented mare and very consistent. She loves to chase a ferocious pace and sees the 5 furlong trip out well.
She finished third in the Kings Stand before running below her best in Ireland, however I’m sure she is better than she showed there. This is her target, and she’s been freshened up with this in mind. She needs the favourites to underperform to win, however she strikes me as a solid each-way selection with bookies offering more than 3 places.