York’s Ebor Meeting is a firm favourite with most horse racing fans and this year’s festival kicks off on August 22nd 2012. The Ebor Handicap itself is pencilled in for 3.40 on Saturday 25th, so it’s probably about time we took a look at the current entries in a bid to find the winner. Mark Prescott’s Motivado (pictured, best price 5/1 [6.00], Ladbrokes) tops the antepost betting, but can the four year old deliver in Europe’s most valuable handicap race?
To begin with, we’ll take a look over the records of recent Ebor winners to build up an idea of the profile of a likely winner of the race. This will allow us to greatly reduce the field from the current 108 entries. For the record, we’ll ignore the 2008 renewal, which was switched to Newbury due to flooding at York racecourse.
- 13 of the last 16 Ebor winners carried 8st 12lbs or less
- None of the last ten renewals were won by horses officially rated 103 or better
Only three of the last sixteen winners of the Ebor Handicap managed to win carrying more than 8st 12lbs. This strong trend, coupled with the Official Ratings trend, allows us to confidently discount those horses nearer the top of the handicap, who are less well treated by the handicapper.
- Just 2 horses aged 6 or older have won in more than 30 years
Another strong trend, the age of a potential Ebor winner is clearly a factor. Five year old have the strongest recent record of all in the Ebor Handicap, with half of the last ten renewals going to five year olds, but around 30% of entrants have been aged five. Three year olds have made up less than 10% of the entrants, but they have still managed to land the Ebor twice in the last 11 renewals.
- All of the last 10 Ebor winners had run in the past 55 days
- 8 of the last 10 winners had already won at least once that year
- 8 of the last 10 Ebor winners had contested a Class 2 race (or better) last time out
These Ebor trends suggest that we should be looking for a fresh, but race sharpened horse, that is in some semblance of form and is considered by connections to have a certain degree of class.
- All of the last 10 Ebor winners had won fewer than five handicaps
- 9 of the last 10 winners had won a Class 3 race or better in their careers
- 9 of the last 10 Ebor winners had contested fewer than 10 handicap races
- 8 of the last 10 winners had won over 1m 4f
These trends tell us that our 2012 Ebor Handicap selection should be relatively lightly raced, proven over the trip and in possession of a certain level of ability. We don’t want a horse to have won too many handicaps either, something that will have damaged their handicap mark.
Applying all of the above trends to the 2012 Ebor Handicap field leaves us with three standout selections – Suraj, Address Unknown and the current antepost favourite, Motivado.
Michael Bell’s Suraj certainly looks like a potential Ebor winner, but the problem that this three year old faces is the increasing number of higher rated horses entered into the race, a factor which has resulted in no three year olds making the lineup in either of the last two renewals. The 2012 Ebor looks ever more likely to make it three years in a row.
Address Unknown, the five year old gelding trained by Ian Williams, also faces a tough job to make the cut, meaning he is best avoided.
That leaves us with Motivado, Mark Prescott’s four year old who is borderline when it comes to making the 2012 Ebor Handicap. He would have missed out last year, but will probably just squeeze in this time around. Although the current best price of 5/1 (6.00) on offer with Ladbrokes isn’t huge, he certainly deserves to be favourite given his profile and his eye catching win last time out at Goodwood.
The Ebor Heritage Handicap
Saturday 25th August 2012, 15:40
Motivado @ 5/1 (6.00) with Ladbrokes
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