Run over 1m6f the Betfred-sponsored Ebor Handicap is open to horses aged 3 or older and is run at York racecourse in August at their 4-day Ebor Festival Meeting. We’ve only seen one winning favourite land the prize in the last 20 years, so be wary of the market leaders, while with 16 of the last 17 winners were aged 6 or younger then you might want to avoid any older horses in the race.
We look back at past winners and give you the key trends ahead of Europe’s most valuable flat handicap race – run this year on Saturday August 24th 2019.
16/17 – Carried 9-4 or less
16/17 – Aged 6 or younger
14/17 – Won from a double-figure stall
14/17 – Had won over at least 1m4f before
12/17 – Carried 9-1 or less
12/17 – Aged either 4 or 5 years-old
11/17 – Winning Distance – 1 length or less
10/17 – Had 3 or more runs already that season
9/17 – Unplaced favourites
8/17 – Had run at York before
5/17 – Ran at Ascot last time out
5/17 – Won last time out
4/17 – Irish-trained winners (4 of the last 9)
4/17 – Ran at Goodwood last time out
3/17 – Ran at Galway last time out
2/17 – Ridden by Jamie Spencer
2/17 – Placed horses from stall 1 (third 2011, third 2013)
1/17 – Winning favourites
Just one winning favourite since 1999
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute won the race in 1980, 1991 & 1996
The average winning SP in the last 17 years is 21/1
2018 – Muntahaa (11/1)
2017 – Nakeeta (12/1)
2016 – Heartbreak City (15/2)
2015 – Litigant (33/1)
2014 – Mutual Regard (20/1)
2013 – Tiger Cliff (5/1)
2012 – Willing Foe (12/1)
2011 – Moyenne Corniche (25/1)
2010 – Dirar (14/1)
2009 – Sesenta (25/1)
2008 – All The Good (25/1)
2007 – Purple Moon (7/2 fav)
2006 – Mudawin (100/1)
2005 – Sergeant Cecil (11/1)
2004 – Mephisto (6/1)
2003 – Saint Alebe (20/1)
2002 – Hugs Dancer (25/1)
Note: 2008 renewal at Newbury over 1m3f
Age Concern – We saw a 6 year-old win the race in 2017 and a 7 year-old land the prize in 2015, but the main age trend got back on track last year with the 5 year-old Muntahaa going in. That win meant that 16 of the last 17 winners were aged 6 or younger, while 12 of the last 17 (71%) were aged 4 or 5 years-old, so it should pay to concentrate more on this age range.
Quick Draw – With the Ebor being run over 1m6f then you may feel the draw won’t play a big role. However, this is certainly not the case. Having a good early position and not being forced to travel wide around the home bend into the long York straight has been a big advantage. A massive 14 of the last 17 winners came from a double-figure stall – backed-up again in 2018 with Muntahaa winning from stall 21. This will hopefully allow us to rule out a massive 9 of the 20ish runners that are likely to head to post. This draw trend is further backed-up as we’ve seen just two placed horses from stall one in the last 17 years, and 12 months ago the top four finishers all hailed from a double-figure draw.
Trip Advisor – I’ve already mentioned the race is run over 1m6f, but having winning form over a trip of at least 1m4f+ is key, with 14 of the last 17 winners ticking this stat. Of course, this trend will apply to most of the runners, but is still something to be aware of.
Weight Watchers – Being a handicap race, then weight carried is another factor to note. Yes, last year’s winner won with 9st-9lbs, but a massive 16 of the last 17 winners carried 9st-4lbs or less, so this should still be your cut-off point. Plus, if you want to take this trend a bit further then 12 of those 17 recent winners won with 9st-1lbs or less on their backs – this should help knock out a few at least.
Bookie v Punter – who has fared best? Well, the answer to this is a quick one. We’ve seen only one winning favourite since 1999 – while with a 100/1 winner popping up in 2006. Therefore, I think it’s safe to say this is a contest the bookmakers look forward to each season and have dominated in recent years. Oh, if you also like laying horses on the betting exchanges then you might be interested to know that 9 of the last 17 market leaders (53%) have NOT even made the frame (top four finish) – this was backed-up again in 2018 with the jolly only managing twelfth.
Fitness First – Having had a recent run seems to count for something too. Runners that had three or more outings that same season have done best. 10 of the last 17 fit the bill here, while 8 of the last 17 winners had previous course experience at York – two more trends that last year’s winner ticked. Plus, with a 9 of the last 17 (53%) winners having run at either Goodwood or Ascot last time out this is another form line to see if your fancy fulfils.
Stable Diet – Finally, which are the best yards to look for? Luca Cumani used to have a good record in the race, but he’s now retired. Trainer John Gosden won the prize for the first time last year and is sure to be keen on following up, but the Sir Michael Stoute is the stable with the best record. Okay, they’ve not won the prize since 1996, but the Stoute camp have recorded three wins in the Ebor between 1980 and 1996 – so maybe they are due another!
Finally, being run over 1m6f then it’s also a race some of the National Hunt yard tend to target – especially the Irish ones. Since 2009 we’ve had winners for the Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott, Johnny Murtagh and Tony Martin, so anything any Irish-based yard sends over should certainly be given a second glance.
22 runners heading to post for another super-tough renewal of the Ebor Handicap. The in-form Mark Johnston runner – King’s Advice – will be all the rage after winning 5 of his last 6. He’s got several key trends on his side – like draw and age, but with 16 of the last 17 winners carrying 9-4 or less then this 9-9 weight looks against him. That draw stat actually puts a line through the top 17 on the card – with only BARSANTI, DRAMATIC QUEEN, MAKING MIRACLES, CLEONTE, THE GRAND VISIR, plus the two reserves – Cypress Creek and Proschema the ones set to carry 9-4 or less. With 16 of the last 17 winners aged 6 or younger, this is bad news for Barsanti, Red Galileo and Max Dynamite. However, one horse that only falls down on the weight trend by a pound is the John Gosden-trained BEN VRACKIE. On a plus, he’s got a top draw in 22 and this 4 year-old also has Frankie Dettori riding, who would have probably had the pick between the other Gosden runner too – Weekender. Yes, the pick was well behind King’s Advice last time but has a 7lb weight pull here and I don’t think that was his true running anyway. He was slowly away and also didn’t get a clear run that day. Prior to that he’d run well at Ascot (2nd) and it might just have been the ‘bounce factor’ coming into play last time as that Ascot run came off a 252-day break. He’s been freshened up with 43 days off and the Gosden yard will be keen to win this race for a second year in a row. Recent Marsh Cup winner – Withhold – is another to note, but a 6lb rise makes life harder again, while course winner Raheen House can go well too. But, of those at bigger prices, DRAMATIC QUEEN (e/w), who is a proven CD winner here looks over-priced to me. She’s a Group Three winner but has been running in Group Two’s of late so the drop back into a handicap will be a lot easier. The in-form Danny Tudhope has been booked to ride and with just 9-4 and draw 11, this 4 year-old ticks a lot of the main stats. MEKONG (e/w) is the other of interest. Ryan Moore rides for his old boss – Sir Michael Stoute – here. This 4 year-old doesn’t have the best of draws in 3, but he’s another that’s been running in better races recently. He stays further than this 1m6f trip too so providing Moore can work a bit of magic from the draw he’s can go well too – the yard has won this race three times in the past.