Sky Bet Ebor Handicap | 1m6f, 4yo+ | Live on ITV/RTV
King’s Advice has proved the revelation of the year on the Flat and seeks a ninth victory in ten starts since March in the first £1 million running of the Sky Bet Ebor.
The Mark Johnston-trained five-year-old is the only horse in this 22-runner field to not have contested a Listed or Group race but his ultra progressive profile ensures he is vying for favouritism with recent Marsh Cup scorer Withhold.
King's Advice's first start for Johnston came in a 0-70 handicap at Lingfield on March 2 and 175 days later his official mark is up to 113 from 71 following eight wins and an unlucky sixth in the Northumberland Plate.
Johnston’s sole victory in this prestigious handicap came in 1992 with Quick Ransom and the Middleham trainer also saddles dual Royal Ascot winner Baghdad and wide-margin Chester Cup scorer Making Miracles.
Joe Fanning, rider of King’s Advice, said: “It’s a tough race but he just keeps improving with every run. He’s been a revelation and taken his form to the next level on his last couple of starts.
“He’s a very straightforward horse to ride so we'll get across from his draw and slot in wherever he's comfortable.”
King’s Advice is drawn in stall 19 and high draws have proved favourable in recent years with eight of the last ten winners being drawn in stall 15 or higher.
The first four in last year’s renewal, won by Muntahaa, were drawn in stalls 21, 13, 17 and 20 with the first four placings in the past five runnings filled by just four single-figure drawn runners.
Withhold will have to overcome recent draw trends from stall six but arrives in fine form after an impressive win at Newbury last month.
2018 Muntahaa (stall 21)
2017 Nakeeta (18)
2016 Heartbreak City (15)
2015 Litigant (6)
2014 Mutual Regard (16)
2013 Tiger Cliff (18)
2012 Willing Foe (16)
2011 Moyenne Corniche (10)
2010 Dirar (22)
2009 Sesenta (16)
Trainer Roger Charlton said: “He’s been training well since his Newbury victory but this is a very hard race to win.
“The draw is okay and I’m as hopeful as I can be with a second favourite in such a competitive race.”
William Haggas enjoys a winner at the Ebor festival like no other and saddles Raheen House and Dramatic Queen in a bid to win this big handicap for the first time.
Melbourne Cup-winning syndication company Australian Bloodstock took a controlling stake in Raheen House this week with Haggas describing this contest as “the perfect race” for the former Bahrain Trophy winner, while Dramatic Queen brings strong form against her own sex in Group races.
Haggas said: “When you have a five-year-old gelding like Raheen House, who stays well, and they're offering £1 million in a handicap, it's the perfect race, so it's been the plan for a long time.
“He's run two very good races at York this year and he'll be fine on the ground, but it's hugely competitive as it should be. We're still learning about him, but I think we're getting the idea now.
“I don't know what happened to Dramatic Queen last time but she's thoroughly genuine, loves fast ground and the likely way the race will be run. She's got bits of form which give her a nice chance.”
What they say
Tim Easterby, trainer of Wells Farhh Go
I was delighted with him at Newmarket but we just don’t know what happened last time at Goodwood – he just took off. It’s a good, competitive race but he has a good chance.
Ed Dunlop, trainer of Red Verdon
Everything has been fine with him since his course-and-distance win and he goes there in good order. His middle to wide draw is not too bad and I’m hoping he’ll run well in a very competitive race.
John Gosden, trainer of Ben Vrackie and Weekender
Ben Vrackie ran a great race at Royal Ascot but it all happened a bit quick for him at Newmarket. If he can get organised early he should run a nice race. Weekender was second in the race last year and we've had this in mind for him again since but it looks a better race this year. That said, he'll like the ground and the trip.
Richard Hannon, trainer of Raymond Tusk
This has been the plan for some time and everything has gone well in the lead-up. This trip is ideal and we’ve freshened him up nicely so I’m very hopeful he can run a huge race.
Charlie Fellowes, trainer of Prince Of Arran
On the face of it his last two runs have been disappointing but he was very sick after his last run in Dubai and badly needed his return at Goodwood at a track that might not see him at his best. It’s a very strong race but he has everything in his favour – he loves a big field and quick ground, a big Flat track suits him and one mile six furlongs is his perfect trip. York have done an amazing job in offering fantastic prize-money and have a world-class staying race they deserve.
Karl Burke, trainer of Kelly’s Dino
He looks brilliant and is in fantastic form. I’m hoping he can put up a bold show but he’s going to have to raise his game off a career-high mark. It’s a big ask but he’s answered every question we’ve asked of him so far.
Gerald Mosse, rider of Desert Skyline
He has a lot of ability but needs things to go his way. He can be lazy so we're putting a visor on him and I hope that can make a difference. If they do he could perform well.
Andrew Balding, trainer of Cleonte
He's dropping back in trip but it will be a good test of stamina still. He's a decent horse with good form, and I think he has a live each-way chance in a very open race.