York Ebor Saturday Tips: Best bets for the televised action

The Ebor Handicap is one of four live ITV races on Saturday and Planet Expert experts have marked your card for each, in addition to highlighting a not to be missed free bet offer.

Let's start with the free bet offer, which came to the rescue of backers of Throne Hall and Spanish Mission - beaten a neck and a head respectively here on Friday. Here's how it works...

Get up to £20 back as a free bet if your horse places second and is beaten by a neck or less - applies to ALL LIVE ITV RACES!

Selections:

1.50 York - Real World

2.25 York - Imperial Sun

3.00 York - Space Blues

3.35 York - Mt Leinster

1.50 York - Real World

He might not have a great deal in hand over his rivals on official ratings, but Real World is hard to oppose here given the rapid progress he has made since being switched to turf.

A fair performer on Meydan's dirt either side of Christmas, he made a mockery of his handicap mark when turning the Royal Hunt Cup into a procession, before showing that was no fluke when following up in Listed company at Newbury.

He can certainly rate higher still and justify his Group 1 entries later in the season by bringing up his turf hat-trick this afternoon against six relatively exposed rivals.

It's just a shame his regular rider Marco Ghiani (2-2 on him) can't claim his allowance in this Group 3 contest, as he'd be an even more confident selection.

Top apprentice Marco Ghiani is 2-2 on Real World
Top apprentice Marco Ghiani is 2-2 on Real World

My Oberon looks the one for the forecast.

2.25 York - Imperial Sun

There's no end of improving three-year-olds to weigh up for this prestigious handicap, run over the Ebor distance of 1m6f.

Some rain would improve the chances of Tashkhan no end as he's best with some cut, but the forecast showers might come too late for him.

Dhushan looked ready for the step up to this distance when staying on strongly into second over 1m4f at Ascot last time. He's gone up another 3lb for that, though.

Roger Varian's Moshaawer can be forgiven a defeat as favourite in a messy race on the all-weather last time, and he had looked progressive in winning his previous two starts.

He still holds a St Leger entry and his stable is in flying form, but his outside draw in stall 17 is a slight concern.

Aidan O'Brien's King Of The Castle shed his maiden tag at Limerick last month following several promising placed efforts, and he looks the sort to relish this far.

But the final pick goes to John and Thady Gosden's Imperial Sun, who was getting off the mark at the sixth attempt over 1m4f at Wolverhampton last time out, having shown his raw talent over shorter.

He could have done without winning that contest by such a wide margin - a very easy looking four and a half lengths - as the handicapper has raised him 10lb to a new mark of 87.

But he's still unexposed as a middle-distance performer - one of his half brothers is a St Leger winner - so further improvement is likely, and his draw in stall one is another positive with low numbers tending to come to the fore in recent renewals.

Indeed, 2018 winner Ghostwatch and a couple of recent thirds, Kipps (2020) and Land Of Oz (2019), both exited from the same inside box.

3.00 York - Space Blues

Space Blues looks banker material in this 7f Group 2 contest as he's best over this intermediate trip, and advertised his well-being with a close up fourth at the Goodwood Festival on unfavourable soft ground.

Space Blues looks banker material
Space Blues looks banker material

The only Group 1 winner in the field and with a course and distance success on his CV, he's going to prove very difficult to beat providing the ground doesn't deteriorate from the current good - the forecast is favourable in that respect.

Primo Bacio has been highly tried since beating Creative Flair over a mile here in the spring and can give the selection most to do, having been supplemented by his trainer Ed Walker.

A £20 double on the Godolphin-owned pair of Real World and Space Blues at current Planet Sport Bet odds (5/4 and 5/4) pays £101.25.

3.35 York (Ebor) - Mt Leinster

Hamish has been all the rage ante post and is now 11/2 favourite with Planet Sport Bet at the time of writing - well done if you got on at double-figure odds.

Twice a winner over today's track and trip, including the prestigious Melrose Handicap at the 2019 Ebor Festival, he's lightly-raced since and missed last year's Ebor due to injury.

While not seen on a racecourse for 428 days, his trainer William Haggas will no doubt have him ready to go and the recent money suggests he's been doing everything right at home.

The worry with him, though, is the ground as he prefers it on the soft side of good and connections - and indeed his backers - will be hoping the forecast showers arrive in time.

Haggas has yet to win the race the meeting is named after, coming closest with last year's fourth Monica Sheriff, and he's also represented by Ilaraab, Roberto Escobarr and his full brother Pablo Escobarr.

William Haggas has yet to win the Ebor
William Haggas has yet to win the Ebor

Of that trio, Ilaraab has the best claims having made it six wins on the trot when scoring over 1m4f on the Knavesmire in May, before flopping as favourite in the Group 1 Hardwicke Stakes, run at an uneven gallop.

This drop back into handicap company and likely stronger gallop will suit him, but he's yet to race beyond 1m4f and that's a serious negative, with nine of the last 13 winners having raced over at least 2m on the Flat

On that basis, we can also put a line through several others in the line up, including the Johnny Murtagh-trained pair of Sonnyboyliston and Miraan, both of whom are trading at single-figure prices.

However, the Irish could still be celebrating another success in a race they have landed five times since 2009, with Willie Mullins' Mt Leinster having the look of a horse who has been laid out for it.

Mullins, who sent out Sesanta to win in 2009, certainly knows how to train one for a big handicap and, having not declared the fancied Saldier at the 48-hour stage, relies solely on Mt Leinster - a tip in itself, perhaps?

Willie Mullins knows what it takes to win an Ebor
Willie Mullins knows what it takes to win an Ebor

The seven-year-old has not been since winning a 1m4f Curragh handicap in easy fashion last October, having made all over 1m6f previously (crucially he has also run over 2m), and is perhaps better known for his exploits over hurdles.

Rated 142 in that sphere, having placed in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown and almost certain to go over fences at some stage, he surely has a big staying Flat handicap in him off a mark of 105.

Mullins has booked Jason Watson - 2-6 on the stable runners, with those rides yielding a £25.50 profit to £1 level stakes - to do the steering, and he'll be delighted to see his charge handed a double-figure draw in stall 21 - eight of the last 12 winners were drawn 15 or higher.

It all adds up to make Mt Leinster a cracking bet at Planet Sport Bet's 10/1.

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