Afterjacko should prove the main draw in Ebor

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The Independent Online

One of the many beauties of the Ebor meeting is that the race which gives it its name is not a Group One for the turf's bluebloods, but a handicap for stayers which gives everyone a chance to dream. Owners with a single horse, or a tiny share in a couple, even punters planning what they would do if they ever pulled off that life-changing Yankee, can all imagine that one day, they might just have a runner in Europe's richest handicap.

One of the many beauties of the Ebor meeting is that the race which gives it its name is not a Group One for the turf's bluebloods, but a handicap for stayers which gives everyone a chance to dream. Owners with a single horse, or a tiny share in a couple, even punters planning what they would do if they ever pulled off that life-changing Yankee, can all imagine that one day, they might just have a runner in Europe's richest handicap.

Money still talks, of course, even in handicaps, and the colours of both Sheikh Mohammed and Khalid Abdullah have been among those carried to victory in the last five few years. Yet this is still a race in which relatively unheralded horses, trainers and owners will reckon to have a serious chance of securing their 15 unforgettable minutes of fame.

In a normal year, anyway, since according to the betting, the latest renewal of the Ebor is a one-horse race. Boreas, whose trainer, Luca Cumani, won the race with Vicious Circle last year, is generally a 4-1 chance this morning, and you can get double-figure odds about all 21 of his opponents.

Boreas, it has to be said, does have a great deal in his favour. The typical Identikit of an Ebor winner is a lightly-raced horse with scope for plenty of improvement when stepping up to a mile and three-quarters, while a fairly low draw is also a major advantage. Boreas, who missed the whole of last season but was still sharp enough to win a good handicap on his only start this year, is a prime suspect on all counts.

All too often, though, horses run poorly after returning with promise from a long break. At the price, Boreas is worth opposing, and Afterjacko (next best 3.10), well drawn in one, looks a good bet at 22-1 with Ladbrokes. Still relatively unexposed at the trip, he also ran well at York earlier this year, and would return more for a place than Boreas for a win.

The last two Oaks winners take each other on in the Yorkshire Oaks, the first such meeting since Intrepidity and User Friendly contested the Arc in 1993. Both Ramruma and Love Divine, however, are trained by Henry Cecil, whose string is struggling, and Petrushka (2.35) can take advantage. The Gimcrack should fall to Hurricane Floyd (3.45), while NOOSHMAN (nap 2.05), third in the John Smith's Cup, should go close in the opener.

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