Racing: Glenmead has Ebor answers

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The Independent Online
THE PROBLEM for punters here yesterday was whether they should believe their eyes or their ears. Looking out over the Knavesmire from the grandstand, all anyone could see was umbrellas, puddles and a steady, infuriating drizzle. After each of the first three races, though, when the loudspeakers announced the winning time, it turned out to be within a split-second or two of the course record.

Either we had all been transported to the Twilight Zone, or the going was a fair bit faster than the official estimate of good.

This is a course, remember, which normally absorbs water as readily as a duck's back. What, then, will the ground truly be like by the time 22 runners go to post for the Ebor after what may have been a wet night? The answer could conceivably be anything from heavy to good-to-firm, which does not make the prospect of jumping into the Ebor's murky waters any more appealing.

This is always a ferociously competitive race - with almost pounds 300,000 on offer, the largest purse for any handicap in Europe, it could hardly be anything else. The latest renewal, though, seems to have the usual ingredients of unexposed three-year-olds, doughty old hands and job horses in double measure.

There are runners like Genghis Khan, who two outings ago was a live 20- 1 shot lining up for the Irish Derby, and Travelmate, who lost out to Far Cry in the Northumberland Plate by a matter of millimetres. And it is 7-1 the field, which is just as it should be.

It is a race which will demand everything of its winner, even if the rain holds off. This is enough to dismiss Travelmate from consideration, simply because he gave so much at Newcastle last time. Vicious Circle, along with Kadir the only other runner at single-figure odds, is more interesting, but his good recent form is at 10 furlongs, rather than today's 14.

The draw is also worth close study, since it takes a very good horse to win the Ebor from a high draw. The one runner in a high number who might have enough talent in reserve to overcome it is Red Ramona, who is worth a saver at around 14-1. The best odds among the low numbers, though, are those against Glenmead (3.10). Drawn five, he is lightly-raced, improving and ahead of the handicapper judged on a comfortable win last time. At 20-1, he is a sound each-way bet.

There is no point opposing Ramruma (2.35) for the sake of it in the day's Group One race, the Yorkshire Oaks, although Noushkey, second to Ramruma in the Oaks, improved next time and still has just four races behind her.

Better prices are to be had elsewhere on the card, though, in particular those about Ma Yoram (3.45) in the Gimcrack and BRAVE REWARD (nap 2.05) in the opening handicap.

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