The fantastic four-day Ebor Festival gets under way at York on Wednesday with a six-race card that carries over £1.5million in prize-money.
The card starts at 1:55pm and the first four races will be covered by ITV Racing.
The feature race is the £1,062,500 Group One Juddmonte International Stakes (3:35pm), which brings together a wonderful field of nine horses which includes Group One winners Crystal Ocean, Japan, Circus Maximus, Lord Glitters and Japanese raider Cheval Grand.
The ages of the runners range from three to seven, so a very meaningful comparison of different generations will surely take place.
Here to preview the card is our popular racing pundit, Alan Marron.
YORK PREVIEW WEDNESDAY 21-8-2019
1.55 5½f (5f89y) Symphony Group Handicap (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-105)
Dakota Gold returns here after being successful in the Great St Wilfred Handicap at Ripon over the weekend and, with a mandatory 6lb penalty, he could take a bit of stopping, but, at the forecast odds, there is definitely better value elsewhere.
MYTHMAKER is a horse who is very nicely handicapped at the minute, with the prospect of soft ground to suit. He had 175 days off the track and then returned when fifth of five in a Conditions race at Haydock under Graham Lee, where it looked like he would benefit from the run.
His mark of 97 now is the lowest he has raced off since November 2016 when he finished second to Lord Of The Land.
He will be solid each value here. My each-way nap of day one.
2.25 7f Tattersalls Acomb Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (2yo)
VITALOGY was very impressive on debut at Naas and, with normal improvement here, I could see him going very close for Joseph O’Brien. The second and third have won since so the form looks to have a solid look to it.
Joseph would have targeted this race after the win at Naas so it is worth noting that the step up in class now occurs.
Naas is a stiff uphill finish and he won going away, his stamina could come to the fore here. Big run expected.
3.00 1m4f (1m3f188y) Great Voltigeur Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) (Class 1) (3yo)
The market for this race looks to favour the John Gosden-trained Logician, based on his impressive unbeaten record. His mark of 101 leaves a little improvement to come and, with the Aidan O’Brien trained CONSTANTINOPLE on a mark of 110, the favourite has a little bit to find here.
Constantinople is a progressive stayer from the Ballydoyle yard. He was outbattled when second to Nayef Road last time out and should improve from that. He looks to be the value selection for me here against the likely market leader and could prove hard to beat.
3.35 1m2½f (1m2f56y) Juddmonte International Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) (Class 1) (3yo+)
One of the feature races of the week and it looks potentially interesting that Aidan O’Brien has included JAPAN here.
He is dropping back in trip from a mile and a half and is back over the course and distance where he finished fourth behind Telecaster in the Dante Stakes in May.
He looks a completely different colt now and the fact that his trainer has included him here is a major pointer in itself.
He impressed me in the Grand Prix de Paris last-time out and he looks to have matured and strengthened in himself. There is no better man to have on board than Ryan Moore and I think at the forecast odds he rates a strong value bet here.
Crystal Ocean is a solid yardstick for the older horses, but I think the crop of three year olds that take him on here are a different calibre altogether.
4.15 2m½f (2m56y) Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-105)
MAKAWEE runs here for owners Geoff & Sandra Turnbull, who also have Lord Glitters running earlier on the card.
Makawee has been a model of consistency in recent races and deserves to land a decent pot and get his head in front. He has been second over the course and distance on his last two runs and the ground at York won’t be an issue to this horse either.
He has been raised three pounds in the handicap in his last two runs so it still leaves him nicely weighted here.
There are numerous question marks over the stamina of some of the opposition so, given that he is a proven stayer, we could see Danny Tudhope kick for home early in the straight and try and catch them out.
4.50 6f Nursery Handicap (Class 2) (2yo)
A very competitive nursery (i.e. a handicap race for two year-olds) to end the card and local trainer Michael Dods will be looking to end day one on a high.
TROUBADOR galloped all the way to the line when he won over course and distance two runs ago and he went into my notebook as a horse who would appreciate a step up in trip. He went to Thirsk next time out and duly followed up, again showing that stamina is his forte.
This race is one for a small stake considering the size of the field and the prospect of the ground hindering others, but Troubador is on for a fourth-successive win here and he could well keep the winning run going.