Ebor Festival Day Three: Superstar Sprinters Battle It Out In Nunthorpe Stakes

Betfred's Matt Hulmes breaks down the best bets across day three in York
08:32, 20 Aug 2021

Day three focuses on the speedsters, with the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes the highlight. Blink and you will miss these superstar sprinters. 

1.50 YORK – THRONE HALL

First up is a 1m 4f handicap and a tricky one to solve with eighteen runners heading to post.

The Queen’s Wink Of An Eye is on a sharp upward curve and bids for a five-timer here after wins at Haydock, Newmarket, Sandown and Goodwood. 

Wink Of An Eye steps up further in trip and could still be ahead of the handicapper but I will take a chance on THRONE HALL bouncing back to form. Go back to the beginning of the year and he was an impressive winner at Doncaster and although his second at Thirsk the next time looked disappointing, it proved to be a tough task conceding 9lb to subsequent listed winner Golden Pass. 

Throne Hall had Sam Cooke and My Frankel well beaten back in May and neither have really set the world alight subsequently despite always prominent in the market. Strawberry Rock came clear with a progressive rival at Newmarket last time and also catches the eye with Oisin Murphy on the plate. 

2.25 YORK – SPANISH MISSION

The Lonsdale Cup features just the five stayers for this Group 2 prize, and we may just see the changing of the guard in the staying division.

Stradivarius bids for a third Lonsdale Cup and aims to retain his crown having missed last year's renewal as he prepared for the Arc. There can be no argument he isn’t performing at the level we have been accustomed to and having won just one of his last five starts, it could be that his time at the top of the staying tree is coming to an end. 

Trueshan could be the one to take his title, especially towards the end of the season when ground is on the soft side. He showed how devastating he is in those conditions at Ascot on Champions Day and again in the Goodwood Cup. However, I’m not sure that he will be as effective on Thursday’s better ground, plus he has a 3lb penalty for the win last month. The vote goes to course winner SPANISH MISSION.

Spanish Mission
Spanish Mission

Like the favourite, he missed Goodwood on account of the ground but finished two lengths ahead of him at Ascot and ran out a cosy winner of the Yorkshire Cup here in May. He looks the solid one to run his race and it can pay to follow him.

Stratum won the season's longest race at Royal Ascot, the Queen Alexandra, and has Ryan Moore in the saddle, but has to find a few pounds to the top trio here.

3.00 YORK – GIS A SUB

The Gimcrack Stakes is one of the best juvenile races of the season and this year’s renewal looks a cracker. 

Lusail is a likely market leader after his July Stakes win at Newmarket. That form was boosted when the runner-up struck at Goodwood and Richard Hannon won this race two years ago with Threat. 

Berkshire Shadow landed the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot any maybe the soft ground and step up to seven accounted for his Goodwood defeat. Better ground and back down in trip should see him competitive, although he was arguably lucky to beat Eldrickjones at Royal Ascot. Roger Fell’s runner is on home turf now, although he is also held by Lusail on Superlative Stakes form. 

Kevin Ryan has won three of the last nine runnings and he saddles two at decent prices. GIS A SUB may have looked outclassed at Goodwood when only sixth but that only tells half the story. He was sharp from the stalls and tracked the pace on the rail but was perhaps a little too keen and couldn’t pick up when switched for a run. He was beaten by less than three lengths and was just chinned by a nose here on debut behind Bosh (ran poorly on Wednesday). He just looks too big at 20/1, especially with the trainer's record in the race, and must be backed each way to cause an upset. His stablemate, Spitting Feathers was a winner last time out of a Carlisle Novice Stakes and it's maybe too big of an ask for him.

Irish raider Twilight Jet made a big move in Group 1 company last weekend but couldn’t sustain it. Any money for him at a big price should be heeded

3.35 YORK – WINTER POWER

So, we reach Friday’s feature race and as I alluded to earlier, blink and you will miss it. 

Golden Pal heads back over here for Wesley Ward, fourteen months after finishing second at Royal Ascot as a juvenile. Coolmore, who sponsor this race, have bought the speedster, and will attract plenty of attention at the head of the market on the back of a facile warm up success at Saratoga five weeks ago. He won that by three lengths eased down and looks to finally lay the Nunthorpe ghost to rest for Ward who has suffered near misses with Lady Aurelia and Acapulco in this race.

Suesa put on a dazzling display at Goodwood when winning the Qatar King George Stakes by over three lengths, accounting for Dragon Symbol and the dual winner of this race, Battaash, only seventh. Her only poor run came in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and although all her form has come with cut, connections are happy that she can be just as good on better ground. 

Both are huge dangers, but I always think course form is important here at York and on the evidence of the first couple of day's action, it has paid to be up with the pace. That is where you will find WINTER POWER, who is a dual course and distance winner on the Knavesmire and if she gets an uncontested lead, it could be very hard to reel her in.

She tried the same tactics at Royal Ascot and came unstuck on that stiff climb, but she clearly enjoys rolling along at York and she may not come back this time. She had last year's Nunthorpe a length behind here six weeks ago and he may also run well each way at a price.

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