York Festival Tips: 2020 Carnival

The York Festival, or Ebor, is upon us and our UK Racing Expert, Rory Flanagan, is back to deliver his best York Festival Tips across the entire event.

You can follow Rory on Twitter here.

The Yorkshire Ebor Festival always presents great back and lay opportunities with deep markets. Go where the value this week and head to the Betfair Exchange.


The York Festival Races are some of the biggest betting opportunities of the year. Back and Lay on Betfair.


Day 4 Overview

We’re into the home stretch with the final day of York upon us, the Ebor Handicap being the feature. This has turned into Europe’s premier handicap since the introduction of sizeable prize money and a higher rating to qualify for the race. As always, it shapes as a fascinating contest with Melbourne Cup angles to come out of the race.


Nice and open betting race this. I feel DARK VISION has finally arranged the marbles in his head and can go on with it now. He’s been in superb form this season, bolting up in the Royal Hunt Cup and then a close second to Montatham who won on Thursday. This is his level and he can show it here. The nine-furlong trip shouldn’t be an issue as he ran a bold 6th of 30 behind Lord North last season.

EPIC HERO really got motoring late at his last start in Dubai and was set to peak for a DWC night. He’s been set aside since and looks suited to this distance. I’m happy to ignore the below par runs in his career when campaigned as a sprinter (he’s not). He is a type that almost always runs to parade, so watch for a late betting push or words from the yard.

LORD GLITTERS won this race in 2018 and is not the same horse, but he’s hit the line nicely in his past two and is slowly returning to form. I think his cult status as a horse means he’s the subject of too much “friendly money” and is a false favourite.

The big unknown here is ZABEEL PRINCE. If he turns up like his old self, he wins doing cartwheels. It’s tough to say whether or not he needed the run in his underwhelming first-up display. He was dominant winning a G1 in France and the stickiness in the ground may be to his liking…he just has too many woeful runs in his form to trust.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Dark Vision for 2 units

BACK (WIN) – Epic Hero for 1.5 units

This is the 3yo golden ticket race to book a spot into next season’s Ebor. It was won by Hamish last year who was favourite for this year’s Ebor until a torn muscle. I am very keen on two horses here than fought out the finish last start at Goodwood. MAMBO NIGHTS just trucked into proceedings so confidently that I’m sure he can do it again despite the handicap rise. I originally had him pencilled in as a leader-only type but he showed he could take a sit that day, and this gives me confidence he can park in the first four and skip across to the fence which should be the fast lane.

A STAR ABOVE was the horse closing fast but couldn’t get past Mambo Nights. Meets him better at the weights now with a 1kg advantage and could be the one here that gets the right run over the top of the horses working into the wind. Tom Marquand will definitely give it every chance.

FAVOURITE MOON ironically starts favourite, but I don’t think the price is right. It’s interesting to note they’ve gone for the apprentice claim here with Fallon booked to ride, and that makes me feel as though he’s perhaps not entirely good enough and they’re trying to give him all the favours. I also think he needs genuine rain and a track downgrade to be most effective as he has a mudder’s running action.

KIPPS next best although has disappointed last start, and I have an opinion of COLTRANE but he has drifted like a barge, doubling in price.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Mambo Nights for 1.25 units

BACK (WIN) – A Star Above for 1.25 units

I took on One Master last time and I’m doing it again. I think SAFE VOYAGE is in the form of his life and has had that franked by Space Blues bolting away with the G1 Prix de Gheest. He was only narrowly pipped at Haydock by him first up, and then bumped into him again at Goodwood when the surface was too firm. That sprinkling of rain that has been about all week should really aid his chances and I think he’s primed to run a blinder and possible PB.

SAN DONATO travelled eye-catchingly into the race in the Sussex but did not let down on the firm ground and stopped quickly. This could be a much more suitable race, especially if travelling so strongly once more.

ONE MASTER is a group 1 winner and has been smashed by punters already, but I simply can’t have her at that quote.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Safe Voyage 3 units

BACK (WIN) – San Donato 2 units

This is a cracker and one of the best races on the European calendar.

FUJAIRA PRINCE has been kept in training just for this and he does well when fresh. He hosed up at Royal Ascot from a wide gate and made them all look like Class 5 types. Some of those re-oppose here and he should still be far better than them. I can’t really see any horse in the race that has the heart or consistency he has, he is the most genuine animal in British racing and I think he is a MASSIVE chance in this. His racing pattern of settling in the top six should hold him in good stead and when they all drift to one side of the track there shouldn’t be any traffic issues for him. It’s no shock he’s been $11 into $8 in a few days. He’s the best horse in the race.

HOCHFELD looks like a complete handicap snip job here. Mark Johnston scratched a group-class animal in communique which an excuse that would have seen him fined in Australia, so that Hochfeld could make the field on the lightest weight possible. He won well last start after being the stable’s third choice, and the less noise Johnston makes about a horse, the better they usually fare. Drawn perfectly.

ALRIGHT SUNSHINE looks the value of the race and is still only lightly raced. He stays like a mother in law and I expect him to have a tilt at the Melbourne Cup one day as two miles is his ideal trip. He’s not unfairly treated at the weights, but it’ll still be a stiff task. Happy to nibble him each way at thick oods.

TRUE SELF was fully wound up to win the Melbourne Cup last year and would have done so if making the field. She got the rain needed, and Moore didn’t even bother looking at the whip all race when she cruised past to win at G3 level. They’ve run her in some nonsensical, unsuitable races to keep her handicap mark down and try and win a golden ticket into the Melbourne Cup. It’s worth remembering she hit $1.60 in the run in last year’s race, and any rain will bring her chances further up the pecking order. She’s been set for this, and I reckon she’s going far better than her form reads.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Fujaira Prince 3 units

BACK (WIN) – Hochfelder 1 unit

BACK (WIN) – Alright Sunshine 0.75 units

BACK (WIN) – True Self 1.25 units

Baffled MAYDANNY isn’t favourite here. He was a mile too good at Goodwood after being on the wrong side of the track at Ascot, and this is the next step before tackling Group company. He’s an expensive purchase so they’ll want their money’s worth out of him.

SINJAARI was headed for Australia until talks broke down, so he continues his prep in the UK. His win at York this prep was impressive but to me he had the fast lane that day and is a false favourite. There were more meritorious runs in that race.

PIVIOINE is entirely the wrong price and can go better here with a better ride. Would expect to see his price tumble from 34 to something between 12-18. He likes this track.
CAPE CAVALLI was too bad to be true at Goodwood and remains on a mark that can be exploited. He gets a ton of weight of the market leaders and is drawn with them. Should handle any going no matter what the weather does.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Maydanny for 4 units


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