York Ebor Meeting 2013: Saturday Schedule and Look Ahead to Final Day

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2013

YORK, ENGLAND - AUGUST 21:   Ryan Moore riding Telescope win The Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes at York racecourse on August 21, 2013 in York, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The climax of this year's York Ebor meeting is ready to entice punters with another seven races of betting opportunities and major drama.

Day 4 offers the final opportunity for riders, owners and bettors to maximise their winnings with a selection of races that pit some of the world's greatest talents against one another.

Known as Ebor Day, Saturday's weather shows signs of interrupting proceedings, although the meet is unlikely to be postponed like the fixture in 2008.

As the clouds roll in and the festival heads to its conclusion, let's take a look at the remaining schedule, favourites and potential upsets that should grab your attention.


First Race—City of York Stakes, 2:05 p.m. BST

The opening race of the day is sure to invest the interests of those looking to start with a big win. Cristoforo Colombo hasn't raced competitively since its fifth-place finish in May 3's Newmarket meet and is the favourite to make an impression.

Ryan Moore will be in the saddle this time and showed encouraging signs on the horse at the end of 2012. He finished fourth at Newmarket and rode well until a late loss of pace saw Cristoforo Colombo drop back. Moore can certainly go one better this time round.

Rex Imperator, ridden by the in-form Neil Callan, looks to be the aforementioned competitor's toughest challenge. He has finished second and first in his last two races on the back of Rex, after capturing victory at the Aug. 3 Goodwood meet. Both the jockey and horse appear to be in tune with each other and have hit their stride at the right time.

The decision to let Roberto Winston ride Sirius Prospect adds another top performer to an enticing lineup. Winston has already ridden the horse to victory on York Racecourse and will be confident of replicating his July 27 success.

Prediction: Sirius Prospect


Second Race—Melrose Stakes, 2:40 p.m. BST

Ryan Moore will be busy across the day and perhaps isn't the best choice to ride Havana Cooler in the second contest. Previous rider Kieren Fallon has secured wins at Ripon and Newmarket in the past few weeks, as well as third at Goodwood. Moore is certainly capable of pulling out a double-victory in York, but his workload is daunting.

Such a situation may force many to plump for either Great Hall or Dark Crusader. The former has enjoyed two wins in recent months with Fallon and Richard Hughes highlighting the horse's versatility in different conditions. Dark Crusader has gotten used to F. M. Berry and powered toward two major wins since the onset of July.

Prediction: Havana Cooler


Third Race—Gimcrack Stakes, 3:15 p.m. BST

Trainer Charles Hills continues to try new riders on Cable Bay. The horse's last win came at the beginning of June with a tight victory for Jamie McDonald, but Richard Kingscote will take the reins this time. Kingscote is performing well at the moment and has a recent victory at Wolverhampton to boost his confidence.

Saayerr will be looking to crack Hills' man. Jockey Martin Harley has taken part in 28 races across the last two weeks, winning four. He has yet to race Saayerr to victory and doesn't offer particularly good value-for-money from the bookies.

More likely to capture the attention is Astaire. The horse has won two out of its last three races and has a confident Callan leading the way. His 11 wins across the past fortnight ensure he is worth a punt.

Prediction: Astaire


Fourth Race—Betfred Ebor, 3:50 p.m. BST

The final televised race of this year's meet sees Opinion emerge as the early favourite. Moore steps up yet again and could be rounding off a hat-trick of wins at this stage. Check his early form in the day before placing a bet, as once the victories roll, he'll be difficult to stop.

Thirteen wins in the last two weeks suggest Moore could be profitable for those who believe in his abilities. Similarly, both Sheikhzayedroad and Tiger Cliff should challenge for the final prize. This is a powerful field of 20 horses, but both of these four-year-old runners offer a real threat to Moore's dominance.

Prediction: Opinion