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Published 21 August July
BEN VRACKIE might well have ‘bounced’ at Newmarket last time after a career-best effort on his reappearance at Royal Ascot, in which case he’s got to be of interest for the Sky Bet Ebor.
John Gosden’s four-year-old would have beaten Baghdad in another stride in the Duke Of Edinburgh after producing a storming run from the rear - a performance that needs marking up even higher given the big field and relatively short straight.
Not surprisingly Gosden succumbed to the temptation to run him off the same mark in the early-closing Bet365 Trophy at HQ three weeks later, but the colt never got competitive and finished nearer last then first behind Ebor favourite Kings Advice.
Ben Vrackie has a 4lb higher mark to contend with here but he was value for at least that at Ascot and there could be further improvement now he’s set to tackle 1m6f for the first time this year.
Favourite for the Mallard over that trip at Doncaster last autumn - but seemingly unsuited by the softish ground - he looked more of a stayer when third to Rock Eagle in a similarly hot 1m4f handicap at Newmarket the following month.
Indeed it would appear his trainer believes his future lies over longer trips because in addition to the Ebor, his other current entry is the Group 2 Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Champions Day.
Freshened up by a six-week break, Ben Vrackie still has the look of a potentially well-treated horse in a race where most don’t have any secrets from the handicapper.
As it happens the selection’s stablemate Royal Line is another exception and it will be fascinating to see if he takes his chance as both his form and comments from connections have suggested he’s best suited to more cut in the ground than he’s likely to get at York.
Because of that he’s a bit risky from an ante-post perspective but if Gosden deems the ground suitable enough for him to run, then he’ll have to be given serious consideration given his lightly-raced profile and scope for more improvement going up in trip.
Recommended Bet (scale 1-5 points):
Sky Bet Ebor Handicap at York on Saturday
1pt win BEN VRACKIE ( 12-1 general )
St Leger, Doncaster 14th September
1pt each way CONSTANTINOPLE ( 16-1 )
Gary provides regular ante-post updates on Twitter. His username is @horsetraderinfo.@horsetraderinfo