Get Lyrical about the Ebor Stakes
York's totesport Ebor Handicap is the flagship race in the Knavesmire's biggest racing festival, with a history stretching back 150 years.
It's also the richest handicap in European racing, making it ultra-competitive and a real tough race to predict. But we may have a decent each-way shout in Bryan Smart's Wells Lyrical - currently a best-priced 20/1 at William Hill.
The past few years have been characterised by big-priced winners in the Ebor. Mrs Bennett, an inveterate long-shot punter, landed something of a touch when she backed Hugs Dancer on-course at 40/1 in 2002 (it romped home at a starting price of 25/1), but not even she had the perspicacity to bet on Mudawin when it came in at 100/1 for Jane Chappel-Hyam four years later.
Purple Moon tested the rule when winning as 7/2 favourite in 2007, but with a big field, 16 furlongs to run, and an average winning SP of 20.2/1 over the last 10 years you can generally oppose the favourite with confidence in the Ebor.
We don't know the draw yet, but over a mile and three-quarters its effect is arguable. What you can generally do though is rule out horses aged six or over (the redoubtable Sergeant Cecil another notable exception), and look for horses in a decent bit of form.
Wells Lyrical is such a horse, having finished second in the Newcastle Plate earlier this year and back down in the weights after a solid third at Sandown in July. Apart from the Pitmen's Derby the Ebor Handicap is probably the race the Hambleton-based trainer Bryan Smart most wants to win, and it's hard to conceive that this gutsy four-year-old won't be set up just right for the race.
For me, 20/1 on Wells Lyrical represents real value, and I'll be having a couple of quid each way on him in the totesport Ebor Handicap at York on Wednesday.
totesport Ebor Handicap betting tip