Harry Bentley: Circle has the Magic to land Ebor at York

By Harry Bentley
Sat 26 Aug 2017

Harry Bentley is hopeful of a big run from his Betfred Ebor ride Magic Circle and has high hopes for Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes favourite Headway. Read his column every Saturday at Racinguk.com

It has been a busy few days for me. I was at York on Wednesday for three rides and then I went home to Newmarket. I then flew up to Hamilton for one ride to get edged out aboard To Dibba, which did not put me in the best of moods. I was at Newmarket on Friday and will be flying up to York on Saturday for Betfred Ebor day.

The Ebor is not a race I have any particular association with, but it is Europe’s most valuable handicap and I’ve got a really good ride in it.

Magic Circle justified favouritism for me and Ralph Beckett on Wednesday at York and is turned out again after sneaking in at the foot of the weights.

We went slowly from a wide draw and we were three wide. The slow pace was a concern but he felt great. I gave him a flick and rode him out hands and heels. I did not get serious with him at all.

There was plenty left in the tank and he gave me a great feel - I don’t think it took a lot of out him. I know it is not an easy thing to do but he has had an easy season so far and I think he can take it.

The ground is drying out and, let’s be fair, he would want more dig in the ground. He is a straightforward ride, though, and hopefully they will go a good gallop so he will relax in the race.

The Ebor is always wildly competitive and any number of horses look to have a chance. I do like the look of Sir Michael Stoute’s Dubka, who ran well when she was beaten a neck by Godolphin’s Endless Time at Goodwood.

Flymetothestars has been favourite for a long time, but got a terrible draw in 21. When you have 20 horses inside you have to use up your horse to get up front and get into a decent position. By doing that you risk being caught four wide. Or you can sit tight and be patient, and be a long way off. I do not envy Luke Morris.

I’m on the favourite for the Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes, which is a great feeling. I’ve never ridden Headway, but he was very good when second to Rajasinghe in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

You can strike out his run last time at Goodwod as nothing went right for him at all. It rained heavily to leave the ground soft and Pat Cosgrave broke and went for the stands’ side rail but the rest of the field went up the centre.

Nebo and Cardsharp, who finished ahead of Headway at Goodwood, will be very tough, as will Invincible Army, but I am very happy with the horse I have got.

I have two good rides for Roger Varian later on the card, and I do think that To Wafij has a very, very good chance in the Julia Graves Roses Stakes.

He won his maiden at Yarmouth in good style and has not been out of the first three since.

He could not keep tabs on Havana Grey in his past two runs but he was held up both times. I think he might appreciate a furlong further and as a result it might pay to be more positive on him. I’ll speak to Roger and we’ll see how we go but I’d be hopeful of a big run.

The other one I am on is UAE Prince, who runs in the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap at 4.40.

I think he has got some strong form and his fourth in the John Smith’s Cup at York behind Ballet Concerto reads well. He had the highest draw that day and was coming back off a break.

Ballet Concerto is the only horse who beat him to have run again, and he won the Group Three Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury last week.

UAE Prince was fourth at Goodwood last time, where Andrea Atzeni was forced to switch twice. Andrea dropped him in and UAE Prince made headway and came with a strong run. I think if he hadn’t had to switch he would have gone very close. I might try to hold him up a little longer.

York this week:

There are have been some very good performances at York this week, but Enable was extremely classy when she thrashed her rivals in the Yorkshire Oaks.

She has a very high cruising speed and she just took them apart. I don't think there is anything she cannot do and she is just that bit classier than anything at the moment.

Cracksman’s win in the Great Voltigeur was similarly impressive and he is making all the right noises that he will be a top-class prospect next year for John Gosden.

If I owned Cracksman I would find it very hard to stop for the season with a horse in that sort of form. I would be tempted to run him the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, because you never know what might happen.

Gosden is a champion trainer, however, who definitely knows what he is doing, so I don’t think I would question his methods.

I was also quite taken by the Wells Farhh Go, who put in a strong performance in the Acomb Stakes. He looks a nice horse, and will come in to his own next year over a mile to a mile and a quarter. I read that he heads to the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, which is a logical next target for him.

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