The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Natural Scenery and Winning Story go to post for Europe’s richest handicap, the Ebor, staged over just short of a mile and six furlongs at York on Saturday, August 26, the fourth and final day of the Ebor Festival.
Natural Scenery made her latest appearance when a close fourth in the G3 Lillie Langtry Stakes over a mile and six furlongs at Goodwood on August 3.
The four-year-old Dubawi filly went down by a half a length when runner-up in the two-mile Northumberland Plate Handicap on Tapeta at Newcastle on July 1, having begun 2017 with two handicap victories on Tapeta at the same course.
Winning Story faded to 13th in the Queen Alexandra Stakes over an extended two miles and five furlongs at Royal Ascot on June 24.
The four-year-old son of New Approach had previously finished a close fifth in the G3 Ormonde Stakes over an extended mile and five furlongs at Chester on May 12.
He enjoyed a successful campaign on all-weather surfaces over the winter months, headed by victory in the All-Weather Marathon Championship over two miles on Polytrack at Lingfield Park in April.
Martin Lane partners Winning Story, while apprentice Edward Greatrex is up on Natural Scenery. They take on 18 opponents.
Saeed bin Suroor commented: “Winning Story is doing very well. The trip at York should be fine and I am looking forward to seeing a good run from him.
“Natural Scenery should also be suited by the distance of the race. She ran well last time at Goodwood and is in good form at home.
“The Ebor is always a tough race but I am happy with both horses.”
“The Melrose Handicap is also staged on Saturday at York and takes place over the same distance as the Ebor but is confined to three-year-olds. Godolphin is doubly represented by Bin Battutainfo-icon (Saeed bin Suroor/Martin Lane) and Secret Advisor (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle).
Dubawi colt Bin Battuta, who has yet to try the distance, comes into the race on the back of a head success in a 12-furlong handicap at Ascot on July 15.
Secret Advisor, also by Dubawi, was last seen out when fifth in a handicap over 12 furlongs at Goodwood on August 2, having previously finished third in the G2 Queen’s Vase over a mile and six furlongs at Royal Ascot on June 23.
Saeed bin Suroor said: “Bin Battuta is a nice horse and has done very well physically this year, as he showed when winning at Ascot last time.
“The Melrose looks the right race to go for and we are hoping for another good result from him.”
Charlie Appleby explained: “Secret Advisor has been consistent all year. The only disappointing race he has run was last time out at Goodwood, when the ground was soft and I think we can put a line through that.
“He seems to have come out of Goodwood fine and a repeat performance of his third in the Queen’s Vase would make him a major player.”
Two-year-old colt Sound And Silence (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) lines up in the Listed Roses Stakes over five furlongs.
The son of Exceed And Excel was successful over the same distance in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20, before finishing 12th in G2 July Stakes over a furlong further at Newmarket on July 13.
Charlie Appleby remarked: “We tried Sound And Silence over six furlongs in the July Stakes, but the race did not pan out for him as we would have liked.
“The drop back to five furlongs coupled with hopefully plenty of cover this time and we will see the Sound And Silence who won at Royal Ascot.”
Godolphin has three runners on Wednesday, the first day of the Ebor Festival at York, UK, headed by Barney Roy (Richard Hannon/James Doyle) in the G1 Juddmonte International over an extended 10 furlongs.
Barney Roy was last seen out when the excellent nose runner-up to Ulysses in the G1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park on July 8, when attempting 10 furlongs for the first time.
The three-year-old colt had previously been campaigned at shorter distances, decisively winning the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes over a mile at Royal Ascot on June 20 by a length and finishing the length runner-up to Churchill in G1 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 6.
He began 2017 with a two-length victory in the G3 Greenham Stakes over seven furlongs at Newbury on April 22.
Trainer Richard Hannon commented: “I think York will suit Barney Roy because it is flat and the course will give him plenty of time to get going with his long stride.
“I’d love it if he was the type to go and win by four lengths but he’s not that sort of colt. He always makes it look like he’s struggling but the quicker they go, the quicker he goes.
“He keeps finding and is probably the best horse I’ve trained.”
James Doyle added: “Barney Roy ran a fantastic race in the Eclipse but my worry beforehand – him being an inexperienced horse on that track – was probably about right.
“Sandown is a very tough track, especially against older horses. York will be much more to his liking and you will see a better performance there from him.”
Ulysses and Churchill feature among Barney Roy’s six opponents in the Juddmonte International, along with G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Decorated Knight and Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher.
Atty Persse (Roger Charlton/James Doyle) lines up in the G2 Great Voltigeur Stakes over just short of a mile and a half.
The three-year-old’s most recent start saw him fade to ninth in the G3 Bahrain Trophy over 13 furlongs at Newmarket on July 13.
Prior to that, he posted an impressive three-length success in the King George V Handicap over a mile and a half at Royal Ascot on June 22 and began his 2017 campaign with victory in a mile handicap at Sandown Park on April 28.
Trainer Roger Charlton said: “I am happy with Atty Persse’s work and he is looking extremely well.
“I would think he needs to find three or four lengths on the principals in the race to be in with a chance, but he goes to York in good form.
“I think the course and the ground will suit him. Nothing came to light after his run at Newmarket last time – we just have to put a line through it.”
The eight runners for the Great Voltigeur Stakes include G1 Irish Derby second Cracksman and G1 Grand Prix de Paris third Venice Beach.
Penglai Pavilion (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) runs in a handicap over an extended two miles on the same card.
The seven-year-old is making his first British start of 2017, having last run when the staying-on seventh, beaten eight lengths, in the G1 Sydney Cup over two miles at Randwick, Australia, on April 22.
Here Comes When got the better of hot favourite Godolphin’s Ribchester to run out a shock winner of in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
Having already won the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot this season, Richard Fahey’s Ribchester was unsurprisingly a warm order to complete a Group One hat-trick, especially after the late withdrawal of dual 2000 Guineas winner Churchill.
The favourite made much of the running in the deteriorating conditions, but William Buick was hard at work in the saddle with two furlongs to run and the Andrew Balding-trained Here Comes When battled his way to the front in the hands of champion jockey Jim Crowley.
Just when it looked as though Ribchester was fading, he rallied to the cause, but while he was making ground again at the finish, Here Comes When held on by a neck. Lightning Spear was third.
Crowley said: “That was fantastic. Fair play to Andrew and Dr Hay (owner) for supplementing him and running him in the race. It was a brave shout and it’s really paid off.
“The rain came and he’s always been a very good horse on soft ground. Before the race I was ticking off the horses I didn’t think would go on the ground and I thought he’d definitely be in the first three.
“He got a nice tow into the race and the weather has played to his strengths. It’s heavy ground and he just loves it.
“It’s nice for him to get his head in front in a race like that.”
“He’s a very decent horse on this sort of ground. You look back through his form and he’s won two Group Twos before, he was fourth in this race a couple of years ago on ground quicker than ideal and he deserved to be in the field.
“I think he came back this year in better form than ever. When he won at York earlier in the year he was very impressive.
“On this ground, he’s stones better than he is on quicker ground.”
A philosophical Fahey said of Ribchester: “William just felt he was dropping away there two down and then he came back again. It’s extreme conditions out there, I was very worried – it’s not for a Flat horse to be racing on, it’s National Hunt horses.
“But he’s run a mighty race and he showed good heart to nearly get back up. Maybe he was a bit lonely in front and half-pulled up a bit, but that’s racing, we live to fight another day. If you could back winners today you’d be a genius, that’s why bookmakers love conditions like this. They get results and they’ve got one today. I’m disappointed, you come here expecting to win and you don’t, so you are disappointed.
“It was a strange race, I’d like to see it again.”