All roads lead to the Knavesmire here in sunny York, with day one of the always keenly-anticipated Ebor Meeting upon us.
If affordable champagne, top notch Flat racing, big crowds and tricky betting heats are your bag then this is the place to be without question.
The opening card of the four day fixture has the look of a bookmaker’s day, but the way to attack it could be to target a couple of big-priced fancies in the feature races…
Rated 120 and placed in both the English and Irish Derby, you’d have to respect Aidan O’Brien’s Idaho in the Great Voltigeur at 3.05pm, the horse who the firms make just 4/1 for next month’s St Leger.
He’s odds on to take today’s audition for that contest by the scruff of the neck, but there could be value in opposing him today with 10/1 chance Imperial Aviator.
Trained by in-form Roger Charlton, who has notched three winners from his last 11 runners, Imperial Aviatior steps up in trip here after a break, trying his hand at Group 2 company after a failed experiment in the French Derby.
To be fair he was completely unsuited by the Soft ground at Chantilly, and as a son of star performer Paco Boy, is much better judged on what he can achieve on today’s surface, Good to Firm.
His father was unbeaten on that going description, including a brace of Group 1’s.
As for Imperial Aviator, he was unbeatable at a lower level in the spring, seeing Ulysses at Leicester, before turning on the style in a red-hot three-year-old handicap at Newbury in May.
This demands far more, but he could have lots of improvement to come at a mile and a half, and he looks generously priced at 10/1 with any of bet365, Boyle, Hills or Ladbrokes.
The big ones comes around at 3.40pm, with the big money Juddmonte International attracting a glittering field of 13.
Trying to attain a sixth win on the bounce, Roger Varian’s Postponed is hot favourite for this, but he has to prove he’s as potent at a mile and a quarter as he is at a mile and a half, and at more than four times his price there could be value in chancing your arm with the William Haggas-trained Mutakayyef.
Drastically improved since being gelded in the winter, this son of Sea The Stas looks more than ready for a tilt at a top level prize, winning both of his starts this year.
Haggas could barely be having a better season, firing in winners left, right and centre, and in Mutakayyef he has a horse who could net him a huge prize.
He looked great last time out at Ascot, and goes really well here any York.
Back him each way at a general 8/1.
Wednesday’s best bets at York: