Ebor Festival Day 4 preview: Wissahickon has a super chance in Strensall Stakes

Published on: August 23, 2019
Author: David Metcalf
2019 Ebor Festival day 4 preview includes Wissahickon in the Strensall Stakes at York

Trainer John Gosden has his team in sensational form, so Wissahickon looks to hold leading claims of providing him with a fourth winner on the 1m 1f Group 3 Strensall Stakes on the final day of the Ebor Festival at York this Saturday (13:50).

This four-year-old has won eight of his 11 career starts and turned last year’s ultra-competitive Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket into a procession when showing a smart turn of foot to easily beat Mordin by 3 3/4 lengths.

He went on to land a Listed contest at Lingfield, before taking the step up into Group 3 company in his stride at the same venue when coasting clear to beat Court House by 3 3/4 lengths without having to break sweat.

That success saw Wissahickon sent off the 1/3 favourite for the Easter Classic on All-Weather Finals Day at the Surrey venue, but he ran below par to finish a seven-length runner-up to Matterhorn.

He was never really travelling at any stage and it may have been a case of the race coming too quickly.

Connections have wisely given him a 113-day break to freshen-up, and the son of Tapit is the highest rated in the field off 115.

Wissahickon also hails from a stable in flying form and operating at 29 per cent strike rate in the last 14 days at the time of writing.

Other pluses are that he is 1-1 on the Knavesmire, unbeaten in two starts over the trip, and once again has the services of Frankie Dettori in the saddle who has a 66 per cent strike rate on him.

So, at odds of 15/8 with Unibet, Wissahickon looks a worthy favourite to land the spoils in the Strensall Stakes.

Three-year-old Bangkok feared most in Strensall Stakes

Bangkok is one of just two three-year-olds in the six-runner line-up and appeals as the one to give Wissahickon most to think about.

This Andrew Balding trained son of Derby winner Australia gets a handy 7lb from the selection and that puts him 1lb clear of that rival on adjusted ratings.

The King Power Racing owned colt beat subsequent Dante winner Telecaster in a 1m 2f Doncaster maiden on reappearance, then followed-up decisively in the Group 3 Classic Trial at Sandown.

He stayed on strongly that day to account for Technician and that one has since landed a Group 3 at Newbury

Although Bangkok then struggled in the Epsom Derby and trailed in last but one, he shaped far better next time up when eased in grade and finishing a 4 1/2 lengths second to Japan in the King Edward VII Stakes.

Whilst no match impressive winner, Japan has since followed-up in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp before lowering the colours of the classy Crystal Ocean in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes here earlier in the week.

That gives the form a very solid look and Bangkok found soft ground totally against him last time out when a nine-length fifth of six in the Group 2 over 1m 2f at this venue.

The return to a sounder surface is likely to see him in a much better light and Bangkok may well appreciate dropping down in trip.

At 6/1 with Coral, Bangkok looks a tad overpriced on his run beyond Japan and looks capable of making his presence felt in this.

Cape Byron value in City Of York

In the 7f Group 2 City Of York Stakes (15:00), Cape Byron looks decent value at 11/2 with Boylesports to lower the colours of the favourite Laurens.

This Roger Varian trained five-year-old is lightly-raced for his age and has won four of his 14 starts.

He posted a string of solid efforts to be placed in hot handicaps last season and has taken his form to a new level this year in winning two of his three outings.

In the first of those at Ascot, Cape Byron only had to be driven out to cosily beat Kynren by a neck in the 7f Victoria Cup.

He then found the drop back to 6f no problem when following-up in the 26-runner Wokingham at Royal Ascot and showing a smart turn of foot to account for Tis Marvellous.

That taking success saw him sent off a well-backed 6/1 shot for the Group 1 July Cup over 6f at Newmarket, but Cape Byron raced too freely before weakening to finish a 7 1/4 lengths 11th of 12 to Ten Sovereigns.

It’s easy to put a line through that effort and the son of Shamardal will appreciate the return to 7f – a trip over which he has won twice and been placed on three occasions in six starts.

Cape Byron is a strong travelling sort with a potent turn of foot and this race could set up perfectly for him, as Laurens likes to blaze a trail and set a strong pace.

Drop in trip a concern for likeable Laurens on Ebor Festival day 4

Given that she’s a six-time winner at Group 1 level, Laurens looks a worthy market leader at a standout 11/4 with Ladbrokes now dropped down in grade.

The Karl Burke trained four-year-old is an ultra-tough and consistent filly who dug deep to beat With You by half-a-length in a 1m Group 1 contest last time out at Deauville.

Prior to that, the daughter of Siyouni wasn’t totally disgraced when sixth to Lord Glitters in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Laurens was only beaten 3 1/2 lengths and had previously chased home Mustashry in the Group 1 Lockinge at Newbury on reappearance.

Last term she landed the Prix Saint-Alary and Prix de Diane over in French after chasing home Billesdon Brook in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.

She later scored in the Matron Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend and returned to the Rowley Mile when scoring in the Sun Chariot.

Her form sets a clear standard in this, but Laurens now drops back to 7f for just the third time in her career.

That could make her a sitting duck for a closer like Cape Byron, so at the odds on offer she looks opposable on this occasion.

Alligator Alley taken to bloom on Ebor Festival day 4 in Roses

Now eased in grade, Irish raider Alligator Alley looks the one to be on in Listed 5f Roses Stakes for juvenile colts and fillies (16:10).

This Joseph O’Brien trained son of Classic winner Kingman has shown improved form in each of his four outings.

He came good at the third time of asking on no uncertain fashion when making all and quickening clear to easily beat subsequent winner The Pechampouncer by five lengths at Navan.

That victory earned Alligator Alley a ticket for the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and he ran a screamer to finish a length runner-up to Liberty Beach.

After being held-up early doors, he was making stealthy headway to thrown down a challenge two from home only to get badly hampered.

That cost Alligator Alley vital ground, so it was to his credit that once recovering and seeing daylight he flew home to be gaining hand over fist at the finish.

He looked a desperately unlucky loser and this Ebor Festival day 4 test represents a return to calmer water.

It looks like an obvious chance for Alligator Alley to go one better and he can be backed at 2/1 with BetVictor to do just that.