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York Ebor meeting tips 2015: Matt Chapman takes on John McCririck in the search for a winner

The four-day smash-up on the Knavesmire starts Wednesday so we've asked motormouths Matt Chapman and John McCririck go head-to-head to pick us some winners

by Sean Goff | August 17, 2015

York, Wednesday 3.05pm

Matt Chapman: I’m all over Balios in this and would advise a few quid on him each-way for the St Leger as well. He was impressive at Royal Ascot, and just wasn’t at his best in France last time when Dave Simcock’s horses were a bit in and out. I think he’ll stay strong and go well.

  • Matt’s pick: BALIOS

John McCririck: A key trial for the St Leger next month. I really like Richard Hannon’s colt TASHAAR who is unbeaten under Frankie Dettori and deserves this step up to Group company after his win over 1m 3f in a decent handicap at Goodwood at the end of last month. He was eased down towards the end of the race and looks to have plenty more to offer at this trip.

  • Mac’s pick: TASHAAR


York, Wednesday 3.40pm

Matt Chapman: Ground of course will be key on the day, but I’ve no doubt in my mind GOLDEN HORN is going to land this race and even if Gleneagles turns up. He’s great value and a terrific Derby winner. Gleneagles makes the market.

  • Matt’s pick: GOLDEN HORN

John McCririck:  If the three main contenders run, this will be the flat race of the year so far. Golden Horn, Gleneagles and The Grey Gatsby are all top drawer. I am staying loyal to GOLDEN HORN and cannot see The Grey Gatsby overturning the Coral-Eclipse form from Sandown. Gleneagles is the main danger and the conditions look perfect for him, after he was withdrawn from the Sussex Stakes and Prix Jacques le Marois due to unsuitable ground, Aidan O’Brien has taken no chances with him.

  • Mac’s pick: GOLDEN HORN


York, Thursday 2.30pm

Matt Chapman: She will need to be supplemented, but if LUMIERE turns up for this she could be something special. Mark Johnston trains the daughter of Shamardal, who hacked up on her debut at Newmarket. I saw her in a gallop last week at Middleham, and she looked lovely.

  • Matt’s pick: LUMIERE

John McCririck: Lumiere is all the rage after her six length maiden win at Newmarket last month over this trip, but I wouldn’t take too short a price on her. My money will be on Richard Hannon to follow up with the Albany winner ILLUMINATE against the favourite. She beat market rival Basharah in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at HQ last month and had Easton Angel back in fourth – so plenty of ticks in the right boxes. 

  • Mac’s pick: ILLUMINATE

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York, Thursday 3.40pm

Matt Chapman: Covert Love has been going through the gears all season since winning her maiden at Chelmsford City in May. She won at York, then Newcastle before beating Curvy in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh last month. There’s no good reason to desert her this week.

  • Matt’s pick: COVERT LOVE

John McCririck: Covert Love is progressive and the York course winner beat Curvy in the Irish Oaks last month. But I’m backing CURVY to reverse this form on better ground.  She’s progressive and won winning four on the bounce before her Curragh defeat and the way she beat Pleascach and Giovanni Canaletto before makes me confident she will bounce back.

  • Mac’s pick: CURVY


York, Friday 3.40pm

Matt Chapman: All eyes will be on Acapulco here, having hacked up in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot. But the form has not worked out in that race, with only Besharah doing anything for the placed horses. Although he’s owned by Paddy, I’ve got to stick with the two-time Nunthorpe hero SOLE POWER. There’s something lovely about taking Paddy’s cash with his own horse, and he showed in the July Cup there is still some puff in the old legs. This is his track.

  • Matt’s pick: SOLE POWER

John McCririck:  If Wesley Ward’s Queen Mary winner Acapulco goes to post, she is all about speed and she had burned off the majority of the field by half way in the Queen Mary. The flat York track will suit her and she will more than hold her own against the boys in this. MUTHMIR is the one I will be on though. He goes on all ground and 5f is his trip – his only poor run was over 6f at Newmarket in the July Cup when regular jockey Paul Hanagan rightly picked Muhaarar. Paul was back on board in the King George Stakes last time out at Goodwood and despite conceding weight all around he won well. Grab the 5/1 on him.

  • Mac’s Pick: MUTHMIR

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York, Saturday, 3.10pm

Matt Chapman: There’s a chance BURATINO will turn up for this, and if he does lump on. Mark Johnston is convinced the ground was not fast enough for him at the Curragh last time, and he also believes this is a horse who needs to run. To run more and more. He could have too much speed for this lot.

  • Matt’s pick: BURATINO

John McCririck: I am sticking with my selection for the Coventry in AIR FORCE BLUE who looked all over the winner as he hit the front inside the final furlong only for the more experienced Buratino to sweep past him and grab the prize. He is a big scopey horse and soon bounced back to win the Pheonix Stakes at the Curragh last week, reversing the form with Buratino and beating stablemate Washington DC by two lengths.

  • Mac’s pick: AIR FORCE BLUE

Racing general

York, Saturday 3.45pm

Chapman: I keep backing AJMAN BRIDGE and he keeps getting beat, but he was a little unlucky at Goodwood last time when stepped up in trip and it might just be this could be the prize he deserves. Obviously we have to pray for a good draw, but he should be bang in the mix on recent form.

  • Matt’s pick: AJMAN BRIDGE

McCririck: I am keeping my fingers crossed that QUICK JACK takes his chance in the Ebor. It has been frustrating not to see more of him in the staying flat races in the UK but looked as good as ever when winning the Galway Hurdle last month.  

He’s finished third in the Cesarewitch last year and was second in the Chester Cup in May but could still have the pace to win on Saturday.

  • Mac’s pick: QUICK JACK

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