What a race we have in store this afternoon at York. The Ebor handicap has become one of the major if not "thee" major staying handicap of the flat turf season.

Little suprise with 300k to the winner along with a free entry and travel ticket to the Melbourne Cup! Today's card at York is as good a day card of racing I have seen at the course so well done to York for tempting owners with such good prize money in every race.

Ever Present runs for Irish trainer Jessica Harrington and jockey Shane Foley. A son of Elusive Pimpernel, he began his racing career in Irish bumpers winning on debut at Punchestown. Life proved tougher thereafter losing out in all following three bumpers to Willie Mullins trained horses such as Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit. Jessie switched codes with the horse and he enjoyed a cracking time of it last season winning three times and placing second on his other flat start. It is his win in the Petingo handicap on Irish champions weekend that marks this horse a serious contender today. That Leopardstown race was run over 1m5f on good ground and Ever Present made up a lot of ground from the back to win going away carrying 10 stone. The third placed Layfayette has gone on to win at Group 3 and 2 level this season. Ever Present has been saved for this race running just the once this season when given a prep run at Down Royal last month. The drying ground is a positive and the faster they go in this race the better as Ever Present will stay this trip strongly. He’s nicely drawn in stall 6 with Shane sure to save ground & energy early in the race by dropping him in behind the pace horses.

Candleford has a great chance of giving the Newmarket based Yorkshire-man trainer William Haggas his first Ebor victory. Candleford was the most impressive Royal Ascot winner outside the King Stands Aussie sprinter Nature Strip. Candleford destroyed a good field of handicappers in the Duke of Edinburgh stakes overcoming a wide trip into the straight before quickening up like only a pattern class horse is capable of doing. He won by all of six lengths from Agero who won next time out at the Goodwood festival. The handicapper hit Candleford with a 13lb hike in the ratings which was to be expected. William gave the horse a run at Newmarket over 1m6f when held up out the rear and unable to get involved in the finish. That quiet run at Newmarket was to be expected as a win there would have incurred a 4lb penalty and connections knew they were sure of a run in the Ebor off his revised rating of 104. At the backend of last season, Candleford beat Chester Cup runner-up and Royal Ascot winner Coltrane albeit in receipt of weight. This son of Kingman has only had two runs this season and is unexposed and open to further improvement not too badly drawn in stall 17. Tom Marquand rides Candleford in preference to the stable’s other runner Gaassee which is significant in such a valuable and prestigious race.

Those struck last from the shortlist were Earl of Tyrone (too short) & Enemy (high in weights) but tempting on his close run in the Sagaro stakes at Ascot earlier this season.

York – 3:35

0.5 point each way Ever Present 16/1 Paddy Power 7 places else 16/1 Bet365, 6 places.

0.5 point each way Candleford 11/1 Paddy Power 7 places else Boylesports, 6 places.

Compare Odds at https://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing/york/15:35/winner