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Favourite Pallasator poised for Ebor at York

Updated: Friday, 22 Aug 2014 13:41 | Comments

Pallasator was a convincing winner of an Ascot handicap on his most recent outing
Pallasator was a convincing winner of an Ascot handicap on his most recent outing

Mark Prescott agrees Pallasator heads to York on Saturday in a similar position to his last winner of the Betfred Ebor.

It is not unusual for the respected Newmarket trainer to field a short-priced favourite for a competitive and valuable handicap, but it is 20 years since Hasten To Add won the big handicap on the Knavesmire.

Pallasator was bought by Qatar Racing after his two-length defeat of subsequent Glorious Goodwood winner Double Bluff in a handicap at Ascot, but Prescott ensured his usual jockey Luke Morris would stay on board.

He must, though, negotiate a tricky draw in stall 22.

Prescott said: "Hasten To Add, I thought, was sure to win the Cesarewitch and he didn't quite stay and then he won the Ebor.

"Pallasator ran well in the Cesarewitch to finish fifth, so they have a similar profile, I suppose.

"This horse has always been quite difficult. He gets very hot before races.

"He's never been easy, but it's always been worthwhile."

Facing Prescott are several former members of his yard, with Mutual Regard rattling off a four-timer for Heath House in very late 2012.

He has appeared a couple of times this season for new trainer Johnny Murtagh, winning a Curragh handicap and then finishing third Pale Mimosa.

"Hopefully he has an each-way chance," said Murtagh.

"We could have done without going up 11lb for his last win, so we've booked Louis Steward to take 5lb off his back.

"The horse is in good form and hopefully the rain stays away.

"He's a consistent horse and hopefully he'll be there at the finish."

Repeater was an infrequent winner, if high class, for Prescott and he has continued in that mould for David O'Meara, who said: "He ran well in the John Smith's Northumberland Plate (third) and when second in a Listed race at Sandown in July.

"He didn't handle the track at all at Goodwood last time so I think we can put a line though that.

"A race like the Ebor suits him - he needs to be held up and weave his way through runners."

Jane Cecil, who won last year's Ebor with Tiger Cliff, is double-handed.

Mighty Yar, who only just made the cut, finished second to the progressive Kings Fete at the course last time, despite having stumbled at the start, while one-time Leger possible Retirement Plan is fresh from a victory at Ascot.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah said of the latter: "He won at the Shergar Cup with the wonderful Emma-Jayne Wilson on board.

"He had a fairly slow start to the year so I hope he's still progressing.

"We're throwing him in at the deep end, but he's at the right end of the handicap.

"There's only 8lb between top to bottom, but that's what happens when you put good money up."

There appears quiet confidence from William Haggas about the prospects for Dare To Achieve, who landed a Listed race at Hamilton in the spring but was only seventh in a handicap on Derby Day.

"He's a different horse since Epsom, he returned very sore after that run," said Haggas.

"I think he's in a good frame of mind going there and I think he's got a sporting chance.

"He'll like the ground, he'll like the trip, I think, and he'll like the course.

"There's not much between top and bottom of the weights, you have to be very good to get in these days.

"These exposed ones keep the unexposed ones out, but hopefully we're not that exposed.

"This has been the plan for a while, but not a plot."

Luca Cumani has trained three previous winners of the Ebor (Vicious Circle, Mephisto and Purple Moon) and this time saddles Sir Walter Scott.

"Sir Walter Scott has only had three career starts and we think he's got some improvement in him," said the trainer.

"He ran a decent race at Newbury in the Doom Bar Stakes that was short of his ideal trip and the Ebor is more his cup of tea."

Saeed Bin Suroor landed the 2012 Ebor with Willing Foe, and is represented by another course winner this season in Wadi Al Hattawi.

The Godolphin trainer said: "He's doing well and he worked well on Wednesday. A mile and six will be fine for him.

"I think it's a competitive race, but hopefully he'll run a good race."

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