Ben Vrackie & Raheen House joint favourites as first £1-million Sky Bet Ebor attracts 81 high-class entries

This year sees the most valuable Flat handicap ever staged in Europe – the £1-million Sky Bet Ebor.
The thrilling heritage handicap is run over one mile and six furlongs (1m 5f 188yds) at York on Saturday, August 24, day four of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
The Sky Bet Ebor has seen its value double since the 2018 running, won by Muntahaa, who was a first Sky Bet Ebor success for reigning champion Flat trainer John Gosden.
The in-form Newmarket handler has four entries this year, including Sky Bet’s 12/1 joint-favourite Ben Vrackie, a G3-placed performer. The four-year-old Frankel colt finished well when the short-head runner-up to Baghdad (Mark Johnston, 14/1) in the 12-furlong Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot last time out.
His entries also include First Eleven (14/1), who gained an automatic place in the Sky Bet Ebor line-up when landing the second contest in Sky Bet’s “Race to the Ebor” series, the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap over a mile and a half on the Knavesmire on May 15. Last season’s November Handicap winner Royal Line (20/1) and 2018 Sky Bet Ebor runner-up Weekender (25/1) also come from the Gosden stable.
Also prominent at the head of the market with Sky Bet is Raheen House (William Haggas, 12/1 joint-favourite), who chased home Gold Mount (Ian Williams, 14/1) in the third and final contest in Sky Bet’s “Race to the Ebor” – the Listed Sky Bet Race to the Ebor Grand Cup, over the same course and distance as the Sky Bet Ebor on June 15. Similarly, Gold Mount is guaranteed a run in the Sky Bet Ebor and if appearing will have his entry fees, totalling £5,000, refunded if finishing outside of the first eight. Horses finishing in the first eight all receive at least £5,000 in prize money.
Yorkshire-born and Newmarket-based William Haggas, the second most successful trainer at York over the last five seasons, is chasing a first Sky Bet Ebor success and his three entries besides Raheen House are Dramatic Queen (25/1), winner of the G3 Bronte Cup Fillies’ Stakes over the course and distance on May 25, Zetland Gold Cup winner Al Muffrih (25/1) and outsider Big Kitten (66/1).
One of the least exposed names among the Sky Bet Ebor entries is Deja (25/1) from the Newmarket stable of Peter Chapple-Hyam.
Formerly trained by Jeremy Noseda, the Phoenix Thoroughbred-owned colt is unbeaten in three starts for Chapple-Hyam and caught the eye on his 2019 return when decisively landing a 12-furlong Polytrack handicap at Kempton Park on July 3.
That was the four-year-old Youmzain colt’s first start since October when he captured a novice contest at Chester and a handicap at Pontefract within the space of eight days, both at around 10 furlongs. Deja has been successful on four of his five starts.
Chapple-Hyam reported: “I was very pleased with Deja at Kempton. He is an improving horse who has not had many outings, but I hope that he will be streetwise enough for a race like the Sky Bet Ebor.
“I don’t have many horses – about 25 in total – but quite a few of them became sick earlier in the season when they were due to run and Deja was one of them. I had to wait and we are only really starting to have runners now.
“Whether or not he runs again before the Ebor will depend on what is left in and how the race is shaping up between now and then. I don’t think he needs to have another run, but we will see.
“He is effective over mile and a quarter and a mile and a half, and I don’t see a mile and six furlongs being a problem either.”
Outbox (Simon Crisford, 14/1) is another exciting contender. The four-year-old son of Frankel won all three of his starts in 2018 and met defeat for the first time when the head runner-up to the very useful Funny Kid in a 15-furlong Listed contest at Chantilly, France, on June 21.
Britain’s winning-most trainer of all time, Middleham-based Mark Johnston, scooped the 1992 Ebor with Quick Ransom and has a strong potential squad for 2019, with his six entries including dual Royal Ascot winner Baghdad, this season’s G2 Jockey Club Stakes victor Communique (25/1) and Chester Cup hero Making Miracles (33/1).
Wells Farhh Go (Tim Easterby, 20/1), a two-time G3 winner including in the 2017 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival, made an excellent seasonal reappearance when taking the Listed Fred Archer Stakes at Newmarket on June 29. Trained in Great Habton by Tim Easterby, Wells Farhh Go hails from the same stable as the great Sea Pigeon, the dual Champion Hurdle winner, who was saddled to Ebor success by Tim’s father Peter in 1979.
Another eye-catching entry from Yorkshire is Kelly’s Dino (Karl Burke, 25/1), who won the £100,000 Old Newton Cup at Haydock Park on July 6.
There are 16 Irish-trained entries including seven, the most of any trainer, from Ireland’s multiple champion Jump trainer Willie Mullins, who landed the Ebor in 2009 with Sesenta.
He has put in G2 winners Max Dynamite (25/1) and Thomas Hobson (25/1), along with recent Ascot Handicap runner-up Buildmeupbuttercup (25/1) and Uradel (33/1), second in the 2018 Cesarewitch at Newmarket.
 
Stratum (33/1) started the 3/1 favourite for the 2018 Sky Bet Ebor and came home 12th after not enjoying the clearest of runs. Another Mullins-trained contender is True Self (16/1), with the six-year-old mare having won four of her six starts on the Flat including Listed prizes at Newmarket and Gowran Park. The lightly-raced Exchange Rate (33/1) has not been since finishing runner-up in the last year’s November Handicap at Naas.
Other Irish-trained contenders include the 2018 G1 Irish Derby hero Latrobe (Joseph O’Brien, 16/1), G3 winner Cypress Creek (Aidan O’Brien, 33/1), recent Sandown Listed scorer Falcon Eight (Dermot Weld, 14/1), the 2018 Sky Bet Ebor third Sea The Lion (Jarlath Fahey, 33/1) and Downdraft (Joseph O’Brien, 25/1), a Listed winner at Roscommon on Monday.
Who Dares Wins (Alan King, 25/1) and Dubawi Fifty (Karen McLintock, 16/1) were first and second respectively in the Northumberland Plate on June 29, while the likely top-weight is Salouen (Sylvester Kirk, 25/1), who went down by just a head to the mighty Cracksman in the 2018 G1 Coronation Cup at Epsom.
Michael Shinners, Racing PR Manager at Sky Bet, commented: “We could hardly have wished for a stronger entry for the first £1-million Sky Bet Ebor, with Pattern race performers engaged from both Britain and Ireland.
“Ben Vrackie and Raheen House are Sky Bet’s opening 12/1 favourites, while we will see many developments in the six weeks leading up to the Sky Bet Ebor.”
Weights for the £1-million Sky Bet will be revealed on Wednesday, July 24.
The maximum field for the Sky Bet Ebor is 22 runners, with two reserves also a potential part of the final mix.
Sky Bet Ebor, Sky Bet odds:
12/1 Ben Vrackie, Raheen House
14/1 Falcon Eight, Outbox, Baghdad, First Eleven, Gold Mount
16/1 Dubawi Fifty, Latrobe, True Self
20/1 Collide, Royal Line, Corgi, Raymond Tusk, Secret Advisor, Wells Farhh Go
25/1 Al Muffrih, Barsanti, Bin Battuta, Buildmeupbuttercup, Caliburn, Cleonte, Communique, Deja, Desert Wind, Downdraft, Dramatic Queen, Eynhallow          , Kelly’s Dino, Kings Advice, Max Dynamite, Red Galileo, Red Verdon, Salouen, Soto Sizzler, The Grand Visir, Thomas Hobson, Austrian School, Mekong, Mustajeer, Prince Of Arran, Proschema, Rock Eagle, Weekender, Who Dares Wins, Withhold
33/1 Arthurian Fame, Bartholomeu Dias, Carnwennan, Cypress Creek, Exchange Rate, Gifts of Gold, Island Brave, Scarlet Dragon, Spirit Ridge, Carlo Biraghi, Making Miracles, Sea The Lion, Stratum, Uradel
40/1 Blakeney Point, Amazing Red, Byron Flyer, Lethal Steps, Lord Yeats, Speedo Boy
50/1 Charles Kingsley, Desert Skyline, Hermoso Mundo, Mugatoo, Saroog, Time To Study
66/1 Busy Street, Eddystone Rock, Grandee, Not So Sleepy, Big Kitten, Reshoun, Shabeeb
100/1 Temple Church, Volcanic Sky
The Sky Bet Ebor
Heritage handicap, £1,000,000 total prize fund. 3.35pm, Saturday, August 24, 1m 5f 188yds. For four-year-olds and upwards. Lowest weight 8st, highest weight not less than 9st 10lb. Penalties: after July 20, a winner of a race 4lb, a winner of two races 7lb. Entries closed July 9, entries revealed July 10 (81 entries), weights revealed July 24, scratchings deadline August 6, five-day confirmations August 19, final declarations 10am August 22. Maximum field 22 runners plus two reserves.
Horse
Age
Owner
Trainer
AL MUFFRIH (IRE)
4
Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum
William Haggas
AMAZING RED (IRE)
6
The Hon R J Arculli
Ed Dunlop
ARTHURIAN FAME (IRE)
4
Blackrock Racing Syndicate
Joseph O’Brien IRE
AUSTRIAN SCHOOL (IRE)
4
Dr J Walker
Mark Johnston
BAGHDAD (FR)
4
Mohammed Bin Hamad Khalifa Al Attiya
Mark Johnston
BARSANTI (IRE)
7
Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum
Roger Varian
BARTHOLOMEU DIAS
4
P K Siu
Charles Hills
BEN VRACKIE
4
H R H Princess Haya of Jordan
John Gosden
BIG KITTEN (USA)
4
Hussain Alabbas Lootah
William Haggas
BIN BATTUTA
5
Godolphin
Saeed bin Suroor
BLAKENEY POINT
6
Axom LX
Roger Charlton
BUILDMEUPBUTTERCUP
5
J Turner
Willie Mullins IRE
BUSY STREET
7
KHDRP & Martyn Elvin
Michael Appleby
BYRON FLYER
8
Anchor Men
Ian Williams
CALIBURN (IRE)
4
M M Stables
Andrew Balding
CARLO BIRAGHI (IRE)
4
Mrs E Irwin/Sue Magnier
Fozzy Stack IRE
CARNWENNAN (IRE)
4
Dr Vincent K F Kong
Charlie Fellowes
CHARLES KINGSLEY
4
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum
Mark Johnston
CLEONTE (IRE)
6
King Power Racing Co Ltd
Andrew Balding
COLLIDE
4
Khalid Abdullah
Hugo Palmer
COMMUNIQUE (IRE)
4
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum
Mark Johnston
CORGI
4
M Hughes & M Kerr-Dineen
Hughie Morrison
CYPRESS CREEK (IRE)
4
Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier
Aidan O’Brien IRE
DEJA (FR)
4
Phoenix Thoroughbred Limited
Peter Chapple-Hyam
DESERT SKYLINE (IRE)
5
C Benham/D Whitford/L Quinn/K Quinn
David Elsworth
DESERT WIND (IRE)
4
Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum
Ed Vaughan
DOWNDRAFT (IRE)
4
OTI Racing
Joseph O’Brien IRE
DRAMATIC QUEEN (USA)
4
Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum
William Haggas
DUBAWI FIFTY
6
Paul & Clare Rooney
Karen McLintock
EDDYSTONE ROCK (IRE)
7
Curtis, Malt & Williams
John Best
EXCHANGE RATE (GER)
7
Mrs A F Mee
Willie Mullins IRE
EYNHALLOW
5
Godolphin
Charlie Appleby
FALCON EIGHT (IRE)
4
Moyglare Stud Farms Ltd
Dermot Weld IRE
FIRST ELEVEN
4
Khalid Abdullah
John Gosden
GIFTS OF GOLD (IRE)
4
Godolphin
Saeed bin Suroor
GOLD MOUNT
6
Sutong Pan
Ian Williams
GRANDEE (IRE)
5
Nick Bradley Racing 16 & Sohi & Partner
Roger Fell
HERMOSO MUNDO (SAF)
7
Out of Africa Partnership
Hughie Morrison
ISLAND BRAVE (IRE)
5
Donald M Kerr
Heather Main
KELLY’S DINO (FR)
6
Liam Kelly & Mrs E Burke
Karl Burke
KING’S ADVICE
5
Saeed Jaber
Mark Johnston
LATROBE (IRE)
4
Lloyd J Williams
Joseph O’Brien IRE
LETHAL STEPS
4
Cheveley Park Stud
Gordon Elliott IRE
LORD YEATS
6
Geoff & Sandra Turnbull
Jedd O’Keeffe
MAKING MIRACLES
4
Acorn, Brown, Parker & Scott
Mark Johnston
MAX DYNAMITE (FR)
9
Susannah Ricci
Willie Mullins IRE
MEKONG
4
Philip Newton
Sir Michael Stoute
MUGATOO (IRE)
4
Australian Bloodstock
David Simcock
MUSTAJEER
6
D Spratt
Ger Lyons IRE
NOT SO SLEEPY
7
Lady Blyth
Hughie Morrison
OUTBOX
4
Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum
Simon Crisford
PRINCE OF ARRAN
6
Saeed bel Obaida
Charlie Fellowes
PROSCHEMA (IRE)
4
Empire State Racing Partnership
Tom Dascombe
RAHEEN HOUSE (IRE)
5
J L Day
William Haggas
RAYMOND TUSK (IRE)
4
Middleham Park Racing XXXI & K Sohi
Richard Hannon
RED GALILEO
8
Godolphin
Saeed bin Suroor
RED VERDON (USA)
6
The Hon R J Arculli
Ed Dunlop
RESHOUN (FR)
5
Michael Watt & Roy David
Ian Williams
ROCK EAGLE
4
Jeff Smith
Ralph Beckett
ROYAL LINE
5
HH Sheikha Al Jalila Racing
John Gosden
SALOUEN (IRE)
5
H Balasuriya
Sylvester Kirk
SAROOG
5
Abdulla Al Mansoori
Simon Crisford
SCARLET DRAGON
6
HP Racing Scarlet Dragon
Alan King
SEA THE LION (IRE)
8
Mrs Kathleen Whelan/Mrs Suzanne Fahey
Jarlath Fahey IRE
SECRET ADVISOR (FR)
5
Godolphin
Charlie Appleby
SHABEEB (USA)
6
Dr Marwan Koukash
Ian Williams
SOTO SIZZLER
4
I J Heseltine
William Knight
SPEEDO BOY (FR)
5
Paul Williams
Ian Williams
SPIRIT RIDGE
4
Khalid Abdullah
Amanda Perrett
STRATUM
6
Anthony Bloom
Willie Mullins IRE
TEMPLE CHURCH (IRE)
5
P C J Dalby & R D Schuster
Hughie Morrison
THE GRAND VISIR
5
CLXX
Ian Williams
THOMAS HOBSON
9
Mrs S Ricci
Willie Mullins IRE
TIME TO STUDY (FR)
5
K Sohi
Ian Williams
TRUE SELF (IRE)
6
Three Mile House Partnership
Willie Mullins IRE
URADEL (GER)
8
Luke McMahon
Willie Mullins IRE
VOLCANIC SKY
4
Godolphin
Saeed bin Suroor
WEEKENDER
5
Khalid Abdullah
John Gosden
WELLS FARHH GO (IRE)
4
S A Heley & Partner
Tim Easterby
WHO DARES WINS (IRE)
7
HP Racing Who Dares Wins
Alan King
WITHHOLD
6
Anthony Bloom
Roger Charlton
 
81 entries
16 Irish-trained
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