Ferland’s French challenge with Funny Kid as century of entries revealed for £500K Sky Bet Ebor on August 25

A total of 100 entries are revealed today for Britain’s richest heritage handicap, the £500,000 Sky Bet Ebor, staged on the fourth and final day of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York on Saturday, August 25.


Leeds-based Sky Bet extends its backing to the historic contest for the first time in 2018. Britain’s most popular online bookmaker and York Racecourse agreed a five-year partnership, with prize money for this year’s renewal of the famous mile and three-quarter race (1m 5f 188y) increasing by 75% to £500,000 and then leaping to £1 million in 2019.


Sky Bet’s 10/1 favourite for the 2018 Sky Bet Ebor is Chelkar, one of 13 entries for Ireland’s champion Jump trainer Willie Mullins. The five-year-old made his debut for Mullins when a close fourth in the Ascot Handicap over two and a half miles at Royal Ascot on June 19, having begun his career as a smart performer over shorter distances in France.


Mullins is seeking his second Sky Bet Ebor success, after taking the honours with Sesenta in 2009.


The three entries sharing 12/1 second favouritism with Sky Bet include Dash Of Spice (David Elsworth), successful in the 12-furlong Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot and a leading contender for the 59th John Smith’s Cup at York this Saturday, July 14. Also on the 12/1 mark are Godolphin’s Game Starter (Saeed bin Suroor), not seen out since recording an impressive victory at Doncaster in September, and Withhold (Roger Charlton), who is chasing a hat-trick of victories in major handicaps, having landed the Cesarewitch at Newmarket and Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on his latest two starts.


There has been no French-trained winner of the Sky Bet Ebor to date, but Christophe Ferland is aiming to change that.


The French trainer has entered the talented five-year-old horse Funny Kid (14/1), owned by the Wertheimer brothers, who raced at Belmont Park in America last time out.


The son of Lemon Drop Kid took part in the G2 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational Stakes over two miles on fast turf last month, finishing fifth to The Queen’s Call To Mind, who is trained by William Haggas, but there was an excuse for the disappointing performance of the second favourite.


Funny Kid is no stranger to success in Britain, having landed the valuable All-Weather Marathon Championship on Good Friday at Lingfield Park. He was also successful this season in the G3 Prix de Barbeville over an extended 15 furlongs at Longchamp in April.


Ferland, based near Arcachon in South West France, commented: “The plan is to run Funny Kid in the Sky Bet Ebor.


“He had a problem as he hurt himself when racing at Belmont Park (June 8) – a bruise – but the horse is OK now.


“He will be ready to run again by the time of the Ebor in late August.


“He has done well this year, winning the All-Weather Championships Marathon at Lingfield Park in March and then the G3 Prix de Barbeville at Longchamp the following month.


“The shorter distance of the Ebor will not bother him and the prize money is very good.”


Also on the 14/1 mark with Sky Bet is Elgin (Alan King). The very smart hurdler, successful in the G2 Elite Hurdle at Wincanton before a close fifth in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, has made a great start to his career on the Flat, landing novice contests at Chelmsford City and Catterick in facile fashion.


Dual Grand National-winning trainer Gordon Elliott took the Sky Bet Ebor back in 2010 with Dirar and has another live contender this year with Cartwright (14/1), who was a very useful performer for Sir Mark Prescott in 2017 before going on to an excellent first season over hurdles for Elliott, being successful at Listed level.


The other contenders priced at 14/1 with Sky Bet include Godolphin’s First Nation (Charlie Appleby), winner of the very competitive Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket last season, Gustavus Vassa (Willie Mullins IRE), runner-up twice so far this year in handicaps at Cork and the Curragh, useful hurdler and recent Curragh handicap scorer Low Sun (Willie Mullins IRE) and the superbly-bred Royal Line (John Gosden), who was an easy winner when last seen at Sandown Park in April.


Flint Jack (1922 & 1923) is the only dual winner of the Sky Bet Ebor, but Nakeeta (Iain Jardine, 20/1) could bid to become the second this year following his head success in 2017.


The seven-year-old son of Sixties Icon went on to finish fifth in the G1 Melbourne Cup at Flemington, Australia in November following his Ebor victory.


Jardine’s charge has failed to land a blow in both the Chester Cup (10th) and the Northumberland Plate (14th) at Newcastle so far this season, but the Scottish handler is relishing a return to York in August.


Jardine, based at Hetland Hill in Carrutherstown, said today: “Nakeeta is in good form at home and he has come out of his latest run fine.


“It’s all systems go for York and the plan is definitely to head back for the Ebor. I don’t think he will run again beforehand.


“We’ll freshen him up and hopefully he can win the race for the second year in succession.


“I’ve been happy with him this season and we’ll be finely tuning him for York.”


Marmelo (Hughie Morrison, 16/1) was successful over the course and distance last time out in the Listed Sky Bet Grand Cup Stakes on June 16, when scoring by a neck from Weekender (John Gosden). Marmelo, a G2 winner in 2017, is the likely top-weight.


Michael Shinners, Racing PR Manager at Sky Bet, commented: “The entries for the Sky Bet Ebor look outstanding at this stage, with several Group class performers engaged.


“It is also pleasing to see so many entries from Ireland plus an entry from France which demonstrates just how popular this historic contest is and fully justifies the decision to significantly boost the prize money.


“There is always a strong ante-post market for the Sky Bet Ebor and Chelkar, who ran an eye-catching race on his first start for Willie Mullins at Royal Ascot, is Sky Bet’s 10/1 favourite at this stage.”


Weights for the Sky Bet Ebor will be revealed on Wednesday, July 25. A maximum of 20 runners can take part in the Sky Bet Ebor.


Sky Bet Ebor – Sky Bet prices:

10/1 Chelkar; 12/1 Dash of Spice, Game Starter, Withhold; 14/1 Cartwright, Elgin, First Nation, Funny Kid, Gustavus Vassa, Limini, Low Sun, Royal Line; 16/1 Atty Persse, Lagostovegas, Light Pillar, Marmelo, Melting Dew, Stratum, Walton Street, Whiskey Sour; 20/1 Amazing Red, Count Octave, Crowned Eagle, Dal Harraild, Dubawi Fifty, Exchange Rate, Eynhallow, Hamada, Housesofparliament, Muntahaa, Nakeeta, Nearly Caught, Platitude, Prize Money, Rainbow Rebel, Sea The Lion, Sharjah, Sir Chauvelin, Tigris River, Top Tug, Weekender, Law Girl, Laws of Spin; 25/1 Blakeney Point, Buzz, Euchen Glen, Good Run, Lord Yeats, Maths Prize, Meri Devie, Mountain Bell, Mustajeer, Natural Scenery, Quloob, Restorer, Saroog, Saunter, Stars Over The Sea, Teodoro, Time To Study, Twilight Payment, Uradel, What A Home, White Desert; 33/1 Alwaysandforever, Cosmelli, Dance The Dream, Dylan Mouth, Erik The Red, Euro Nightmare, Financial Conduct, Fun Mac, Golden Wolf, Hochfeld, Humble Hero, Montaly, My Reward, On To Victory, Saigon City, Shraaoh; 40/1 Eddystone Rock, Guns of Leros, Kelly’s Dino, Percy’s Word, Reshoun, Scotland, Temple Church, Watersmeet, Zeelander; 50/1 Arch Villain, Blue Rambler, Curbyourenthusiasm, Golden Birthday, Island Brave, Mirsaale, Speedo Boy; 66/1 Eye Of The Storm, Long Call, Mount Tahan, Tommy Docc


Leeds-based Sky Bet is now in its 15th year of sponsorship at York and extends its support to six of the seven races on Saturday, August 25, at York:


£100,000 Sky Bet Strensall Stakes (Group 3) 1m f

£125,000 Sky Bet Melrose Handicap (0-105) 1m 6f

£180,000 Sky Bet City of York Stakes (Group 3) 7f

£500,000 Sky Bet Ebor Heritage Handicap 1m 6f

£70,000 Julia Graves Roses Stake (Listed) 5f

£70,000 skybet.com Handicap 1m 2f

£70,000 Sky Bet Apprentice Handicap 5f


In addition, Sky Bet is also pleased to support the £170,000 G2 Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes (Wednesday, August 22), the £225,000 Sky Bet Lowther Stakes (Thursday, August 23) and the Sky Bet First Race Special Handicap (Friday, August 24) at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

The Sky Bet Ebor

Heritage handicap, £500,000 total prize fund. 3.40pm, Saturday, August 25, 1m 5f 188yds. For four-year-olds and upwards. Lowest weight 8st, highest weight not less than 9st 10lb. Penalties: after July 21, a winner of a race 4lb, a winner of two races 7lb. Any horse rated above 110 shall initially be treated as having that rating and the highest weight allotted shall be 9st 10lb. Subsequently, the excess over 110 in any rating shall be added to the weight allotted without limitation to the highest weight carried. Entries closed July 10, entries revealed July 11 (100 entries), weights revealed July 25, scratchings deadline August 7, five-day confirmations August 20, final declarations 10am August 23. Maximum field 20 runners plus two reserves.


Horse Age Owner Trainer
ALWAYSANDFOREVER (IRE) 4 Michael Tabor, Sue Magnier, Derrick Smith Luca Cumani
AMAZING RED (IRE) 5 The Hon R J Arculli Ed Dunlop
ARCH VILLAIN (IRE) 9 & Mrs F Cotton,& Mrs P Conway Amanda Perrett
ATTY PERSSE (IRE) 4 Godolphin Roger Charlton
BLAKENEY POINT 5 Axom LX Roger Charlton
BLUE RAMBLER 8 Paul Downing Ian Williams
BUZZ (FR) 4 Bevan, Pickford & Angliss Hughie Morrison
CARTWRIGHT 5 Reddytorun Syndicate Gordon Elliott IRE
CHELKAR (FR) 5 OTI Racing Willie Mullins IRE
COSMELLI (ITY) 5 Marc Walker & Gay Kelleway Gay Kelleway
COUNT OCTAVE 4 Qatar Racing Limited Andrew Balding
CROWNED EAGLE 4 Excel Racing & Les Boyer Marco Botti
CURBYOURENTHUSIASM (IRE) 7 M Caine & J Barnett David Simcock
DAL HARRAILD 5 St Albans Bloodstock Limited William Haggas
DANCE THE DREAM 5 Mrs Hugh Dalgety Marcus Tregoning
DASH OF SPICE 4 Jeff Smith David Elsworth
DUBAWI FIFTY 5 Paul & Clare Rooney Karen McLintock
DYLAN MOUTH (IRE) 7 The Honorable Earle I Mack Marco Botti
EDDYSTONE ROCK (IRE) 6 Curtis, Malt & Williams John Best
ELGIN 6 Elite Racing Club Alan King
ERIK THE RED (FR) 6 F Gillespie Kevin Ryan
EUCHEN GLEN 5 W M Johnstone Jim Goldie
EURO NIGHTMARE (IRE) 4 J S Morrison Keith Dalgleish
EXCHANGE RATE (GER) 6 Mrs A F Mee Willie Mullins IRE
EYE OF THE STORM (IRE) 8 J S Morrison Keith Dalgleish
EYNHALLOW 4 Godolphin Charlie Appleby
FINANCIAL CONDUCT (IRE) 4 Qatar Racing Limited David Simcock
FIRST NATION 4 Godolphin Charlie Appleby
FUN MAC (GER) 7 Angela McAlpine & Partners Hughie Morrison
FUNNY KID (USA) 5 Wertheimer et Frere Christophe Ferland FR
GAME STARTER (IRE) 4 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
GOLDEN BIRTHDAY (FR) 7 G C Stevens Harry Fry
GOLDEN WOLF (IRE) 4 Aristotle’s Elements Richard Hughes
GOOD RUN (FR) 5 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
GUNS OF LEROS (USA) 5 Paul Hunt Gary Moore
GUSTAVUS VASSA 4 Highclere T’Bred Racing Synd – Gustavus Willie Mullins IRE
HAMADA 4 Godolphin Charlie Appleby
HOCHFELD (IRE) 4 Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Mark Johnston
HUMBLE HERO (IRE) 4 Isa Salman William Haggas
ISLAND BRAVE (IRE) 4 Donald M Kerr Heather Main
KELLY’S DINO (FR) 5 Liam Kelly & Mrs E Burke Karl Burke
LAGOSTOVEGAS (IRE) 6 John Donohue Willie Mullins IRE
LAW GIRL (FR) 5 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
LAWS OF SPIN (IRE) 5 Ballylinch Stud Willie Mullins IRE
LIGHT PILLAR (IRE) 4 Rafferty’s Rules Syndicate Joseph O’Brien IRE
LIMINI (IRE) 7 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
LONG CALL 5 A A Byrne Tony Carroll
LORD YEATS 5 Geoff & Sandra Turnbull Jedd O’Keeffe
LOW SUN 5 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
MARMELO 5 The Fairy Story Partnership & Aziz Kheir Hughie Morrison
MATHS PRIZE 4 Frank J Lynch/Michael Hartnett Richard O’Brien IRE
MELTING DEW 4 Robert Ng Sir Michael Stoute
MERI DEVIE (FR) 5 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
MIRSAALE 8 J Fyffe Keith Dalgleish
MONTALY 7 Farleigh Racing Andrew Balding
MOUNT TAHAN (IRE) 6 T A Rahman Kevin Ryan
MOUNTAIN BELL 5 Qatar Racing Limited Ralph Beckett
MUNTAHAA (IRE) 5 Hamdan Al Maktoum John Gosden
MUSTAJEER 5 D Spratt Ger Lyons IRE
MY REWARD 6 M J Macleod Tim Easterby
NAKEETA 7 Alex & Janet Card and ATB Ltd Iain Jardine
NATURAL SCENERY 5 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
NEARLY CAUGHT (IRE) 8 A N Solomons Hughie Morrison
ON TO VICTORY 4 HP Racing On To Victory Eve Johnson Houghton
PERCY’S WORD 4 Saeed H Altayer Simon Crisford
PLATITUDE 5 Mrs S Conway Amanda Perrett
PRIZE MONEY 5 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
QULOOB 4 Hamdan Al Maktoum Owen Burrows
RAINBOW REBEL (IRE) 5 Owners Group 004 Mark Johnston
RESHOUN (FR) 4 Michael Watt & Roy David Ian Williams
RESTORER 6 Dr Marwan Koukash Ian Williams
ROYAL LINE 4 HH Sheikha Al Jalila Racing John Gosden
SAIGON CITY 8 C H Stephenson,Tate,Flegg & Bousfield Declan Carroll
SAROOG 4 Abdulla Al Mansoori Simon Crisford
SAUNTER (FR) 5 Michael Watt and Billy Slater (AUS) Ian Williams
SCOTLAND (GER) 7 Fitri Hay Andrew Balding
SEA THE LION (IRE) 7 Kathleen Whelan/Suzanne Fahey Jarlath Fahey IRE
SHARJAH (FR) 5 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
SHRAAOH (IRE) 5 Shraaoh Partners Harry Fry
SIR CHAUVELIN 6 J Fyffe, Mrs M Craig, G Thomson Jim Goldie
SPEEDO BOY (FR) 4 Paul Williams Ian Williams
STARS OVER THE SEA (USA) 7 Roger Brookhouse Ian Williams
STRATUM 5 Anthony Bloom Willie Mullins IRE
TEMPLE CHURCH (IRE) 4 P C J Dalby & R D Schuster Hughie Morrison
TEODORO (IRE) 4 Laurence Bellman & Caroline Ingram Tom Dascombe
TIGRIS RIVER (IRE) 7 J P McManus Joseph O’Brien IRE
TIME TO STUDY (FR) 4 Abdulla Al Mansoori Mark Johnston
TOMMY DOCC (IRE) 6 Ronnie Docherty Keith Dalgleish
TOP TUG (IRE) 7 Elite Racing Club Alan King
TWILIGHT PAYMENT (IRE) 5 Godolphin Jim Bolger IRE
URADEL (GER) 7 Luke McMahon Willie Mullins IRE
WALTON STREET 4 Godolphin Charlie Appleby
WATERSMEET 7 J Barson Mark Johnston
WEEKENDER 4 Khalid Abdullah John Gosden
WHAT A HOME (IRE) 4 Sunderland Holding Inc William Haggas
WHISKEY SOUR (IRE) 5 Luke McMahon Willie Mullins IRE
WHITE DESERT (IRE) 4 Godolphin Charlie Appleby
WITHHOLD 5 Anthony Bloom Roger Charlton
ZEELANDER 4 Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum Roger Varian


100 entries

21 Irish-trained

1 French-trained



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