Stratum Looks Strong in Ebor, If he Gets a Run, but don’t Discount Nakeet

Stratum Looks Strong in Ebor, If he Gets a Run, but don’t Discount Nakeet  

The Ebor, Europe’s richest handicap race run on the Flat, is always fiercely competitive, but punters have been handed an additional poser as the red-hot favourite for the race is not guaranteed a run.

Stratum, saddled by master Irish trainer Willie Mullins, has been at the front of the market since routing a decent field at Newbury in July.

188BET have Stratum chalked up at 7/2, but those who are holding fancy prices in the ante-post market are sweating on his participation.

Ahead of Thursday’s final declaration stage, Stratum needs three above him in the weights to defect in order to get a run on the Knavesmire on Saturday.

Mullins could influence things to some extent as he also has Whiskey Sour engaged, and could elect not to declare the son of Jeremy in order to boost Stratum’s chances.

The weather may also play a part, as Lord Yeats’ trainer Jedd O’Keeffe has confirmed that he would need to see significant rainfall in order for his charge to take his chance.

“We would like to run at York on Saturday, but he is not a definite runner because of the conditions,” O’Keeffe said, per Sporting Life. “We will be monitoring the ground and the weather throughout the week.”

It’s highly likely that O’Keeffe will declare his charge on Thursday, before making a decision on his participation later in the week. There are showers forecast for the York area, but the outlook is mostly bright.

Should Stratum sneak into the 20-strong field, he seems certain to go off favourite on the back of his display at Newbury.

After finishing third in the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot, where he ran on well from a poor position, he went to Newbury and handed out a three-length beating to a decent field of stayers.

It was a performance that marked Stratum down as an improved performer and it could be that his mark of 102 underestimates his abilities.

But being a contest worth £500,000, the Ebor is fiercely competitive and many will have been trained for the race, which is run over a mile and six furlongs.

Last year’s winner Nakeeta is one such runner. He’s been eased back to peak fitness and form by trainer Iain Jardine, following a tough end to last year that saw the seven-year-old head to Australia and finish fifth in the Melbourne Cup.

Nakeeta was not sighted in his first couple of runs of the current campaign, but he caught the eye when running on from the back of the pack behind Stratum at Newbury.

Jardine is convinced his charge will step up again from his run, and at 10/1 with 188BET there will be worse value on show at York this week.