Kevin Ryan’s sprinters are always worth a second look when August’s York Ebor meeting arrives. He’s done particularly well with his juveniles in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes in recent times with victories for Astaire, Blaine and back in 2005 Amadeus Wolf.
Hot Streak, Hototo and Bogart have also hit the target in the past few years. Just 12 months ago it was Blaine taking the opener on day one whilst Online Alexander closed the meeting in style for the North Yorkshire trainer.
Ryan brings another strong team to the Knavesmire, including his stable star, who he hopes can cause something of an upset in the opening day’s showpiece. The Grey Gatsby will have plenty on his plate in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes.
The weather has put Gleneagles participation in doubt, but Golden Horn and Time Test still lie in wait. There’s just a chance that the ease in ground conditions could favour Ryan’s colt; perhaps denting slightly the finishing kicks of his market rivals.
The yard certainly appear confident of a huge run, with Ryan's son Adam reporting last week: “The Grey Gatsby is absolutely bang on where we want him and he's all set for York. Golden Horn is obviously a very, very good horse, but The Grey Gatsby loves York - he has twice won there and was a fine second in the race last year. I think we are going there with a great chance.”
Away from the ‘big one’ the Hambleton handler opens the meeting with two speedsters in the Symphony Group Stakes. Bogart was sixth in the race last year and won the event in 2013. Distant Past is the yard’s other representative. He’s won three of his last six and will have Jamie Spencer on board. It could prove a profitable day for Spencer, and he certainly needs a change of luck after events in America over the weekend.
The juveniles take centre-stage in race two with the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes. Ryan runs Mohab, a colt by Sir Percy who romped home last time at Catterick. He showed plenty of promise on debut when running green before finishing strongly in a maiden at York. There are plenty of smart looking types in the race, but Ryan’s powerful youngster is not without a chance.
On Thursday the team have two in the opener, followed by Ashadihan in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes. She’s a classy filly, and ran a cracker last time at Royal Ascot in the Albany. Beaten by Hannon’s leading juvenile filly Illuminate, the form looks strong and she has to arrive in this with a great chance. She takes on Lumiere and Besharah among others, in what looks a terrific renewal.
Glory Awaits and Salateen are entered in the Sky Bet City of York Stakes later in the week. The latter won well at the track in July, though this is far more competitive. Others runners worth noting include Weekend Offender, who is a nicely bred juvenile entered in a maiden on Friday; and Areen who is set to run in a very competitive Gimcrack Stakes on Saturday.
Kevin Ryan is one of a number of Yorkshire trainers that will be desperate to hit the target at this most prestigious meeting. Along with the likes of Messrs’ Fahey and O’Meara, it’s hard to imagine the powerful northern team leaving the Knavesmire empty handed.