Roberto Escobarr puts down Ebor marker

Roberto Escobarr threw his hat into the ring for Sky Bet Ebor with a gritty win over the same course and distance at York.

Trained by William Haggas, the relatively lightly-raced four-year-old was sent off the 11-8 favourite in a field of four for the Listed Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup Stakes.

Despite the select field, the 4,000 crowd were treated to a thrilling finish – with the quartet all in a line a furlong out.

David O’Meara’s Makawee tried to make all and kept on responding to her riders’ urgings – while Frankie Dettori headed for the rail on Red Verdon, his only ride of the day.

Ranch Hand was also in there battling on, but it soon became apparent Red Verdon and the eventual winner had pulled clear.

It was then the Galileo colt, having just his fifth start, who pulled away to win by a length and a half under Tom Marquand.

Roberto Escobarr holds an entry at Royal Ascot next week in the  Copper Horse Stakes – but appears unlikely to take it up.

Haggas’ wife Maureen said: “It was a strange race – they were all spread out, and he didn’t really have anything to race with.

“He just does enough, this horse. The Ebor could be a possible, but I doubt he’d run back quick at Ascot.

“He’s going the right way. He didn’t like the ground last time at Ascot – he likes quick ground and he stays well, (and) hopefully he’s one of those who will keep on improving.

“He’s one of those big horses, he’s still quite babyish and hasn’t had many runs.”

It was a fourth win from the last five runners for the yard, and Haggas added: “It’s a good time for them to be in form – any time is really.

“It’s the hardest week of the year to have winners next week, but we’ll be particularly looking forward to Mohaafeth (Hampton Court) and Alenquer (King Edward VII).

“Some won’t go because of the ground, and quite a few won’t get in the handicaps, but we’ll do our best.”

The sponsors cut the winner to 12-1 from 16s for the Ebor.

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