Tom Lee's Ebor Festival Tips: Day 1 - Mutakayyef Can Cause An Upset In The Juddmonte


The standard could barely be higher as we head into day one at a sun-drenched York, the course doubtless busily stocking up on champagne as a heatwave coincides with the kick-off its four day Ebor Meeting.

You'll see the key action live with us on Channel 4, but if you're welded to a computer at work then a couple of bets via the Unibet website or mobile app will have to suffice, on a day where it could pay to target a slice of value...

Third in the Derby and second in the Irish Derby, Aidan O'Brien's Idaho towers above his rivals as a 120-rated, odds on favourite in the mile and a half Great Voltigeur (3.05pm), a Group 2 contest in which his trainer, Aidan O'Brien, saddles three of the six runners. 

O'Brien also has Housesofparliament and The Major General, both of whom aren't without a chance, but perhaps the way to target this race is with a conservative wager, each way, on bottom-rated horse Imperial Aviator

Roger Charlton's horse was transformed in the spring, beating a dazzling subsequent winner at Leicester, before pulverising the opposition in the London Gold Cup at Newbury in May, traditionally the hottest three-year-old handicap at that time of year.

That he didn't fire on Soft ground in the French Derby is not surprising - that was only his sixth start, a huge jump in class, and what's more he appeared to loathe the testing going.

Allowed to coast home and given a long break subsequently, he could be ready to bounce back here and cause a big-priced shock, likely to relish the much quicker underfoot conditions.

Don't forget, Imperial Aviator is by Paco Boy, a champion who boasted career form figures of 111 on Good to Firm, including two Grade 1's.    

Today is a step up in trip for the St Leger entry, who hails from an in-form stable who've hit the target with three of their last 11 runners.

A little later, a sum approaching a cool million pounds is to be played for in the day's feature event, the Group 1 Juddmonte International (3.40pm), including a winner's cheque of £546,543. 

Dropping in trip, Roger Varian's three-time Group 1 winner Postponed is a warm favourite, and the son of Dubawi may well have too many guns for his dozen rivals.

That said, the Varian camp has been quiet by their high standard in recent days, and at significantly bigger odds it may pay to chance our arm on something less obvious...

The likes of French visitor, Dariyan, looks tempting at something in the region of 20/1, while King George hero, Highland Reel, couldn't arrive in better nick. 

However, in an event bursting with quality, the one for me is the William Haggas inmate, Mutakayyef

Unbeaten since he was gelded in the winter, this son of Sea The Stars has taken time to mature, but looks the real deal in 2016.

Wins at York and Ascot have highlighted his progress, and he looks more than ready to try and win a Group 1.

Haggas, clearly anticipating this sort of progress, has given him a pair of Autumn Group 1 entries, and his stable's form could barely be better... 

Another eight winners in the past fortnight have confirmed that, but the one that matters most could be upcoming this afternoon.

Good luck!

Today's best York bets with Unibet:

3.05 - Great Voltogeur Stakes - 5 Imperial Aviator (each way)

3.40 - Juddmonte International Stakes - 7 Mutakayyef (each way)