Stratum 7/2 favourite with sponsors ahead of Sky Bet Ebor at York

Stratum - favourite for the Sky Bet Ebor
Stratum - favourite for the Sky Bet Ebor

Antepost favourite Stratum and last year's winner Nakeeta are among the confirmations for Saturday's Sky Bet Ebor at York.

Nakeeta finished a meritorious fifth in the Melbourne Cup after his Knavesmire triumph and trainer Iain Jardine admits he took it easy on his stable star at the beginning of the year to help him recover from those exertions.

After a good showing behind Stratum at Newbury, though, Jardine believes Nakeeta is primed to put up a stern defence of his crown.

"I was delighted with how he ran at Newbury (fifth), it was a great run," Jardine told At The Races.

"He's taken a bit of time to come to himself this year having been away in Australia, but I've not pushed him, I've just let him come to himself and he's a horse that comes right at this time of year so we're excited.

"We think he's at the top of his game, so we'll keep our fingers crossed for a great run. York is a fair track, he was drawn 18 last year so with a middle draw again, I'll be happy. They always go a good gallop which plays into his hands.

"He's 4lb higher than last year, but he knows his way around there and the ground should be nice. We're ticking all the boxes, we just need a bit of luck."

Stratum, the 4/1 market leader with the sponsors (FIVE places 1/5 odds), is one of a clutch of possibles for trainer Willie Mullins along with the likes of Whiskey Sour, Lagostovegas, Chelkar and Laws Of Spin.

Other Irish possibles include Ger Lyons' Mustajeer, Jarlath Fahey's Sea The Lion and Joseph O'Brien's Light Pillar, although he would need plenty of withdrawals to get a run.

Saeed bin Suroor is looking for his third win in the race and could run Prize Money and Game Starter.

John Gosden's Weekender sits at the head of the weights with stablemate Muntahaa also high up there along with the Marco Botti pair of Crowned Eagle and Dylan Mouth.

Lord Yeats, Time To Study, Blakeney Point, Jim Goldie's Sir Chauvelin and the Andrew Balding duo of Montaly and Count Octave are still in the mix.

Jarlath Fahey on Ebor hope Sea The Lion

Sir Chauvelin has yet to win in four starts at York, but Goldie is hopeful that he can emulate his stable companion and full-brother Euchen Glen, who captured the prestigious John Smith's Cup over an extended 10 furlongs at York in July, a race in which in which Sir Chauvelin finished a staying-on 10th.

Goldie, who trains at Libo Hill Farm near Glasgow, said: "Sir Chauvelin is in good form at home and we have been happy with his preparation for the Sky Bet Ebor since Goodwood.

"He has had a nice break in between the Ebor and Goodwood. We are really happy with him.

"Sir Chauvelin is such a lovely horse and has run really well throughout this season - it was great for him to get his head in front at Goodwood.

"He has yet to win at York, but we are hoping that the Ebor might be his chance to shine.

"I think one mile and six furlongs is his best trip. The Ebor suits hold-up horses as they can go a good gallop and horses off the pace can make up ground in the long straight as they do get racing early.

"He has had a busy year but he's been a superstar for us and hopefully he can put in a good performance on Saturday."

Jedd O'Keeffe is on weather watch with talented stayer Lord Yeats, who has not raced since finishing fifth to subsequent Gold Cup second Vazirabad in the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier at Longchamp in May. The five-year-old Yeats gelding finished 17th in last year's Ebor.

O'Keefe, who trains in North Yorkshire, said: "Lord Yeats is in very good form at home. We are very happy with him but, because of the quick ground conditions, we have not been able to get a run into him.

"We would like to run at York on Saturday, but he is not a definite runner because of the conditions. We will be monitoring the ground and the weather throughout the week. I have been thrilled with him at home and it's just been frustrating that we haven't had any soft in the going description, which has stopped us running him since May.

"Lord Yeats has won at York before and I just felt that in last year's Ebor he had plenty of weight and that made things difficult for him. "We will see what the weather does this week, but I am very happy with him."

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