Trainer John Gosden had never won the Sky Bet Ebor, Europe’s richest flat handicap, but he broke his duck in style when saddling both the first and the second, Muntahaa and Weekender, in the 2018 renewal.
Gosden is no stranger to thinking differently and, following a walk of the course on Thursday, he formulated a plan for the widely drawn Muntahaa to plough a lone furrow on the far side of the track while the other 19 runners tacked across to the rail. Muntahaa raced alone for the first half mile before heading over to join the others.
In the straight Muntahaa was always travelling strongly and, as the others feel by the wayside one by one, jockey Jim Crowley was “always confident” on the 11/1 winner. Frankie Dettori, who rode the runner-up is always popular with race-goers and there was a huge cheer across the Knavesmire when he took the running up as they headed down the straight but Crowley was stalking him and always looked likely to go past.
The winner was given a 20/1 quote by leading bookmakers Paddy Power for the Melbourne Cup 2018 following his powerful staying performance and this classy performer looks an ideal type for that race. A Group 3 winner in the past he had previously only had one run in a handicap and had won that off a mark of 108. He raced off only a pound higher today and was third top weight, but his class saw him through in a race that is always a test of stamina.
Hot favourite Stratum didn’t have the best of luck in running and never got going until too late while last year’s winner, Nakeeta, who finished a good fifth in the 2017 Melbourne Cup after winning here, ran creditably in seventh without ever looking likely to win.
MUNTAHAA WINS THE EBOR
— World Horse Racing (@WHR) August 25, 2018