Ebor Festival: Favourite Acapulco on his marks to leave the rest behind

Muthmir faces a tough assignment in Friday Nunthrope Stakes.
Muthmir faces a tough assignment in Friday Nunthrope Stakes.
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america’s acapulco will attempt to blitz her rivals into submission in today’s Group One Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes – the fastest race of the week at the Ebor festival.

A runaway winner at Royal Ascot, trainer Wesley Ward’s filly carries just eight stone under various allowances, while many of her opponents will be carrying an additional 27lb.

It is no wonder that many expect this contest to be a one-horse race, despite the presence of sprinters of the calibre of dual winner Sole Power and Muthmir for the all-conquering William Haggas stable.

The most interesting aspect could be how featherweight US jockey Irad Ortiz handles the 20-runner charge after being at the centre of big race controversy in Chicago last weekend when British raider Secret Gesture, the mount of Jamie Spencer, was disqualified.

“I think she is really going to bring her A-game to the table. I don’t think there will be any excuses after the race,” said Ward. “I couldn’t be happier with the way she has trained into it. She is extremely sound – she wouldn’t have a pimple on her.

“She is a big, imposing filly. Physically, she is so sound it’s like she is a four-year-old. She is just a big, monstrous individual and I am so extremely happy with her.

This five-furlong dash to the line could not be in greater contrast to the two-mile Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup, which features a stellar line-up headed by Trip to Paris, who won a famous Ascot Gold Cup under North Yorkshire jockey Graham Lee.

With the field also comprising Goodwood Cup winner Big Orange, Northumberland Plate victor Quest For More and Grade One-winning soft ground specialist Tac De Boistron, the ever-popular course specialist Clever Cookie – trained at Malton by Peter Niven – will have his work cut out after a staying-on fifth in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

“The track stayed away from watering because of the big race on Wednesday, so hopefully there’s enough give,” said Niven. “He’s better than ever – his whole year has been built around this time of the season. We’ve got this race, the Irish Leger and then Ascot so if he doesn’t run it won’t be the end of the world.”