Ponsonby sweats on Ebor ballot for Scarlet Dragon
Nobody will be more anxious to see the five-day declarations for the first £1m Skybet Ebor Handicap at York released tomorrow than Alan and owner Henry Ponsonby, though both are realistic enough to concede that Scarlet Dragon is odds-against making the cut.
Speaking from Deauville on Sunday, Henry said:”I fear the worst. Scarlet Dragon is also entered in the mile and a half handicap at York on Friday and his entry will confirmed for that race on Wednesday, but should he survive the ballot for the Ebor 24 hours later that is where he will run.
“It’s a huge prize being put up this year and we’d love to run Scarlet Dragon, but it will be tough to get it off 101.
“We were only second reserve with First Mohican in the Ebor off that mark and he did not get in, and it is a stronger race this year, so it will be a pleasant surprise if Scarlet Dragon gets a run.”
Significantly, York boss William Derby aired the view on Racing TV’s Luck on Sunday yesterday that you might need a rating of 105 to be guaranteed a run.
Scarlet Dragon is a hold-up horse and he never enjoyed the rub of the green when finishing a close up fourth behind Ebor favourite King’s Advice in the Summer Handicap at Goodwood last time.
However, while over jumps Scarlet Dragon stayed the two miles well, even allowing for the traffic problems that he encountered on the Sussex Down many professionals feel that he does not quite get the 14 furlongs, so the mile and a half on Friday might suit him better, with the drying ground another plus.